Wiring Your Unfinished Garage

 

You’re looking around at your unfinished garage and realize you need more outlets and lighting. Before getting started, keep a few things in mind: If you are leaving the walls and ceiling open, you’ll have to use the framing members to protect and support the wires. Do not span stud or joist spaces with wires, and keep the cables closely hugging the studs, plates and ceiling joists.

Always make sure you’re doing everything safely and up to code. If you’re just not sure, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional electrician. Lastly, if you plan to close up the walls later on, you’ll have to rewire. So, what’s next?

You’ll route the cable along studs, top plates and ceiling joists, along the framing member that leads to the next box. Keep cables on vertical surfaces—not on the tops of walls. Plan your wiring and put up all the electrical boxes.

Next, run a cable from one box to another by pulling cable off the coil, stripping at least 8 inches of sheathing off the wires and threading the wires and about 1/2 inch of sheathing through the wire opening in the box.

Untwist the cable and staple, staple, staple! Do this at least every 4 feet to the framing, preferably more.

When you get to the next box, stretch out the cable and mark the entrance point on it, cut the cable about a foot long, strip the sheathing and feed the wires into the box. Nail in the staples near the box.

NOTE: You’ll have to hold all wires at least 1-1/4 inches from the back and front surface of studs and joists.

Electrical boxes may have metal or plastic cable clamps that are built in. Many duplex boxes only have knockouts. Staple cable within 8 inches of boxes without clamps and within 12 inches of boxes with clamps.

And don’t forget: If your garage has a wall made of concrete or is already dry walled, cable installed on these exposed surfaces has to be protected by conduit.

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!

Light Up Your Deck or Patio

 

Whether you’re hoping to throw some cookouts this summer or are concerned about your family’s safety while walking outside in the dark, adding lighting around your deck or patio is a great idea. What are some easy options?

  • Low-voltage landscape lighting is a great addition. It won’t light up a large area, but can work well along with other lighting components. They are great to light up a pathway.
  • String lights are increasingly popular, as they create a pretty ambiance and are inexpensive. When shopping, look specifically for outdoor-rated string lights. LED bulbs will last many years. If you’re looking for that softer glow, though, you may consider incandescent bulbs. If you need them far away from an outlet, look for solar options.
  • If you’re looking to cast a glow on an area, sconces are a good idea.  You can get one that mounts onto the house or a lantern-style fixture, which casts a larger glow.
  • If you have an outdoor grilling or kitchen area, overhead lighting is the most useful, instead of decorative mood lighting that is generally more used for the patio or deck.
  • If your house is old, make sure your outlets are upgraded to have the modern safety features. Outdoor outlets should have a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and a cover that can withstand weather. If you need more outlets in your outdoor area, you may want to contact a professional. It is not recommended to run cords through an open window, as this is not only unsightly but can also be unsafe.

Last but not least, consider using lighting around stairs and other walking areas for safety.

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!

Reduce Laundry Energy Costs

 

An easy way to reduce your energy costs is to change the way you do your laundry. What are some changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and put money back into your wallet?

With the warmer weather coming, try line-drying your clothing instead of using the dryer. Drying accounts for up to 90% of laundry energy. If drying outdoors will not work for you, look around your home and see where you can put a drying rack or clothesline. Even if you only hang a few items, it’s better than nothing! You can even hang a few items on your shower rod. Choose the fastest spin cycle on your washing machine to get as much of the water out as you can. Keep racks away from the walls to prevent mold and don’t put items too close together so they dry quickly.

Maintain your dryer. Clean out the lint filter after each use, and deep clean your dryer (including the tubing) once a year. Use the automatic setting instead of the timed setting to avoid over drying.

As for your washer, about 80% of the energy it uses is for heating the water. Wash clothes and other items in cold water as much as possible. This will also help them to last longer. If you need more cleaning, then use a warm pre-soak then wash cold. Wash full loads as much as you can.

If you’re looking to buy a new washer and dryer, look into ENERGY STAR models. These typically use 25% less energy and 45% less water!

A few extra tips: reuse clothing as much as you can before washing, and don’t dry heavy materials or towels with lightweight items.

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!

Deep Clean Your Dryer

 

To keep your dryer running efficiently and to help keep your family and home safe from a potential dryer fire, thoroughly clean it annually. This is a great project to tackle on a weekend afternoon. Improper dryer ventilation causes 14,000 fires each year!

Over time lint builds up in the inside of your dryer, especially around the drum. With most dryers you can remove the top or front panel by simply removing a few screws, and take your extension on your vacuum to it.

Next up, your dryer ducts. This part is a bit trickier. Unplug your dryer and remove the flexible duct from the back of the dryer with your screwdriver. Use a large cleaning brush to push out any lint from behind your lint trap. Reach into the hole and pull out any buildup and vacuum again there and in the tubing. Be careful with using any sharper tools to get to the middle of the tubing, as they could puncture it. Typically, there is more buildup towards the ends.

Also vacuum where the duct exhaust exits your house. If you find that you have issues with birds/critters, install a bird guard on the outside. Make sure that the screen is not covered with lint, which will prevent any airflow.

Lastly, slide the clamp over the vent to attach and then put the dryer back into place. Run dryer on air fluff for about 10 minutes to let the debris that may be loose escape.

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!

Installing a Wine Fridge

 

If you’re planning to head out to the wineries this spring and stocking up on your favorite wines, you might consider a wine fridge. This will keep your wine at the ideal temperature, preserve the flavors, and help you free some space in your fridge or wet bar.

Wine refrigerators come as stand-alone units ranging in size from small to fridges the same size as a regular refrigerator. Most medium-sized wine fridges can fit under a counter. Measure the area (length, width, height, depth) where you plan to install your wine fridge. A common size is between 15 and 30 inches wide.

Ideally, you will not need to wire a new outlet for your wine fridge. See if there is space near the same outlet bay as your kitchen sink, so you can run an extension electrical cord to the outlet for your garbage disposal. Make sure to use a ground protector. Drill a hole through the cabinets for the cord, and leave a space at the back of the wine fridge so there isn’t pressure on the extension cord plug. If you do end up needing to wire a new outlet, buy and install a 110 volt outlet that is standard for most units. It is best to get a professional electrician to do this.

When you install your wine fridge, fit its mounting plates into the provided slots. Plug it in and wait a few minutes and check the temperature gauge. You’ll want about 55 degrees Fahrenheit at 70 percent humidity.

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!

Considering a Gas Fireplace?

 

Perhaps you’re tired of chopping wood, or you just want a new look. Gas fireplaces can be a great addition to your home, whether you want to install it now to use for any cold weather that may be around the corner, or you’re thinking ahead to next fall. What does the set up look like and what should you know ahead of time?

Many models come as inserts and do not need a chimney or an existing fireplace, but some will need outside ventilation. It should also be placed where installation of a gas line, an electrical circuit, and an exhaust pipe will be convenient. It is usually best to install a stand-alone gas fireplace on an exterior wall so the venting pipe can go straight out the wall. You will also need a platform.

You’ll install the exhaust piping at the top, or back, and when you figure out where the hole for the exhaust pipe will be placed, trace a circle around the pipe at the wall. Then move the fireplace platform and the fireplace out of the way so you can cut the hole for the direct venting system. Make sure that there aren’t any electrical lines or pipes in the area. Drill a hole from the inside through the outside.

Frame the inside edges of the opening with lumber. Insert the wall-pass-through. Inside the house, put high-temperature caulk on the inside surfaces of the hole. Install the remaining piping according to the instructions.

If you aren’t comfortable doing the installation yourself, hire a professional. That said, to ensure your safety, hire a professional to install and connect the gas line and electricity.

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!

Home Hazards Often Overlooked

 

 

Every homeowner knows the list of home repairs and maintenance is never ending. Although it may be daunting to think about everything needed to maintain your home, it is important to remember things that are easy to overlook. Here are some hazards to keep an eye out for that can wreak havoc on your health and your wallet if not addressed.

Improper dryer exhaust venting causes thousands of fires every year. Over the years lint buildup restricts the airflow in your dryer, which leads to increased fire danger. It is a good idea to regularly check your aluminum vent hose to make sure it is not crushed or kinked. Once a year is a good rule of thumb. Also, clean your vent line regularly. If you are not comfortable trying it yourself, call a professional.

An inefficient water heater is another commonly overlooked problem. Not only will it reduce efficiency and lead to higher bills, but a faulty water heater can also be unsafe. It has the potential to explode, damaging your home and possibly hurting people. Inspect it regularly, and again, if you don’t know what you’re doing, call a professional.

Leaky plumbing may not be top of mind, but it wastes a lot of water and leads to unnecessarily high bills.  Furthermore, leaky pipes, or other water-related issues such as clogged gutters, can lead to water damage as well as mold and mildew. A plumber can fix these problems before they get worse.

Lastly, environmental threats such as asbestosradon gas and lead paint can damage your home and your health. You can test for these things on your own with an at-home test and a specialist can direct you towards the course of action you need to take if you need.

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!

Hiding Unsightly Power Cords

 

Maybe you’re tired of looking at a tangled mess of cords around your TV stand or under your desk. Or, maybe you’re trying to make your home safer (especially important with young children). What are some ways you can hide your electrical cords? Here are some options:

  • First, unplug the appliances, clean up around the area and untangle! You can label the different cords with bread clips or pieces of masking tape that you can label and wrap around the cords.
  • You can clip the cords together with binder clips if you want a hassle-free solution and don’t mind if it doesn’t look perfect. Or, you can use a cord spiral wrap to make the cords blend in better with your background.
  • Use packing tape to affix the cord to the back of a table leg, TV stand, desk, etc. Or similarly, use adhesive hooks/clips.
  • If you have many electronics on your nightstand, put a power strip inside your top drawer to hide it all.
  • A creative, yet simple solution, is to use a box of some sort to put all of the cords into and sit it on your desk, TV stand, or other surface. This won’t hide the entire length of the cords but will make a big difference.
  • If you don’t mind a little bit more work, get a paintable cord cover. Measure the wall to figure out what length you need. You may cut it if needed. All you have to do is mount it to the wall and put the cords in, then paint the cord if you wish.
  • If you don’t mind even more work and you’re very tech savvy, use flat wire on the wall and paint over it. This is exactly what it sounds like—wiring that is flat instead of round. Low-voltage wires look like copper strips encased in film, so they are safe to touch.
  • Lastly, if it’s a wall-mounted TV you have — while probably the most labor intensive but most effective — you can feed cords from your TV through your wall where they will be hidden. If this is the route you choose, you may wish to engage a professional electrician to help.

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!

Home Automation

 

2016-05-16-1463362284-229977-connecthomWith “smart technology” you can have it all these days. Besides your coffee being brewed before you wake up, you can have lights turned on automatically, and doors locked from a swipe on our phone. What are some ways you can make your life easier if this is something you’ve been thinking about?

Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your home a “smart” home. A basic automation system lets you set vacation timers when you’re away, connect lights to morning alarms and set motion detectors outside. All of this can be connected to a smart phone or tablet.

Media centers are another popular choice. With an automated media center you can consolidate your entertainment needs into one location. Some smart devices let you to stream different media in different rooms at the same time.

Your HVAC is also a great aspect of the home to consider making “smart.” A smart thermostat will cost you a few hundred bucks but save you money in the long run. It knows when you leave the house and automatically adjusts the temperature to a predetermined baseline. It also lets you adjust the temperature of your home with a smart phone or tablet — tailored to your schedule if you so desire.

Security is another area in which people are going “smart.” Smart locks connect with your smart phone and automatically lock or unlock depending on your location, while working with your other existing smart-home systems to create a safer home.

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!

Wiring for Your Home Office

 
imagesMore and more people are working from home. You can have the best speed and performance in your home office if you set everything up properly and don’t cut corners.

You’ll likely need high-speed Internet and networking. Structured wiring is a data delivery system that can carry phone, fax, broadband, networking, and video/television technologies. The system has three parts: a panel where outside service enters the home, wires and cables throughout the house, and connecting hardware. You can get a prepackaged system, but that means you may have wasted outlets or no outlet where you need one. It is a good idea to develop a home-office plan before you wire. Figure out where the computer, printer, phones, and media will be set up and where conference calls will happen.

The system is installed the same way regardless of whether you have a new construction or are remodeling. The preferred method is the “star” layout, where each outlet extends individually to the service panel. This will allow for flexibility and help to figure out any problems. There are options for older homes so you don’t have to open up walls. Wires can be fished through walls.

If you’re not comfortable doing such a big project on your own, hire a professional. Not only do you want it to be installed correctly but you also want to make sure you have create necessary flexibility to accommodate future expansion. Costs vary, but the system typically ranges from about 1 to 3 percent of a home’s value.

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!