HVAC Myths Dispelled

When it comes to HVAC systems how do you know what’s a myth and what’s true about maintenance and services? Let’s take a look at a few of the most common HVAC myths and dispel them so you know how to make the best decisions to keep your systems working efficiently.

HVAC Myths Dispelled

MYTH: Your filter only needs changing only once a year.

TRUTH: This is a myth and a big mistake! Change your filter every 30 days and if you have a lot of pets that produce a lot of dander and fur around the house, change out more often. This will keep your system much more efficient.

 

MYTH: Having the biggest system is always the best.

TRUTH: Actually, bigger is not always better when it comes to an HVAC system. In fact, if you have a system that is too large for your home, it can be much less efficient and less effective in removing humidity. It’s best to have a professional decide on the right size HVAC unit for your home.

 

MYTH: You don’t need to maintain your HVAC system unless it’s broken.

TRUTH: Regular maintenance on your HVAC system is crucial. This will prevent large and expensive problems and ensure that your system is working properly. Maintenance with an HVAC specialist will save you costly and major repairs down the road.

 

MYTH: It’s easy to find air leaks in your home.

TRUTH: It sounds simple to find an air leak around your home, but even some of the biggest leaks can be difficult to detect. It’s best to ask an HVAC service technician to find and properly seal leaks that are wasting energy and making your system inefficient. During your regular check, ask your technician to also check for leaks. This will ensure your system is running properly and efficiently.

 

MYTH: The best way to change the heat or cooling your home is to turn up the thermostat.

TRUTH: While your thermostat setting controls the temperature, your home may never reach that temperature, especially if your HVAC is not working optimally. If your HVAC system needs maintenance, if your home needs new insulation or there are serious leaks, the system will have a difficult time heating and cooling properly.

Hiring a professional

When you hire an HVAC company to help service your system, ask them to:

  • Evaluate if the size of your system is right for your home.
  • Replace a new HVAC system in your home if it’s determined that you need one.
  • Perform regular maintenance to prevent bigger problems and keep your system running efficiently.
  • Test for leaks that may be making your system inefficient.
  • Troubleshoot any other potential problems with your HVAC system.

It’s always best to ask your HVAC professional if you have a question about what’s true or a myth in maintaining and maximizing your home system. For expert assistance, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

 

Best Water Heater Temperature

Whether you’re taking a shower or doing dishes, being stuck on the wrong water temperature is no fun. If you’re frustrated that you can’t seem to get the shower as warm enough, or because it feels like the water is at a painfully scalding temperature, you can do something about it. Achieve the best water heater temperature safely and correctly—whether you have a gas water heater or an electric model. You don’t have to settle for a water heater that runs too hot or too cold.

When setting the temperature – know the risks.

Yes, something as simple as a water heater can be dangerous! There are risks in both the process of adjusting the water heater and the problem of water temperature that isn’t right. Any time you are dealing with electricity and water there is risk. To protect yourself, be sure to follow any instructions for adjusting the temperature carefully and call on  professionals if you aren’t sure what to do.

As for the water heater setting, it’s important to have the correct setting to avoid the following risks:

  • Bacterial contamination – If the water isn’t hot enough, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Burns to the skin – If the water is too hot, it can result in scalding injuries to which children and the elderly are especially susceptible. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes less than two seconds to suffer third-degree burns. Anyone can be burned, but infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are more likely to experience burns, and require serious care and recovery.

What is the right temperature setting for your water heater?Hot water and shower faucet

The recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to set the temperature of your residential water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria are unlikely to survive at that temperature, and it is not hot enough to cause scalding. Also, at 120 degrees, your water heater will be able to supply enough hot water for your family while promoting energy efficiency.

However, depending on your home’s needs, you may require hotter water. Check with a plumbing professional for a recommendation if you aren’t sure.

Steps for how to set water heater temperature

1.  Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker panel.

2.  Find the dial or thermostat for your water heater. The location will vary depending on the model and type of  water heater you are using.  In most cases, you will find the dial behind an insulated panel. For an electric model, there are often two—one at the top of the tank and another at the bottom.

If you are trying to determine how to set a gas water heater temperature, you should find the dial near the bottom of the tank. The temperature for gas water heaters is easier to adjust because you only turn the knob counterclockwise to increase the temperature, or clockwise to decrease it.

For an electric model, you will need to access the dial behind the insulated panel. To do this, open the access panel using a flat-head screwdriver. Then, push aside the insulation covering and use the screwdriver to lower or raise the temperature to the desired range.

3.  If the water heater has two thermostats, make sure both are set to the same temperature.

4.  Replace the insulation and access panel once you are satisfied with the water temperature adjustment and restore power to the water heater.

5.  Always test the water temperature after adjusting the dial to ensure it is at a safe and appropriate temperature. Allow the water to heat to the new temperature setting, then run water from the tap at a sink or tub until it is hot. Catch some water in a cup and test the temperature with a cooking thermometer.

Next Steps

Keep in mind it may take as long as an hour for the water to reach the new temperature after having the unit shut down.  Again, working with water and electricity can be dangerous, so it’s a good idea to call an expert.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010. for assistance.

Pros and Cons of Replacing Original Windows

If you are the owner of a home built before 1960, you’ve probably considered energy efficiency and the pros and cons of replacing original windows. A big challenge is that all homes are different and the only way to really measure savings with new windows is to replace or repair them and compare energy costs.  Another challenge is the simple fact that a typical 2,000 square foot home built before 1960 could have as many as 22-25 windows. The investment factor is significant.

Window Restoration

Many people who buy older homes do so for historic value, the romance of old architecture, and the quality of craftsmanship. Most original windows were made with quality hardwood frames with panes of glass sealed into the grid with glaze. Over time, the hard putty-like glaze starts to wear away and the weather-tight seal is compromised. Re-glazing is the technique of repairing windows with new seals and sometimes new glass and frames, depending on the extent of the damage. It’s considered an art form and can be expensive and time consuming. If your home has historical value or is located in a neighborhood that has been designated by the municipality for

preservation, re-glazing the original windows might be the best option or even the only option.  Grant funding is sometimes available to homeowners in these areas.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can be a major issue with old windows, particularly those that weren’t maintained properly. Storm windows provide a barrier from the elements, but nothing compares to the insulation of vinyl replacement windows. The expense of replacement can be considerable because homes built before air conditioning were designed with more windows to promote airflow during the summer. Long-term, restoring or replacing original windows will lower heating and cooling costs, and possibly extend the life of your HVAC unit.

To learn more about lowering your heating and cooling costs, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 1.800.461.3010.

Pay Attention to These Safety Hazards in Your Home

Pay Attention to These Safety Hazards in Your Home

Life can certainly become full and some seasons are busier than others. During the midst of everything going on in life that you are juggling, it’s easy to forget the small things. Some of these small things, if left unattended, could become big hazards to your health your home. So what are these small details that should receive attention inspection on a regular basis?

Appliances are at the top of the list! Households use a myriad of appliances on a daily basis. How often are they checked to make sure that they are turned off or unplugged? We’ll share a few practices that should become part of your daily routine. They are small tasks that won’t take long, but they could keep you and your family out of danger from these hazards!

  • Let’s first address appliances, which are often used the most and emit a great deal of heat. These appliances include clocks, TV’s, computer monitors and other screens. Make sure that each one of the appliances in your home have enough space around them so that there’s no chance of overheating and touching something else, which could cause a fire. A few inches of space around each appliance should be enough space.
  • It may seem like commonly known information to leave your appliances away from water. It’s important to also keep your electrical appliances away from any vents as well because these vents could potentially leak and cause a hazard.
  • Now let’s talk power cords – when you use power cords to extend and reach lamps or lights, check for any kinks or frays in the cord. If there are any kinks, straighten them out. If there are any frays, replace the power cords all together. When using power cords, keep them out of the way and tucked under rugs or behind furniture so that they aren’t in the walkway.
  • Instead of grabbing any power cord when you go to pick-up a new one, check the weight and length to make sure that you are purchasing the right power cord for its use.
  • Avoid overloading outlets when using power strips – this could become a big hazard!
  • When buying light bulbs for your home, also check to make sure that you are buying the appropriate wattage to the fixture you will be using it for. If you use a light bulb that has a higher wattage than the fixture calls for, this could cause a potential fire.
  • Whenever you leave the home, check all appliances to make sure they are turned off and unplugged.

It’s always important to make sure that your electrical panel is operating efficiently and safely. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to perform a thorough scan throughout your home, looking for any hot spots in your electrical system. We will also test the ground fault outlets to make sure that they are functioning properly. This is especially important for any outlets near water or other hazards!

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

Are You Changing Your Air Filters?

Are you Changing your Air Filters

Life often gets hectic, and it’s hard enough to keep up with all the regular household chores like dusting and mopping. Have you given much thought to your air filters? They should be changed out routinely every month. This reminder shouldn’t be taken lightly, because there are many benefits to cleaning out your filters! We will highlight the benefits of routinely changing your air filters, and also provide a list of the different air filter options available!

Benefits of Changing Air Filters

  •  Your health is the most important reason why you should change your air filters. The accumulation of dust and pollen circulate the air and get filtered back into your home and the air you breathe if these filters are not routinely changed.
  • If anyone in your home has asthma or allergies, this is even more of a reason to change your filters to get rid of the contaminants that fill the air so that you and your family can breathe fresh air in your home!
  • Less stress on your air conditioner should also be a motivating factor to remember to pay attention to your air filters every month. Over time, as your filters build up with contaminates, it puts more stress on your AC unit and requires it to work harder to circulate air and it expends more energy to adjust the temperature of your home. Over time, this added stress on your AC unit will put wear and tear on it and limit the lifespan of your unit.
  • The final motivating factor that should prompt you to change your filters is the idea of a lower utility bill. By keeping consistently fresh filters in your home, you will lower your utility bills by saving energy!

So what about the filter types that are offered in stores today?

Types of Air Filters:

  • Pleated Media Filters – these filters gather more particles and are efficient at capturing more of the particles because of the increased surface area of the filter.
  • HEPA Filters – they offer the overall highest air quality control. Many HVAC Systems don’t allow the option to accommodate these types of filters. If you are interested in achieving this high level of air quality in your home, you may want to call a professional to retrofit your furnace to accommodate these filters.
  • Flat-paneled Fiberglass Air Filters – these types of filters have a fiberglass disposable filter. They are an inexpensive option, however they come with a tradeoff by providing a lower quality of air in your home since they don’t clean the air as well as the other filter options.
  • Washable Air Filters – these are a more costly option, and will require some additional maintenance if you’re up for it! You have to allow adequate time for them to dry when cleaning them.

There are a few essential parts to your AC unit that require regular tune-ups. Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can provide routine maintenance on your Air Conditioning unit and we can also change out air filters during our air conditioning tune ups! We will help you save money in the long run and ensure your unit is running more efficiently!

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

Why you Need Surge Protection

Surge Protection

In a previous post, we addressed the dangers that can come from dryer fires and why it’s important to take preventative measures and keep your home and family safe. It’s equally important to have surge protection in your home to protect your home from electrical hazards. Society has evolved over the past several years and there are more technological pieces per household than there have ever been before. With this comes a great chance of surges happening because each electronic often comes with a circuit board.

So what exactly is a power surge? It’s an intense short burst that’s generated within the home. These bursts are caused by motors within electronics, and it’s rare for them to take down the whole electrical system. Over time, however, the mini surges add up and will begin to take a toll on the lifespan and performance of your appliances. We’ve shared a few things that you’ll want to know about surge protectors before getting one yourself:

  •  If you have a device or appliance that isn’t dedicated to a circuit but is connected with other devices, there’s a potential problem. If that device sends a surge through that circuit, the other outlets from the shared devices could also be susceptible to a surge. This is one reason to get surge protection in your whole home.
  • Instead of getting a surge protector at the electrical panel, it’s a good idea to consider getting a surge protector at the point of use to help protect electronics that are especially sensitive.
  • If you have a whole home entertainment system or home theater, power conditioners with surge suppression capability are the best route. They provide power through a filtered system to your video and audio equipment.
  • You don’t want to buy just any surge protector – make sure you’re getting the right one for your home. Many homes have 120V service. If this is the same for your home, then an 80kA rated surge protector should be adequate. The reason why is because it’s unlikely for a home to surge over 10kA, so many homes will be covered and protected with the 80kA rated surge protector. Of course it’s important for you to verify which your home is and what’s the best protector for your appliances and systems.
  • You’ll also want to pay attention to the nominal discharge rating for your surge protectors. Ratings should be 3, 5 or 10KA. This rating is important because it indicates the ability to weather through high energy waves respectively over time and still operate optimally.
  • The Voltage Protection Rating should also be considered when purchasing a surge protector. This represents that amount of voltage that the surge protector allows to pass through it. For this rating, you’ll want to have lower numbers such as 500V to 600V.
  • Surge protectors should be replaced annually to make sure you’re your electronics are protected.

When using any form of electricity, it’s always important to make sure that your electrical panel is operating efficiently and safely. Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can perform a thorough scan throughout your home, looking for any hot spots in your electrical system. We will also test the ground fault outlets to make sure that they are functioning properly.

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

Go Green to Save Green 

 


Even if you don’t care much about the environment, going “green” can save you quite a bit of money! Here are a few ways you can save by making changes around your home.

Low-flow showerheads save on energy usage AND water. They can reduce your water usage by up to 60 percent.

Use a power strip with a switch to eliminate extra spending on powering up idle equipment. These little items add up and the cost is on average $100 each year!

Install a programmable thermostat. This will let you adjust the temperature automatically while you are sleeping or out of the house.

Insulating your walls, ceiling and floors will save you about 10 percent on your energy bills each year. Even if you already have insulation, look to see if you should add more in the attic or other areas you might forget about.

Install new energy-efficient windows. If you’re losing air out of the old leaky windows, you’re losing cash. In the winter the heat will escape and in the summer the cool air will escape. Changing the windows can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Fix leaky faucets. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you have a faucet that has one drip per second, that equals about 1600 gallons of wasted water, which is 35 dollars a year.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, washing machine or other appliance, look for Energy Star models.

To go green, you usually have to spend some money up front and put in some work. In the end though, you’ll pay off by saving thousands of dollars! Think about 5 or 10 years from now!

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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!