Home Maintenance Checklist for every Homeowner

Are you currently a homeowner, or about to become a homeowner? While it’s a rewarding feeling to own your own home, there are many responsibilities that come along with that accomplishment. There will be plenty of situations that will require the attention of a professional to fix. But what home maintenance tasks should you be able to fix on your own? Here are a few:

 

  • Cut the water supply. This may be one of the first things you learn about your home. Locate the main water valve in your home. The shut-off valve can often be found in the crawl space or basement. When a pipe unexpectedly bursts, you’ll want to go to the shut-off valve and immediately turn it off.

 

  • Unclog drains. Larger tasks will require calling a plumber to fix, however, you can quickly and easily unclog a sink or shower drain. Use a chemical drain cleaner such as Drano, and this will might remedy your clogged drain. There are also alternatives to a chemical cleaner. A drain snake can reach down the pipe and pull out whatever may be clogging it.

 

  • Reset a circuit breaker – which is most likely found in your electrical panel. If the circuit becomes overused, then the breaker trips. To turn the circuit breaker back on, you’ll have to reset it.  Locate the one breaker that is “off”, opposite from the rest of the breakers that are “on.”

 

  • Caulk – throughout the many years of home ownership, you will inevitably have to caulk some part of your bathtub tile or walls. Pay careful attention when completing this task so that you are allocating the proper amount of caulk while squeezing. It’s recommended that you cut the tube at the top at about ¼ inch down so that you will be able to use the perfect amount while squeezing the tube along the portion of the tile or wall that needs to be caulked.

Enjoy the satisfying feeling of maintaining your home by mastering these few home maintenance tasks. For the bigger and more dangerous requests such as faulty shut-off valves, water heater flushes, dye tests, load balancing of your breaker panel and installation services, leave it to the professionals! Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical will help with these more serious maintenance requests.

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

Light Up Your Home

 

Whether you’re sick of tripping over things in the evenings or want to create a certain ambiance, lighting can make a huge impact in your home. Different types of lighting will work best in different rooms. What should you consider for your home?

General lighting, also known as ambient lighting, helps to create the overall mood of your home. When you are looking for general lighting, first take note of your other lighting systems in the room to make sure additions or changes will flow well. For example, you don’t want dim overhead kitchen lighting with overly bright cabinet lights. Recessed lighting is a good choice for your everyday tasks as well as to accent a room.

Accent lighting brings attention to the features of your home, such as interesting architecture or artwork. Track lighting is a good choice for this purpose. Track lighting is easy to install and versatile since the direction of each head can be individually adjusted.

Task lighting is what you want in work areas, such as around countertops and tables. For desks, a simple desk lamp will likely suffice. For the bathroom mirror, you can get rid of shadows by placing vertical fixtures on both sides of the mirror.

Think about smaller areas as well. Adding some pantry, cabinet and closet lights can make your daily routine smoother. Fluorescent light fixtures under the upper kitchen cabinets will offer bright light without producing heat.

It is crucial to make sure your lighting plan is functional and easy for your lifestyle. You don’t want a remote-controlled closet light if you’re the type of person who loses things easily.

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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!

 

Install Fire and CO2 Alarms

 

October is fire prevention awareness month, and winter is prime time for fires due to people using unsafe techniques to warm up. How do you install smoke and CO2 alarms? Where do you place them? How many do you need?

Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. In addition, a smoke alarm should be installed on each level of your home.

Smoke alarms should be high on the wall (but not less than 12 inches away from the ceiling) because smoke rises. For ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within 4 inches down from the peak, called the apex. Make sure your alarms are not near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with them. They should also be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance unless you enjoy hearing false alarms often!

The best way to protect your home is with interconnected alarms. To do so, you’ll probably need to hire a professional if using hard wiring. There are also wireless technology options. With interconnected smoke alarms, make sure they are from the same manufacturer.

Buy smoke alarms that show a label of a recognized testing laboratory and are combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. These respond to both flaming fires and smoldering fires

Carbon monoxide mixes with the air, so these alarms should be at knee level (to meet the height of a sleeping person). You can move them up to chest height if needed in a home with young children. A single-function carbon monoxide alarm is typically recommended. If you have a dual smoke-CO detector, put it higher up so it can detect smoke. Make sure to put at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level. Extra detectors near sleeping areas are also a good idea. Any place where you have a fuel-fired appliance such as a gas fireplace or gas clothes dryer, make sure you have a CO2 alarm.

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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!

 

 

 

Bathroom Ventilation Fans

 

Long showers feel fantastic—but they aren’t so great for your home. The humidity can breed mold and mildew, which is not only a health hazard, but also bad for your building materials. Ventilation fans can help remove moisture, mold spores and odor from your bathrooms. Nowadays they are “smart” and efficient. What should you look for?

Think about where the air will go. Bathroom ventilation fans often exhaust air in between ceiling joists or into an attic, which brings the moisture into closed spaces where mold can breed. Instead, connect your bathroom exhaust fan to vent ducts that exhaust the air outside your house. If you’re concerned the fan will take the heated air out of your house, install a heat-exchange ventilator fan. Keep in mind that these are more expensive.

Measure your bathroom’s floor space. The air flow capacities of bathroom ventilation fans are measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The Home Ventilating Institute says that your fan should have 1 cfm for every square foot of floor space.

Are you bothered by loud noise? Have a sleeping child or spouse? Fan noise is rated by sones. A rating of 0.5 to 1.2 sones means the fan is very quiet, 1.5 to 2.0 sones is a good middle range, and above 4.0 sones means noisy.

Of course these days there are “smart” options. Motion sensor activation turns on the fan when someone enters the room. Fan speed can be pre-set to remove the moisture of smaller tasks like shaving. Some offer a night light to help you in the dark. Humidity sensing fans automatically switch on when they detect high levels of humidity. Some even have built-in heaters.

Another modern luxury—energy efficient ventilation fans, which use about 60 percent less energy than standard fans.

Be prepared to spend between $90 and $400 for a new ventilation fan, and more if you get a professional installation.

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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!

Window Coverings to Warm Up

 

With cooler temperatures around the corner, you might be getting your house prepared to heat up without spending as much as you did last winter on your energy bills. A simple way to make a big difference is by using window coverings strategically. The Department of Energy says that using window coverings can reduce heat loss by more than 70 percent!

If you have awnings, roll them up if possible during the winter to warm up your house. During the summer they can help keep your house cool.

Make sure your curtains and drapes are hung as closely as possible to the windows and fall to the windowsill or floor. Open your curtains and drapes in the winter to let the sun in during the day. At night, seal them at the sides and overlap them in the middle. Most standard curtains can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent, and even more if you use the above tips. During the warm months, do the opposite. Keep them closed.

Look for energy-efficient window treatments like thermal Roman shades. You can also look for curtains that have detachable thermal panels. You can even make your own if you’re good with a sewing machine. Speaking of do-it-yourself, wool curtains are also a great idea because wool is a very insulating material.

Window blinds are better at reducing summer heat gain than helping with winter heat loss because of the openings between slats.

High-reflectivity window films can help block the sun’s heat in the winter. The effectiveness will depend on the size, window orientation and building orientation and climate. For example, east- and west-facing windows will have better heat gain and will benefit more than north or south-facing windows.

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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!

Light Your Closet Without Wires

 

How do you properly get dressed in the morning if you get up before the sun or you’re trying to keep the lights dim to let your spouse sleep in? Are you digging around in your closet while holding up your phone’s flashlight? It’s time to put in some quality closet lighting!

An insta bulb is battery-operated and totally wireless. You simply peel and stick it to the wall and pull a cord to turn it on.

A battery-operated motion-sensing LED ceiling light will automatically turn on, then off after a
bout 30 seconds. These can be easily installed within minutes and the only thing you’ll have to remember is to replace the batteries once in a while.

A tap light is another great option. This is turned on or off with a tape. It can be easily attached with screws or mounting tape. Some can be detached so they can be used as a portable emergency light.

LED strip lights can activate within a few feet and provide a linear look. These are great for very dark closets.

A puck light with a remote control will let you direct lighting to where you need it and you can use the remote from 15 feet away!

You can use a combination of the options mentioned for optimal lighting. Take a look at the other closets in your home after you work on the first closet. Don’t forget about your drawers and other nooks and crannies. Most of this lighting can be installed in those areas too.

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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!

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?

Next Steps

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.

Important Tips for Garage Wiring

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.

CC Air Can 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!

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!

Walter Filtration For Your Shower

 

While you may already have a water filtration system in your kitchen for drinking and cooking water, have you ever thought about filtering your shower water? It may sound strange at first, since you probably don’t stand under the shower and drink all your water for the day, but it is actually a smart thing to think about.

Water contains chemicals such as chlorine, which is not healthy to put into our bodies in high quantities. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and absorbs what it comes into contact with. Furthermore, since we typically take warm—even hot—showers, (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a long shower to decompress?) the absorption of the chlorine into our skin is easy.

In addition to the high levels of chlorine, we may also be exposing ourselves to harmful trihalomethanes (THMs), which come from chlorine reacting with other products in the water. Because of the warm air, inhaling the chemicals occurs easily as well. The chemicals can also lead to dry skin, irritation and eczema.

There are many types of shower filters that will help prevent your exposure to all of these things. Filters use charcoal/carbon, Vitamin C or KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion). Carbon filters remove chlorine well but don’t work as well at warm temperatures. The good news is, they are inexpensive. KDF filters are also inexpensive and a pretty effective option. Vitamin C filters create a chemical reaction that changes chlorine and other chemicals, making them harmless.

Most filters are easy to install but you will need to replace them every few months. If you take many baths, there are also filters for that as well. If you want to go a much more expensive but thorough route, consider a whole house filter, typically installed by a professional.

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!