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.

 

Spring Home Maintenance

Spring has arrived! If you are ready to clean out the closets, scrub the floors and purge excess items, don’t forget to give some TLC to your plumbing and fixtures that keep your home running smoothly. Our spring home maintenance list will help. From kitchens and bathrooms to appliances, drains and outside pipes, your systems need inspection and cleaning. Here are some tips to be sure you don’t miss a thing!

General spring home maintenance

  • Check the basement and sink pipes for leaks.
  • If you have a sewer in an area, install a back flow valve in the floor drain. This could prevent future problems.
  • Fill drains with a gallon of water to also help prevent odors. Snake slow floor drains so they continue to carry water away in the event of rushing water.
  • Do you have a sump pump? Keep it running properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the pit. After the pump turns on, it should discharge the water then shut off without problems.
  • Help mitigate flooding with a flood alarm. It will operate like a smoke alarm and sound when it comes in contact with water, alerting you to potential flooding or leaks.

Appliances

  • Adjust the temperature on the water heater to no higher than 120°F. This will prevent scalding and energy overuse.
  • Flush the water heater tank with several gallons of water to flush out corrosion causing sediment. By doing this you will reduce heating inefficiency and lengthen the life of the heater.
  • If your water heater is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it. There are more energy efficient models out there.
  • Remove flammables if they are stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check all the supply hoses on your washing machine, dishwasher and ice maker for bulges or leaks. Replace any hoses that are showing age or are older than ten years – stainless steel hoses are most reliable.
  • Check on your washing machine lint trap, and if you can, place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.
  • Clean your garbage disposal. It’s a very important part of your kitchen, be sure to give it some love! Clean it and be sure to only put in it what’s intended to go down the drain.

Kitchen and bathrooms

  • Repair dripping or leaky faucets. This will help you to save water.
  • Pop in a drain strainer to catch soap, hair and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Test the toilets for leaks. To do this just add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. Color will appear in the bowl if the toilet is leaking.
  • Give the area behind the toilet a good cleaning, especially if it isn’t part of your normal routine.
  • You may need to replace toilet parts if the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running. By doing this inexpensive task you will lower your water bill.
  • Don’t neglect your shower head. Mineral deposits collect, but it can be cleaned – soak it overnight in a plastic baggie of vinegar. In the morning, remove and gently scrub with an old toothbrush. While you’re at it, tackle everything from the doors to the floor to remove soap scum and shine dull-looking fixtures.

Outdoors

  • It’s the perfect time to clean out gutters, downspouts and yard drains. Use a drain snake to clear out any debris that could cause a clog.
  • Clean out any birds nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check hoses and faucets to make sure water is flowing freely. If you have an outdoor faucet dripping you may have had a frozen pipe that needs to be replaced.

Need professional help? 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.

Summer Home Maintenance List

Home ownership comes with many joys, but there are also a lot of responsibilities. Life can get hectic, so we’ve created a summer home maintenance list to help you knock out some chores. Maintaining your home will make it more enjoyable to live in and alleviate any problems that can arise if these chores are neglected over time. Knock out the maintenance list below, and you’ll be able to relax for a little – at least until the fall maintenance comes around!

Summer Home Maintenance List

1. Clean ceiling fans

Your fans may have been off during the previous seasons of colder weather and have likely accumulated some dust. Take the time to clean your fans, since you are surely wanting to use them now!

2. Create a summer watering schedule for your garden or plants

Different seasons require different watering guidelines for your plants. Create a watering schedule this summer to keep your plants healthy and strong.

3. Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

Most carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have a test button.  Check to make sure they are working and your family is safe!

4. Clean your grill 

Make sure your grill is ready for those perfect evenings where you and your family can enjoy a BBQ on the back deck!

 

5. Give your windows a good wash

Summer home maintenance means window cleaning

Add window cleaning to your summer home maintenance list.

It’s always good to add this to a seasonal home maintenance list.  Pets and children can especially leave their marks on our windows!

6. Enhance your yard – add some mulch

This will not only help keep the weeds down, but it will also help the ground retain more moisture during the summer heat.

7. Keep dirt out of your home – get a couple of doormats

With shoes coming in and out of your house constantly, your floors can easily get muddy and dirty. Consider getting a coarse mat to put at the exterior of your home so that everyone can rub the dirt off before entering. Then put a softer door mat inside your door to catch any remaining dirt.

8. Have your air conditioning inspected

Perhaps the most important item on your summer maintenance list is your air conditioning unit! It’s running the hardest during these summer months, so you’ll want to make sure that your unit isn’t working unnecessarily hard or inefficiently. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to come out and perform a tune-up and inspection on your AC unit!

Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Installing a Home Office

The number of people who work from home has increased over the years. More companies are also allowing for this option within their company structure. When working from home, however, you need to have an efficient system for optimal internet speed and performance. We’ll walk through an ideal system for you to set in place before you start working from home. If you already work from home, you may need an update in your current wiring system to improve your work productivity.

The essential wiring and functions for a home office include high-speed internet and networking. Structured wiring is an ideal package for a home office, as it provides fax, phone, broadband, networking and video/television technologies.

The system is comprised of 3 parts:

  • The first part is a panel that allows outside services to enter the home.
  • The second part is the wires and cables that run throughout the home.
  • The third component is the connecting hardware.

There is also an option to get a prepacked system. The downside with getting a prepacked system is that there’s a possibility a few of the outlets may be left unused. There’s also a possibility that you may need outlets in areas where there aren’t any, and so you’ll have to get outlets built in there which will require more work.

Before you take any action and start wiring, make a home office plan. Once you have a room selected, create a plan of where everything will be located in that room, and where you will spend time doing certain tasks. You’ll need a designated place for the computer, printer, phone, etc. Regardless of the home-office plan you choose, it’s important to not skimp when determining which cables and systems you want to choose for your home office.

There are a lot of cheap options and wires out there. It’s safe to go with name brand wires and pay more for the quality you’ll be receiving. The name brand wires will also last a longer time. You may be wondering what kind of cost you should be anticipating for a home office. Well, this depends on a few factors like how robust your system of choice is. If you are building new construction, you can expect the cost of a full wiring system to be 1-3% of your home’s value. If you are changing a room in your existing home into an office, the price will depend on the system you choose, and also how much navigation will be required to wire everything.

Although there are DIY steps to complete wiring for a home office, it’s always safe to call a professional. Dealing with anything electrical can be hazardous and pose a threat to your safety and the safety of your home. If you’re investing a significant amount to install a home office, you want to make sure it’s done the right way.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to install the wiring for your home office! While we’re out there, we can perform a thorough scan of 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 to schedule your appointment at 800-461-3010.

Have You Considered Outdoor Lighting for Safety?

In the short days of winter, people typically get off work when it’s already dark. This means that they return to their homes when it’s dark out, which could make it difficult to navigate your way to the front door without tripping. A dark home could also make it challenging to find the right key on your key chain to open the front door.

These scenarios can all be eliminated through the different security lighting options available. Not only can outdoor lighting provide guidance from a dark driveway to the front door, but it can also provide safety by alerting you when someone is outside. We’ll highlight the different options that you could consider for the outdoor security lighting for your home.

Solar Flood Lights

  • Motion-Activated Exterior Security Lights – The benefit of motion-activated exterior lights is that they will help you save on your electricity bills. They are unlike any other security lights in that they only turn on when they detect motion and activity. The ideal location for these security lights is by entry areas and backyards. Ideally, they’d be covered by outdoor elements so they aren’t directed exposed.
  • Solar Flood Lights – For those who are especially environmentally conscious, solar flood lights are a great option for outdoor lighting. They received their power supply through the heat from the sun, which it converts into solar energy. It then uses that energy to power the LED bulbs. They won’t contribute to energy bills, and they also don’t require wiring.
  • Fluorescent Exterior Security Lights – For a conventional form of exterior lighting, consider installing fluorescent exterior lighting. Although they require bulbs, wiring, a switch and bulb sockets, they also can be adjusted with a dimmer and a timer to determine how bright you’d like them and when you’d like them to turn on and off.
  • Halogen Exterior Flood Lights – One of the most common types of exterior lighting are the Halogen flood lights. They’re often found at commercial buildings, residential homes and industrial locations. They are a strong light that emits a bright light, and consumes the most energy out of all the options above.
  • HID Exterior Security Lighting – HID, which stands for High Intensity Discharge, emits a strong light that spans over a broad surface area. These are often used for larger residential areas or stadiums, so they most likely would not be the ideal form of security lighting to choose.

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. We will also install any form of outdoor security to protect your home from intruders and provide a source of guidance when walking to and from your home in the dark.

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

Have you Winterized your Water Heater?

Have you Winterized your Water Heater?

It’s important to have your home ready for the coldest months of the year and have everything operating in proper condition. It’s especially vital to make sure that your hot water heater is maintained and running like it should, otherwise you face the risk of taking cold showers during the freezing months! Your hot water heater can also take a beating in the midst of the cold weather, which is yet another reason to have maintenance performed.

Regardless of the make or model, it needs to be winterized. Here are some ways to maintain your hot water heater:

  • Just like rinsing out a glass, your water heater needs to be flushed out and cleaned. After water continually running through it, there is a natural sediment build-up. If you’d like to do this maintenance step yourself, you can do it by turning off the water heater, let it cool down, then attach a hose to the drain valve and find a place to allow the water to properly drain.
  • If you have an older tank, insulate it so they can hold heat better. There are fiber glass insulation blankets that keep your tank warm so that the water pumping through your showers also stays warm.
  • A water tank needs an actual pressure release valve to keep it from bursting. During the winter time, it’s especially important to add this to your maintenance list. You can check this by lifting the lever on top of the valve a couple times to check for any leaks. There should be a faint hiss sound or water when you open it. If you don’t hear any of those noises, it’s time to replace it immediately. Make sure there is proper vent draft so that your water heater is not allowing excessive formation of carbon monoxide. This could pose a serious risk if it enters your home.
  • If you have a gas water heater, check for any gas leaks from the water heater shut-off valve to the burners. Any leaks could be dangerous and also costly, due to higher gas bills. .
  • Water leaks can also reveal a serious problem. Check to make sure that your water heater does not have any leaks which could also be costing you significantly more each month.

Some of this maintenance requires a professional’s help, and we’re here for you 24/7! Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to perform maintenance on your electric or gas hot water heater. Our maintenance will include things like flushing the water heater, relief valve testing, checking for water leaks, testing the emergency cutoff, inspecting the drain valve operation and much more! We want you to have peace of mind that your hot water heater is operating efficiently, and that your showers will continue to stay warm!

Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Why You Should Consider a Pressure Reducing Valve

Most people have problems in their showers or sinks with the water pressure being too low – rarely do you hear of them complaining about water pressure being too strong. People generally want as much water pressure as they are able to get from their faucet or shower. Since low water pressure is a common occurring problem, you may be wondering why anyone would want a water-reducing pressure valve. Well, a few of the reasons below may cause you to reconsider: 

  • A pressure reducing valve can be beneficial to your home appliances. These are not cheap items to replace, and it’s important to make sure that your investments in appliances are taken care of. If the water pressure in your dish washer is too high, it could potentially place stress on your appliance, which over time, could require you to replace it. The lifetime of your appliances will significantly diminish if they are constantly under the stress of high water pressure.
  • If any of your water hoses become crimped, they could cause some serious water damage once released. One of the most dangerous water flooding threats to a home is caused by washing machine hoses that burst. Because many people pick up washing machine hoses that can be picked up at DIY stores, this causes even more of a potential flood disaster. Having a pressure reducing valve will ensure that your laundry room doesn’t get flooded.
  • Not only do appliances suffer from a high water pressure, but so do plumbing fixtures. Of course you don’t want shower under a trickling spout, but there’s a balance between having a pressure that’s strong enough to shower under, but also that doesn’t take a toll on your appliances and plumbing fixtures. Your shower should provide the optimum amount of water input that will be enough pressure for you to shower, but not too much that strains your shower head.
  • Installing a pressure reducing valve will help determine the optimal water pressure in your home. Although most people think that they are good judges of the right water pressure, it’s always best to have a professional come out to evaluate and determine what’s best for your home as well as the appliances and plumbing fixtures inside. If you are frustrated with a water pressure that is too low, you don’t have to settle for this.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can come out to check the water pressure in your home and install pressure reducing valves! While we’re out there, we can also perform dye tests on all your toilets to ensure that there are no water leaks, which equate to money wasting. If your toilets are connected to a septic tank and there’s a water leak, then you could be wasting even more money! Not only can we provide dye tests, but we can also check all the exposed hot and cold water lines to identify and repair any water leaks in your home.

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

How To Winterize Your Hot Water Heater

It’s important to have your home ready for the coldest months of the year and have everything operating in proper condition. It’s especially vital to make sure that your hot water heater is maintained and running like it should, otherwise you face the risk of taking cold showers during the freezing months! Your hot water heater can also take a beating in the midst of the cold weather, which is yet another reason to have maintenance performed. Regardless of the make or model, it needs to be winterized. Here are some ways to winterize your hot water heater:

  •  Just like rinsing out a glass, your water heater needs to be flushed out and cleaned. After water continually running through it, there is a natural sediment build-up. If you’d like to do this maintenance step yourself, you can do it by turning off the water heater, let it cool down, then attach a hose to the drain valve and find a place to allow the water to properly drain.
  • If you have an older tank, insulate it so they can hold heat better. There are fiber glass insulation blankets that keep your tank warm so that the water pumping through your showers also stays warm.
  • A water tank needs an actual pressure release valve to keep it from bursting. During the winter time, it’s especially important to add this to your maintenance list. You can check this by lifting the lever on top of the valve a couple times to check for any leaks. There should be a faint hiss sound or water when you open it. If you don’t hear any of those noises, it’s time to replace it immediately.
  • Make sure there is proper vent draft so that your water heater is not allowing excessive formation of carbon monoxide. This could pose a serious risk if it enters your home.
  • If you have a gas water heater, check for any gas leaks from the water heater shut-off valve to the burners. Any leaks could be dangerous and also costly, due to higher gas bills. .
  • Water leaks can also reveal a serious problem. Check to make sure that your water heater does not have any leaks which could also be costing you significantly more each month.

Some of this maintenance requires a professional’s help, and we’re here for you 24/7! Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to perform maintenance on your electric or gas hot water heater.

Our maintenance will include things like flushing the water heater, relief valve testing, checking for water leaks, testing the emergency cutoff, inspecting the drain valve operation and much more! We want you to have peace of mind that your hot water heater is operating efficiently, and that your showers will continue to stay warm!

Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Childproof Your Bathroom Before The Holiday Guests Arrive

Whether you are hosting a household of guests that includes a child, or you have one of your own, it may be a good time to consider if your bathroom is childproof. Out of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen and the bathroom provide the most hazards to children. With all the activity in your home, it’s easy to lose track of a child for a moment or for them to wander quietly into the bathroom before you even realize they’re gone. There are a few ways ensure that your children or your guest’s children will be safe and out of harm’s way from the potential hazards in your bathroom. 

  • The first line of defense when childproofing your bathroom is to install a hook-and-eye lock on a high placement outside the bathroom door, or you could place a childproof cover on the door knob.
  • Don’t keep anything plugged in close to the tub or the sink. Always remove any electrical items after using them.
  • Install a toilet lid to prevent children from lifting and putting things down the toilet which potentially causes a plug, or could pose as a threat if they fall in.
  • Another way to protect your child in the bathroom is to make sure they don’t get accidentally  burned from hot water when taking a bath. It can take just three seconds of the wrong water setting for your child to get a serious burn. Install an anti-scalding setting on your faucets. You can also have your water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit so that the water never gets to a point that could cause a burn.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can come out and set the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent any burns. We can also install an anti-scalding setting on your faucets as well. While we’re out there childproofing your home, we can perform dye tests on all your toilets to ensure that there are no water leaks, which equate to money wasting. If your toilets are connected to a septic tank and there’s a water leak, then you could be wasting even more money! Not only can we provide dye tests, but we can also check all faucets in your home and all exposed hot and cold water lines to identify and repair any water leaks in your home.

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