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.

Installing Solar Panels – Pros and Cons

If you are looking for ways to be environmentally conscious, installing solar panels in your home might be a good start. While upfront costs may be high, using solar energy can be a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills, earn tax incentives and add value to your home because the panels are exempt from property taxes.

Consider these advantages of using solar energy when deciding if installing solar panels makes sense for you.

Energy independenceinfographic about how solar panels work

The sun is an infinite source of energy, unlike coal and natural gas, and solar panels can be installed practically anywhere. Using solar panels allows you to reduce dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, leading to a more stable and predictable energy bill, especially during times when the demand for energy is high.

Reduced electricity bills

Over a 20-year period, you can save from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on where you live, electricity usage and the size of your home. Unlike paying traditional utility bills, paying off a solar panel system makes you money on the investment. You can also sell solar energy back to the grid, allowing you to earn while you save.

Federal and state tax benefits

The government will offer you benefits when you install solar panels in your home, potentially allowing you to claim 30 percent of the installation costs, with benefits that vary state to state.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Since solar energy generates power without giving off any dangerous emissions, the energy produced from solar panels is clean. It doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. For examples the average American home produces 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. A family who installs solar panels can reduce its carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds.

Longevity with little maintenance

With most systems lasting for more than years, solar panels and equipment require little maintenance. Additionally solar energy is always improving, so a panel you installed last year is even better today.

 

While there are many benefits to using solar power, there are also disadvantages to consider. Some disadvantages include:

Expensive initial costs

You will experience reduced electric bills when using solar panels, but there are initial costs for the equipment and installation. This could add up to more than $20,000. Also, any devices that you run on DC currents will be more expensive to power directly.

Inability to take it if you move

Once panels are installed it is nearly impossible to transport to another location. Even transferring PV solar panels is never advised. It would have to be  dismantled from your roof and retrofitted to your new property, most likely causing extensive damage.

Limitations based on your surroundings

The solar energy industry continues to grow, but most companies serve a particular geographic region or state. If you live in an area outside of a solar energy company’s coverage area, you’re out of luck. Additionally, if you live in a rural area and far away from your solar provider, you could have trouble reaching customer services when you need assistance.

Weather dependence

To power your solar panels you need the sun. If you live in a cloudy area or have days of storms, this will negatively impact how the system runs. If your region has a dark winter season, your system will likely be less productive at that time.

Inconvenience in areas with limited space

You will need a decent size space to install a solar system and have it run smoothly.  Solar panels might be inconvenient in inner cities and other areas with limited space. If your roof is small (less than about 100 square feet of roof for every 1 kW of panels) you might not have the space for all the solar panels that you need to power your house.

Advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels seem to have a tradeoff. Solar panel technology isn’t perfect, but it is constantly improving. You’ll get a return on your investment, but it takes a while. Energy produced from solar panels is plentiful, clean and renewable, but the infrastructure that manufactures and delivers them leaves its own carbon footprint.

When you understand how solar panels work and what are the best panels for your home, you will need to talk to a solar energy company. Talk to them about what makes the most sense for your home and region.

If you’re looking for professional guidance about energy savings, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Best Electric Fireplace Benefits

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.

Person operates electric fireplace with remote control

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.

For instance:

  • 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.

Installation Options

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!

Can A Smart Thermostat Save You Money?

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.

Home with smart thermostat

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.

Is your AC about to go out? Know the signs!

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.

It’s leaky

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

 

Going Green Around Your Home

 

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!