Electric fireplaces are an attractive, much more cost-effective alternative to a wood-burning fireplace. Some of the best electric fireplace benefits are their safety features, impressive heat output and energy efficiency. Electric models provide a significant amount of heat for small spaces. They also reduce the need to run the furnace at full speed and save money on energy bills.
What is an Electric Fireplace?
An electric fireplace is an electric heater that has the look of a fireplace, with realistic-looking flames. They are much sturdier than your average space heater. They work by drawing in the cool air in a room, heating the air using internal heating coils, and then forcing the warm air back out using a fan system.
Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?
There is no need to worry! While improper use and other safety issues can arise with any electric appliance, these units are actually very safe. In fact, many people choose an electric fireplace over traditional gas and wood-burning options.
Electric fireplaces require virtually no maintenance. Since there is no real fire, you don’t have to worry about dangerous smoke or fumes. This makes them an ideal choice for the safety-conscious and for anyone dealing with allergies or breathing sensitivities. If any troubleshooting is required, it won’t involve climbing on the roof or calling a chimney sweep.
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
When it comes to electric fireplace safety, it’s a little less intimidating than traditional space heaters. Electric fireplaces are sturdier than space heaters, making them nearly impossible to knock over. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines.
- Keep surrounding objects at a safe distance – Your electric fireplace heater should be clear of objects such as blankets, electronics, furniture or toys. Leave at least three feet of clear space in all directions. Never place anything on top of your electric fireplace.
- Avoid touching the surface – The surfaces of your electric fireplace can become hot to the touch during use. It’s best not to touch it at all when in use.
- Do not leave children or pets unattended – Accidents can happen when it involves small kids or animals. Don’t leave them unattended when your electric fireplace is in use.
- Use your unit inside – Electric fireplace heaters are designed to be used indoors only.
- Make sure your outlets are safe – Never plug your electric fireplace into an outlet you suspect is unsafe, nor use a cord or plug that is frayed or damaged. If you’re unsure of the safety of your electric system, consider an electrical safety inspection.
- Unplug the unit when not in use – For precautionary reasons, always unplug your electric fireplace heater when it’s not in use.
- Never modify the unit – Modifying an electric fireplace can be very dangerous. Always consult the owner’s manual when problems come up. Hire a qualified electrician to do any repairs or modifications.
In most cases, you can put your unit anywhere in your home you want to enjoy the best electric fireplace benefits. Depending on the model you choose, the unit can be mounted to the wall, set on a TV stand or installed into the wall. You can use electric fireplaces on most types of flooring, including carpet. Because it’s an electric appliance, keep it away from liquids, especially while the unit is turned on. Overall, these units are safe.
If you are unsure if an electric fireplace is right for your home contact an electrical professional from Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010!
Smart home technology is becoming more and more mainstream for tech-savvy homeowners. If you’re not a gadget guru, you might wonder if a smart thermostat is worth the investment and learning curve. And, can a smart thermostat save you money? Programmable thermostats have been around, but here are some things that might surprise you about smart thermostat technology.
What is a smart thermostat?
Smart thermostats connect to your home WiFi – typically, they have a WiFi chip, but some communicate through a separate hub. (Eyes glazing over? Don’t worry professionals set this up). You simply control your thermostat through an app on your phone. The newest technology allows the thermostat to not only set up schedules, but also read your daily patterns and adjust accordingly. This can lead to improved efficiency and opportunities for savings.
You don’t have to have a “smart home” to use a smart thermostat.
If you don’t have a smart home system, you can still use a smart thermostat and phone app. If you have Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit, you can control your thermostat the same way you control other things like lights, appliances, and entertainment.
They report to you.
Some smart thermostats can translate temperature trends and usage data into energy efficiency reports. If you have electric HVAC and appliances, it might be hard to decipher how much of your electric bill is directly from heating and cooling. Getting a separate report from your smart thermostat shows you how your energy usage breaks down and allows you to make changes or improvements to maximize efficiency and save money.
They know your home.
Whether it be your HVAC unit itself, drafts from windows, insulation issues, or blocked vents, if your home is not maintaining temperature in an efficient way, your smart thermostat knows. It alerts you to changes in the amount of time it takes to get your home to a desired temperature. This gives you the opportunity to identify potential problems with your home or system.
Central Carolina Air Conditioning can help with your home efficiency needs. Request an appointment online or call us at 1.800.461.3010.
Air conditioning is one of modern life’s greatest privileges. We often don’t think about the comfort it provides, until our unit stops working. When the AC goes out, it always seems to happen suddenly (and on the hottest day of the year). But there are usually signs and symptoms before a unit goes kaput – you just have to know what to look for. Staying on top of your air conditioning unit’s health will save you from discomfort and unexpected expenses down the road!
Signs your air conditioning unit may be about to go out
It’s full of hot air
The number one sign that something is wrong with your unit is that the air doesn’t seem cold. There could be a few reasons why this is happening. It’s possible that your compressor is broken or your unit may have low levels of Freon.
If you check your unit and there is moisture or leakage, this could be a sign that something is not right. Slight condensation is normal, but a significant amount of moisture is not. A refrigerant leak around your unit can cause a risk to your family. Water leaks can cause damage to your floors and furniture, and they can sometimes even cause mold. It’s best to call a professional to fix the problem sooner rather than later.
It’s thumping, bumping, clicking, or banging
If you hear a strange sound coming from your unit, it may be time to have an inspection done to find the cause of the noise. If you hear rattling, banging or grinding sounds coming from your unit, turn it off immediately and call a professional.
It’s ready to retire
Is your unit 10-15 years old? If so, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer energy efficient model. Air conditioning units typically last 10-15 years, so if yours is within this time frame, then you should be anticipating a unit replacement soon.
It’s a money pit
Are you constantly paying for repairs on your unit? If so, replacing the unit may save you money in the long run. Repair costs can really add up over time.
It’s hogging energy
What is your system’s SEER rating? Every Air Conditioning system has a SEER rating, and the higher the rating, the better. If your SEER rating is low, then it may be time to replace your unit. Any units that have been made since 2006 are made with a minimum SEER rating of 13. It’s best to have a rating higher than the minimum if you want to reap the most energy savings from your unit.
Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to visit and perform a tune-up on your AC unit! Our service professionals will inspect your condenser and evaporator coils to ensure that your system is running efficiently. We will also come out and check your insulation for any small holes or non-insulated walls. This will also help reduce the cost of your energy bills since your system will be running properly after our inspection and tune-up!
Call to schedule your appointment now with Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 800-461-3010
This month’s Earth Day reminds us that we as Americans generate a huge amount of trash—an average of 4.4 pounds per person each day. So what can we do to reduce waste to not only help the environment, but help us save money too? Frankly, start questioning everything you own and everything you regularly buy:
- Limit or cancel paper subscriptions. If you have subscriptions, then magazines, catalogs and newspapers can stack up quickly.
- Reduce and reuse packaging. When you do buy things, try to buy in bulk and buy things with as little packaging as possible. Also, use reusable grocery bags. Lastly, buy recycled items. Glass, paper, metal and plastic items are often recycled materials.
- Recycle. Give things away to charity and make use of your regular recycling service. Books, clothing and kitchen ware are great items to donate.
- Maintain and repair your appliances. The goal is to get as much life out of these items as possible and maintaining them will make a big difference in their longevity.
- Reuse things as much as possible. Wear clothes again, use the same towel all week, and reuse jars, old rags, etc. for other purposes around the house.
- Monitor energy use. Turn off lights when you can, unplug things, adjust the thermostat up or down, and consider energy-efficient items and solar energy if you’re looking for even bigger long-term changes.
- Be aware of water use. Take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and wear things more often before washing. It takes energy as well as wear and tear on your pipes and system to pump water through the home and down the drain. It also takes energy to heat it and treat it to make it drinkable.
It starts with simple, small changes. Once you start taking a critical look at your home and your lifestyle, you’ll see there is plenty you can do.
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!