Add an electrical outlet to your island

The kitchen island in a home is more than a design feature, it’s functional, too! As the centerpiece of your room it becomes the main point and hub for flow, design and creativity. To add the most functionality, add an electrical outlet to your island. You’ll be able to make the most of your counter space and maximize the efficiency of your kitchen.

Running electricity to your kitchen island may feel like an overwhelming project, so be sure to get the job done right with an experienced electrician.

Image shows kitchen island with electrical outlet on side

Before you begin, decide the type of outlet that will meet your needs. There are multiple options available, including:

Pop-up outlets

This outlet style stays low profile until you need to use it. When it’s not in use, the outlet lays flat on the island countertop. When you are ready to use it, push on the outlet to “pop it up” and plug in.

Recessed outlets

A recessed outlet has a faceplate that is set deeper into the island than a regular outlet. This type of outlet will hide protruding connectors and plugs to create a streamlined look for the island.

USB outlets

You can create a universal and convenient charging station to your kitchen island with a USB outlet. There are a variety of finishes to fit with your décor. You can also use a pop-up outlet that includes USB charging to give you added functionality and still have a discrete finish.

Smart Outlets

With a smart outlet, you can use WiFi or Bluetooth technology to control your devices. For convenience and energy efficiency, smart outlets allow you to control them (and the devices plugged into them) remotely or on a timer.

Contact an electrician

Now that you’ve selected the right outlet for your space, it’s time to contact an electrician to add an electrical outlet to your island. An  electrician will drill a hole through your kitchen floor to run the wiring from your crawl space or basement. It’s important to choose an experienced professional who will, not only properly wire the outlet, but will also be careful not to damage your island or flooring.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance with your electrical projects.

Best Energy Efficient Clothes Dryer

If you’re ready to upgrade your clothes dryer you may have questions about energy efficiency. It’s really a matter of your priorities –  like environmental concerns, cost, or a little of both. If you are energy-conscious, you’re probably looking for the best energy efficient clothes dryer.

Expert Picks

Good Housekeeping’s 2019 pick of the best energy efficient clothes dryer (large capacity) was the Samsung 7.4 cubic foot gas dryer. It features: Energy Star certified, motion sensor to prevent over-drying, Eco-dry cycle that uses 25% less energy per load, and steam technology to reduce wrinkles and sanitize. Whirlpool’s 7 cubic foot electric dryer, with moisture sense and wrinkle shield is another popular pick.

Gas or Electric?

Another question you may have is whether a gas or electric powered dryer is more efficient? Energy Star says compact, ventless electric dryers with a heat pump are the most energy efficient. If you need a larger model for a family they won’t be your best pick. Instead, opt for a large capacity gas dryer. They are a little more expensive to purchase than their electric counterparts, but they are more efficient because it takes a lot of electricity to heat an electric dryer.  You’ll need to have a gas line, so remember to weigh the initial costs of installing a gas dryer.

Here is an easy way to compare the potential savings of using a gas powered dryer:
The average cost of drying 10 loads of laundry in an electric dryer is $3.60.
The average cost of drying 10 loads of laundry in a comparable gas dryer is $2.40.
If you have a family of four, this equates to a savings of about $65.00 per year.

Features

There are additional features to consider when purchasing a clothes dryer, because rarely is there a one-size-fits-all solution. Consider these.

Woman uses energy efficient clothes dryer

Size
Do you live in a small apartment? A stackable washer/ dryer combo may be the best option. Do you have a large family in a larger home? If so, a large capacity dryer would be better.

Stainless Steel Drums
Plastic drums damage easily and their roughened interior surfaces can damage clothes. You won’t have to worry about this with a stainless steel drum. Stainless are the most durable, but also more costly.

Vented or Ventless
Be sure you can vent exhaust outdoors. If not, a ventless dryer might be your only option. If you can cut a vent opening then you have your choice.

Heat Pump
This feature decreases drying time, is easier on your clothes, saves between 20 to 60 percent in energy costs – and is found only in ventless units.

Wool Cycle
If you have heat-sensitive clothes you may want a dryer that is Woolmark Apparel Care certified.

Sanitize Cycle
This is a high-temperature feature that is great for drying babies’ clothing. It’s also a great feature for people with allergies, skin sensitivities or impaired immune systems.

Moisture Sensor
This feature is definitely better for your clothes! Sensors detect moisture and shut off when clothes are dry.

Other Specialty Features
Features you may see offered include child locks, eco-dry for small loads, wrinkle guard, fast dry, steam refresh, and rack drying.

Are energy efficient appliances worth the cost?

Bottom line – they usually are worth the cost. Energy efficient appliances may be expensive, but they are usually worth the cost. But, in the long run, you’ll save money and also help the environment. When buying a new dryer, look for the models that have a higher Energy Factor (EF) rating and features like sensor technology, varying temperature cycles, and if time always seems to be an issue, you’ll probably want a model that features fast drying cycles over other perks. If you want to hold onto your dryer (and your clothes) for as long as possible, look for features like low-heat, moisture sensors, and reverse tumble.

Don’t overlook the possibility you may need to upgrade your circuits and outlets, and possibly install an exhaust fan, when installing your new clothes dryer. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance.

Installing a Hot Tub

Unwind, soak your muscles, decrease stress and relax – all in your own hot tub! Spending time in a hot tub is a great way to unwind. You can soak to soothe your mind and body, spend time and reconnect with your family, and even get some great health benefits, too. Soaking regularly may even improve your sleep. Installing a hot tub is not difficult, but you need to check your homeowners’ association rules and local zoning laws. Once you have all the requirements, just follow these steps to create your own spa setting right in your backyard.

Follow these five easy steps for installing a hot tub:

1. Find a location.

Hot tub on patio

Choosing the best location to install your hot tub is the most essential step. Try to envision your new oasis in your yard. Take into consideration neighbors, traffic flow, and anything that may disrupt a peace time. Also consider these questions:

  • How will you move the tub off the delivery truck to the location you selected? Will you need tools, more manpower or even a crane? Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t end up spending unnecessarily.
  • Do you want your hot tub in the shade or in the afternoon sun?
  • If privacy is an issue, do you need a fence or gazebo? If you are in the sun do you want to block it out with an awning?
  • Are you creating a space to be a focal point or do you prefer privacy in a quiet corner of your yard?

Remember, your space will need:

  • Easy access via a walkway from the house. You won’t want grass, dirt or sand in the tub.
  • Flat, firm ground or surface.
  • Easy access to a water source and a dedicated GCFI electrical circuit for power.
  • An area that doesn’t collect leaves, limbs or excess rainwater.
  • A space that is at least 10 feet away from overhead trees and power lines.

2. Select a foundation to build on

It’s not advised to install a hot tub directly on the ground. When the tub is filled with water the weight may cause the tub to shift and become uneven. If you are installing on an existing deck be sure of the weight limits and strength of the foundation. A concrete slab is a good long-term choice. If you are pouring a new slab be sure the concrete is fully dried before installing the tub. You can also use a foundation of paver stones, gravel or hot tub pad. Just make sure that the ground underneath is on hard-packed dirt and that materials are level.

3. Use upgraded, dedicated electrical outlets

Check that the electrical system you are using can safely power the unit. A lot of electricity is used when running heating components and pumps. Installing the hot tub circuit and GCFI outlet should only be done by a licensed electrician.

4. Place the tub in the desired position

Orienting your hot tub on the foundation is a crucial step. Steps or entry ladders should be placed away from obstacles. Make sure the tub is in a position that provides quick, easy access to control panels. You will also need plenty of room to easily remove the cover. If you have children, add safety measures locks on covers or alarm

5. Just add water!

Once your tub is in place, follow manufacturer instructions to begin operating. Turn off electricity that powers the tub at the circuit breaker. Check that the drain valve is closed, the filters are in place and that the tub is clean by using a non-foaming cleanser. Use the garden hose to fill the tub with cold, clean water. to the fill line. Once filled to the fill line, check for leaks. When you are certain everything is holding up properly, turn on power at the breaker. You’ll then set the controls for the unit and treat the water with chemicals. About eight hours later the water will be warm and ready to enjoy!

Don’t be afraid to call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance.

Light bulbs keep burning out? Here’s why.

Not only is it frustrating, but even worse, in some cases, it can mean there’s a fire hazard. Finding out why your light bulbs keep burning out too soon is crucial.

How long should bulbs last?

Incandescent bulbs should last for about a thousand hours. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LEDs (light-emitting diode) typically last much longer – about 10 thousand usage hours for CFLs and 25 thousand hours for LEDs. Still, if your bulb is burning out before it should, it’s time to find out why.

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out too soon?

There are many possible reasons, here are the main ones:Light bulb that is not working

  1. You may be using the wrong type of light bulb in a certain fixture.
  2. A bulb may be loose or incorrectly connected.
  3. The bulb’s power supply voltage may be too high.
  4. The dimmer switch may require a different bulb.
  5. Recessed lighting may be causing overheating in the insulation about it.
  6. Filaments in the bulb could be broken due to excessive vibrations.

Wrong bulb type

If a lamp is rated for 40 watts, placing a 1o0-watt bulb in the fixture creates excess heat. This can shorten the bulb’s life, and possibly even cause a fire to start. Always make sure the bulb’s wattage is not more than the fixture’s wattage recommendation. Another possible problem is that the bulb is not right for its location. LED bulbs are better to light fixtures that have frequent on/off usage throughout the day, but CFLs are not.

Loose bulbs

You may notice a bulb flickering if it is loose. Check to make sure that the bulb is correctly connected into the socket and if it’s loose, turn it until it’s snug. Ideally, the fixture’s tab and the bulb solder should be roughly the same size. This will create a good connection between them. If they are not, try switching light bulb brands.

Wrong power supply voltage

In the United States, 120-volt electrical outlets are standard in homes. Be sure that the light is connected to a standard outlet. If it is, use a multimeter to check if the reading is more than 120 volts. If you are having electrical supply issues, contact a licensed electrician right away.

Dimmer switch with incompatible bulb

Using CFL or LED bulbs can damage the bulb or circuitry in an older dimmer switch. Those were made to be used with incandescent bulbs. Be sure your dimmer switch and light bulb are compatible.

Recessed lighting overheating

“Can lights” hang inside the ceiling. Newer models may be designed to be in contact with insulation (IC-rated) and not cause any problems with overheating, but older recessed lighting fixtures can overheat. If they are not, this situation poses a fire risk. Be sure to install IC-rated fixtures so that they don’t overheat insulation.

Broken bulbs due to vibration

Excessive vibrations like ceiling fans or automatic garage doors can crack or prematurely cause incandescent bulbs to burn out. If the problem bulb is near an entrance, in a ceiling near heavy upstairs foot traffic, or in other places where there are vibrations you may want to switch to an LED bulb. They are better designed to handle vibrations.

If you’re concerned about your home’s electrical system, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Windowless bathroom? Add light for function and style

It’s not uncommon to have a windowless bathroom in many different sizes and styles of homes. Sometimes these bathrooms are used for guests, are only half bathrooms, or the layout of the house was built with the bathroom in the interior. A windowless bathroom doesn’t have to be dreary with only dim light. We will tell you how to light your windowless bathroom for function and style. Brighten things up, it can really make a difference!

Ambient & Task Lighting

If you bring in ambient light and task lighting into a bathroom with no windows you create a bright, functional space. Start with overhead lighting that’s bright and projects throughout the room. Add focused lighting directly over the vanity or mirror to make bathroom tasks like washing your face, applying make-up or shaving a breeze.

Light Bulbs

Knowing the lighting options you have will help you choose the best bulbs for the right location. Making a good decision is more than just choosing a high watt bulb. Light quality is based on a few factors so take a look at different options that are available.

For bathrooms there are two main types of bulbs available – you do not want to use a compact fluorescent light (CFL) in this space. You can use halogen incandescent or light emitting diodes (LEDs.) Many pros use LEDs for windowless bathrooms. Incandescent bulbs will work fine, but LEDs are much more energy efficient, lasting 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs.

The measurement for bulb brightness is lumens. For a windowless bathroom, the ideal total lighting is 2,000 lumens at a minimum. Most household bulbs emit about 800 lumens, or the equivalent to a traditional 60 watt incandescent bulbs. A light fixture that is centered overhead and takes two or three bulbs will get you the lighting you need and makeup for not having natural light.

Color Options

Add light to a windowless bathroom

You also want to consider the color of the light you want to shine. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins. It rates the color or tone of light. All you need to know is lower color temperatures are warm tones – yellow to soft white – and higher temperatures indicate cool, bright light with blue undertones. Consider something in the 3000K to 4000K for general lighting in a windowless bathroom.

Also, the color rendering index (CRI) tells you how an object’s color appears under the bulb’s light when compared to how it appears in natural lighting. A higher value indicates a more true representation of color, like incandescent bulbs. For bathroom lighting look for a CRI of 90 or higher. This will work well for task lighting that provides light over the bathroom mirror. Try LED for optimal lighting for makeup application.

Light Fixtures

Many different types of light fixtures work well in bathrooms. If it’s a small space you may want to avoid low-hanging lights. Choose clear or white shades so the light shines through. Moisture accumulation is common in bathrooms, so recessed lighting may not be the best choice. It can allow moisture to escape into spaces above the ceiling.

If you are lighting a vanity sconces on each side of the mirror will minimize shadows from overhead lights and add an elegant touch. For a more contemporary look check out Hollywood style kits where globe sets or rope lights are placed all around the mirror.

Dimmer Switch

There may also be times you want to relax in lower light at the end of the day. Installing a dimmer switch to control the brightness for overhead lighting will allow you to adjust lighting. You can get a dimmer switch for all types of bulbs. Always check the dimmer’s label for information about what light bulb it’s compatible with.

If you need the assistance of a licensed electrician, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

 

Electrical upgrades that add value and safety

Making electrical upgrades in your home can give you peace of mind that safety hazards are minimal and your electricity is reliable. You also want to add electrical features that add to your home’s value. Consider modern upgrades that make your home look and feel brand new and that are a positive investment to the home.

New wiring

Updated wiring is attractive to future potential homeowners and it gives you security knowing your home’s electrical system is safe and secure for many years to come. If you are considering an electrical project hire a professional for an evaluation.

Electrical panel

An electrical panel that is old and worn can contain damaged wiring. This can leave your home unprotected from fire hazards and cause an electric shock. If your home was built more than 30 years ago, it’s advisable to hedge your risk and upgrade your electrical panel.

More outlets

Broken outlets usually get all the attention, but if you are running a bunch of extension cords through your home it might be time to install additional outlets. Not having enough outlets is not only a hassle, it’s dangerous. Evaluate your home to identify where more outlets could improve safety and convenience.

Surge protection

Whole-home surge protection prevents the need for many individual surge protector strips attached to your electronics. Installing a single system to protect your home during a lightning storm or unexpected surge saves you worry and unsightliness of a bunch of extra wires.

Lighting under cabinets

Kitchen prep, cooking, cleaning and entertaining in the kitchen is better with under-cabinet lighting that include fixtures installed on the underside of cabinets. They make working in the kitchen easier by lighting countertop surfaces that are usually in the shadows. Also consider other rooms where you have cabinets such as the living room, bedroom and laundry room. This upgrade makes a huge difference in the look of a room with a warmer, more contemporary appeal.

Laundry room lighting

Most laundry spaces use 4-foot fluorescent tube lighting. When the light isn’t flickering or buzzing it’s still probably not serving you or the space well. Recessed lighting is a better option that fills the space with warm, comfortable light. Overall it’s directed well for the the tasks at hand.

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are one of the most-wanted decorative home features. They are extremely efficient and can save energy dollars in every season. In the winter, setting a ceiling fan to work in reverse draws down the warm air from the ceiling. In the summer, you reverse the direction to create a cooling effect. Ceiling fans are also an attractive addition in most rooms.

Landscape lightingLandscape lighting can add safety and value to your home

When considering electrical upgrades don’t forget the outdoors. Outdoor lighting creates a more inviting look and adds a layer of safety around your home. There are many types of landscape lighting options including up lights that are installed below a tree or structure and down lights installed at a high level to highlight objects below. Accent lights are another option to highlight a specific landscape feature, and path lights illuminate walkways or steps for safety and security purposes.

If your electrical upgrades require a professional, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Does your home have Faulty Wire Connections?

With the shorter days of winter quickly approaching, many households will be using lights more frequently to brighten their home. Electricity is an integral aspect of a home operating and functioning well. There are potential serious problems if there is a faulty connection. So we’ll highlight the causes of poor wire connections, and also ways that you can spot a faulty connection to prevent any problems that may arise if not fixed:

Causes of poor wire connection:

  • Aluminum Wiring – aluminum used to be popular during the 60’s and 70’s, and it expands and contracts with changes in temperature. This expansion can cause fire hazards.
  • Leaks – Leaks can come from areas like laundry rooms and utility rooms or other areas that often contain moisture.
  • Breaker boxes are usually located in basements, laundry rooms, utility rooms and other areas of the home containing high levels of moisture. The water can collect on exposed wires and over time cause erosion.

Signs of problem breakers:

  • Corroded wires – if there are wires that become discolored, it’s usually a sign of moisture and can pose a threat to safety and efficiency.
  • Frequently tripped breakers – this could be a result of faulty wires, which cause your breakers to constantly trip.
  • Heated hardware – if there are visible signs of heat around your switches, this is an indicator of faulty wire connections.
  • Loose wires – check to see if there are any loose wires by gently tugging on them. Loose wires can lead to weak connections and they can potentially cause circuit overloads.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to conduct an Infra-Red Scan which will test the panel and your whole home for any hot spots in the electrical system. The last thing that you’d want during the holidays with traveling or hosting company is for a faulty wire connection to cause serious problems. Faulty wires can be dangerous and they are one of the biggest causes of fires. We’ll provide peace of mind that your electrical system is running smoothly, so you can focus on the things that mean the most to you during the holiday season!

Give us a call today – to schedule your appointment at 800-461-3010.

Outdoor Kitchens

 

A great way to enjoy the outdoors is to step up your outdoor cooking game. What are some things to know before you undertake this big project?

An outdoor kitchen area can cost several thousand dollars, depending on what you want. A basic setup will typically include at least an island with counter and gas grill.

Some of the first things to think about are the weather and the weight of the appliances. For example, tile or marble flooring can get very slippery with rainwater or drink spills. You also want to make sure your flooring can hold up all of the weight.

Location is also crucial. Make sure smoke will not blow into your home from the grill. Look for an area that is easy to access, goes with the traffic flow in your yard, and isn’t near anything flammable. Also consider any future plans. Will you add a pool or a garden later on? These are all important things to consider.

Another consideration is how much room you’ll want. At the very least, you’ll need space on the sides of the grill for plates, etc. Will you want a sitting area or is there a separate table? Will more than one family member want to prepare food/cook at the same time?

Storage is also important. You’ll want enough space for all of the items you’ll regularly use. Keep in mind whether or not you’ll use the kitchen in the colder months or only in the summer. Waterproof, easy-to-clean materials such as concrete are best.

Appliances will also need to be made of weatherproof material such as stainless steel. When thinking about appliances, you’ll also need to consider water supply and electrical connections. An outdoor sink will need to be hooked up to a yard hose or the house’s water supply. It is best to have a plumber take on this work. An electrician should also make sure everything in your outdoor kitchen is up to code. A professional would also need to be called if you want a plumbed gas line for the grill.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Summer Energy Savings

 

Our wallets can take quite a hit during the hottest months of the year. So the natural question becomes, “How can you keep your energy costs low this summer?”

Turn you air conditioner to about 76 to 78 degrees, or whatever is the highest comfortable setting for you. You can even bump it up to 80 degrees if you’re away from home. A change of just a few degrees can save you 30 percent on your next bill!

Set your ceiling fans to the counterclockwise direction to help you cool off. Make sure to turn them off when not in use.

When you leave for work, close all the curtains. While home, close those on the sunny side of the house.

With everyone heading in and out during cookouts or family gatherings, keep the door closed as much as you can to keep the cool air inside.

Use the stove, microwave, or any other countertop cooking device instead of the oven when possible, as the oven uses a good amount of energy. Speaking of cooking, use glass in the oven if you have it– it holds heat better, so you can lower the temperature.

Turn off the pre-rinse option on your dishwasher and only run it when it is full.

For lighting, use daylight (but not direct sunlight) instead of artificial light, and turn off incandescent lights when they are not needed, as most of the energy they use is given off as heat.

Vacuum the air conditioning air registers to keep them from getting dusty. It is a good idea to do this regularly.

Keep lamps and TVs away from the thermostat, which can sense heat from appliances, thus cause the AC to run longer. Furthermore, reduce the use of appliances that generate heat.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Kitchen Range Maintenance Tips To Keep Yours Clean & Efficient

 

Kitchen Range Maintenance Tips from Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical in North CarolinaYour kitchen range is one of the major appliances in your home and can be very costly to repair or replace. These kitchen range maintenance tips will help extend its life and help keep your energy bills low by keeping it clean and checking parts periodically.

Clean … spills daily (or almost daily!) on your burner pans and coils. This can be a safety hazard. If they are blackened they will us much more energy.  Don’t forget to open the stove top and wipe underneath.

Clean … your oven vent filters with soap and water regularly. Use a scrub brush if needed but be gentle. Every year, replace activated charcoal filters that are on the fan assembly. (Stainless steel outer filters rarely need to be replaced.)

Clean ….the inside of the oven with 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle full of water. Let it sit for at least an hour before wiping it all down. When cleaning your oven, inspect the gasket around the oven door that keeps heat inside to make sure it isn’t torn or damaged in any way, which will lead to escaped heat and thus higher bills.

Don’t forget about the self-cleaning option after cooking a meal! Afterwards, you can wipe out the ashes with a brush and then a wet rag.

Cooking efficiently will help you lower your energy bills. What does this mean? Don’t use the bigger burners for smaller pans, which can waste more than 40% of the heat. Also, use retained heat for cooking—in other words, start with higher heat, and then turn it to a lower setting. You can also try cooking multiple items in the oven at once.
Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!