Fall Maintenance Checklist

The recent temperatures have it finally feeling like fall! The summer heat that lingered into September and October is officially gone. Now is a perfect time to complete these fall maintenance tasks:

  • Check your roof: Remove moss from sloped areas and clear any debris from gutters and downspouts. Additionally, look for signs of damage/wear and make repairs as soon as possible.
  • Check Windows: Check windows seals and replace weather stripping if necessary.
  • Gutters: clean leaves and debris from gutters and make sure the screen covering your HVAC fan is preventing leaves from falling inside.
  • Outdoor surfaces:  Blow or sweep leaves and acorns before things get wet and slippery. Wet leaves can get moldy and worsen seasonal allergies. Use an outdoor cleaning solution and power washer or hose to clean walkways, porches and steps that have accumulated algae over the summer.
  • Outdoor Vents: Attic vents, dryer vents and exhaust ducts should be clear (check inside and out).
  • Basement/Crawlspace: If you have a sump pump, make sure it is in good working condition, and check for wet spots or puddles in the crawlspace. Check for pest problems – this is a good time for preventative treatment for things like camel crickets, spiders, and mice.
  • HVAC: change air filters and have your HVAC system and ducts professionally inspected before the first big temperature drop of the season.

For more information on how to prepare your home’s HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems for cold weather, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010.

HVAC Maintenance Delivers Efficiency, Savings, and Safety

We’ve been on a weather roller-coaster with extreme temperature lows and highs this year. Swings in the seasons took us from a long, cold winter to record setting heat in the summer. This can take a toll on your home, especially your HVAC!

If you keep your HVAC in top-working condition, you will maintain a comfortable environment throughout the seasons. But, letting maintenance fall to the back burner could mean low-performing systems that result in costly repairs.

Let’s look further at what components make up an HVAC, steps you can take to avoid costly repairs, improve performance and ensure safety, and optimal maintenance schedules to extend the life of your system.

What is HVAC?

HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The systems are comprised of products like furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and ventilators. The ductwork connected to these pieces of equipment is another component of HVAC, as well as thermostats and other controls. Maintaining these individual parts will keep the whole system working optimally. Regular professional and DIY maintenance will ensure these hardworking parts are at their best.

What is HVAC maintenance?

There are several aspects of a proper professional maintenance visit. HVAC maintenance is when you have a trusted HVAC technician come to your home to look at your system. The HVAC technician will inspect, clean, test, and make adjustments to your heating or cooling system to ensure it is working at optimal functionality, safety, and efficiency.

HVAC maintenance involves so much and varies based on the different heating and cooling systems, but some basic components include:Technician maintains HVAC unit

  • Checking thermostat settings
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Calibrating comfort controls
  • Lubricating any moving parts
  • Clearing the drain line
  • Assessing unit efficiency and functionality

HVAC maintenance is more than the DIY maintenance you should be tending to regularly, like changing air filters. Professional maintenance includes the more electrical and mechanical aspects of your system. Of course, if you encounter problems while changing your filters or with your regular maintenance, you should call a specialist.

Why is maintenance essential?

Preventive maintenance helps ensure that your HVAC system runs close to peak performance. This can mean saving up to 30% on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent coils and ducts from gathering allergens, bacteria, and mold that flow through the duct work and contaminate indoor spaces. Allowing buildup to occur can trigger health problems like asthma attacks and headaches and can even bring on flu-like symptom

Proper maintenance can give your HVAC system a good 15 to 20 years of use. Without regular care, an HVAC system may only last half that time.

When should you schedule HVAC maintenance?

Your HVAC system needs professional maintenance the most right before it’s about to work the hardest. Ideally, you want to have the heating inspected in the fall and your cooling system inspected during the spring. This general schedule will prevent more serious issues like deadly carbon monoxide leaks or last-minute issues that leave you without a cooling option on hot summer days.

Routine HVAC maintenance schedule – what to expect and when

HVAC systems have many moving parts and components that rely on each other to make the whole system work. When something goes wrong, it can be very costly to repair. Good routine maintenance will help avoid big repairs and keep your system working properly, especially when you need it most.

Here’s what you can do at home to help keep your HVAC system running perfectly:

  • To prolong the life of your HVAC unit, make sure it stays clean. Eliminating environmental factors will ensure better system performance. Examining the machine and clearing it of debris such as grass, leaves, pollen, and dust will allow it to maintain optimal functionality.
  • Be sure to take a look at your refrigerant lines and inspect for damage, leaking, or other factors that may be damaging the functionality of the lines.
  • Keeping your filters changed is one of the easiest ways to ensure a solid running HVAC. Even the high quality filters need to be changed on a regular basis to keep your air conditioning system running smoothly. Regularly changed filters cut down on the system’s strain and can avoid the need for repairs.
  • Check the ground your unit sits on. Foundations and ground can shift, so it is good to perform an annual inspection on the ground that holds your AC unit. If the ground has shifted, it is best to call a professional to reinforce the foundation.
  • Some maintenance is as even more about safety than a well-running machine. Replace the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector. While they may not have completely died, the batteries should be replaced each and every year. Carbon monoxide can be highly dangerous, so it is better to be safe.

For more information or to schedule professional maintenance, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010.  We look forward to helping you keep your home comfortable in every season!

 

Inconsistent Temperature in your Home

Have you ever noticed that there are certain areas of your house that always feel colder in the winter and warmer in the summer?  Rooms like this will sometimes be at the end of a hallway, or on a second or third floor. If the issue isn’t something like blocked air vents or returns,  it might be that you need to consider adding an additional HVAC unit or re-configuring ductwork to improve airflow.

Older homes can have ductwork that is torn or sagging from natural wear and tear, which can allow air to escape in the crawl space or attic. Older homes might also have HVAC units that can’t really handle the load of heating and cooling your space. Particularly, if you’ve added on to your home or increased the livable square footage, adding a second unit might be necessary.

Even if you live in a new home, your HVAC unit might not truly be adequate enough for your square footage. This can take years off of the life of your system.

Having to use secondary sources of heating and air, like a window unit or space heater, can significantly increase your electric bill, so here are some things to check:

  1. Make sure all vents are clear and not being blocked by furniture
  2. Make sure all return vents have clean filters
  3. Keep doors open – even rooms that you’re not using
  4. Close vents in rooms that seem too cold when using the air conditioning and too warm when running the heat

If you’re still having issues with air temperature consistency in your home, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric at 800.461.3010 to have your HVAC system and ductwork inspected.

Protect Your Foundation and Plumbing with Gutter Maintenance

Gutters play an essential role in moving water away from your home and protecting its foundation. Having proper gutters for your home can prevent plumbing problems, particularly in the wet, cold winter months.

Most homes have standard 5-inch aluminum or vinyl gutters, but they aren’t created equal, and there are cases where they just don’t cut it. Soil erosion from excess rain run-off can cause foundation instability that can impact your plumbing and sewer system. As cooler temps arrive, pipes and joints contract and can become unstable. This is the case with both pipes bringing water to the home and outgoing sewer plumbing, which can be a major concern if not addressed. Rain water is a major cause of erosion around your home, so how do you prevent it?

The surface area and pitch of your roof is a big factor in how much water the gutters have to be able to handle during a heavy downpour. Most ranch style or tri-level homes have sprawling, large roofs and therefore have to move more water. 6-inch gutters are recommended for roof surface areas of over 3500 square feet or a steep roof that is more likely to catch blowing rain.Gutter Overflowing with Leaves

(For the math enthusiasts: you can determine the exact pitch of your roof and how it is factored in your surface area by using this equation ((rise/run)² + 2) and finding the square root.)

If you have trees near or hanging over your home, fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter rain and snow. Clogged gutters can be just as detrimental to your home’s foundation as having no gutters at all. Because plumbing pipes are not flexible they become brittle over time, and even a small amount of foundation soil erosion can cause pipes to freeze more easily. Mesh or screen guards can prevent clogging in the gutters…but they are prone to clogging themselves and require regular cleaning. If you live in a wooded area, leaf-free gutters might be a worthwhile investment. They have a flat top with channels that collect water, but let leaves and debris run off. They’re really very effective during steady moderate rain but may not be able to handle the volume of a heavy downpour.

If you’ve had erosion around the foundation of your home, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric at 800.461.3010 to have your plumbing inspected!

DIY Project Safety and Kids

Family DIY ProjectA growing family and tight budget can make DIY home improvements necessary, but there are extra safety precautions that have to be considered when renovating with children in the home.  Basic comfort and convenience aside, keeping dangerous tools, materials, and chemicals away from children requires extra planning and care.

Here are some tips to keep children safe during DIY home projects:

  • As a general rule, any time you are considering doing home improvements (with or without children in the home), compare your estimated cost in materials/time to what a professional would charge.
  • Break large scale projects into phases. Make sure that you identify specific areas of the house for your family that won’t be impacted, and don’t allow any project materials or tools in those areas. Make sure the “work-free” areas can function between phases of the project.
  • Don’t try to multi-task. Even small repairs require full attention and if you’re responsible for supervising a child at the same time, you could be putting everyone at risk. Work with family or other caregivers to designate work times when small children can be supervised.
  • Ask for help. Make sure you truly understand the scope of the project and how long it will take to complete. For example, one person painting a room that requires priming and two coats of paint could take two days or more. It’s possible that three people could do it in less than 24 hours.
  • Any DIY project that requires breaching the security of exterior doors or windows, cutting off access to water or electricity, or moving furniture should be carefully considered. In some cases, it’s best to have children stay with a family member if security or physical safety is an issue.
  • Determine a lockable space to secure tools and equipment when you take breaks or between project phases.
  • Be aware of fumes and dust travelling through air vents. If you can, isolate your work space with a door or hang heavy duty plastic in the doorway. As a precaution, cover air intake vents and open windows exterior doors.

Before starting major DIY projects, it’s best to consult an expert.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800-461-3010 to ensure your safety before starting a project, especially one involving electrical or plumbing systems.

Old Houses – New Problems

Home renovation before and afterHome Improvement shows add an element of glamour to historic home renovations, and people who invest in them relish in the charm. In one hour-long TV show a cute bubbly couple can turn a moldy, abandoned shack into a bright, trend-forward bungalow. Fixing up a historic home can be very rewarding, but what’s hiding in the walls or even in plain sight, can be downright scary.

In homes built prior to 1977, and especially homes built in the mid 20th century, there is a good chance that there are deadly chemicals in those “good bones”.

Health Risks

Older homes were designed to stand the test of time, but some of the materials used become hazardous or even deadly as they break down over the years. Asbestos and lead were present in significant levels in homes built between 1930 and 1950. Code laws and building guidelines have evolved, but there are serious health risks involved with renovating homes that contain these materials.

This danger goes beyond lead paint and asbestos floor tiles. Homes built before 1977 can have asbestos in popcorn ceilings, exterior insulation, HVAC duct-work insulation, plumbing insulation, and even roof shingles. Luckily, when undisturbed and in a solid form, exposure can be prevented. However, a simple project like moving HVAC ducts, replacing insulation, or scraping a popcorn ceiling could create dust which poses immediate danger.

Lead was used to make paint, water pipes, old window blinds, radiators, and it can even be present in the soil around older homes due to leaching. Despite our knowledge of the danger of lead, it’s still out there. There are still school systems and municipalities replacing lead drinking water pipes to this day.  Serious health problems, particularly in babies and children, can be caused by the chipping of lead paint and exposure to the dust on lead pipes.

Despite the risks, there is value and satisfaction in taking something old and making it new again. If you are planning to take on a renovation of an older home, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning 800-461-3010 for an HVAC and electrical inspection.

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.

How to Avoid Water Damage

Repairs and maintenance are a normal part of home ownership. If the thought of leaks, floods, and overflows scare you, you aren’t alone. Water damage can be highly destructive to your home and cost you significantly. Let’s look at the most common culprits of water damage, and what you can do to prevent it.

An Overflowing Toilet

That one phrase makes most people uneasy! Most homeowners have encountered some kind of overflow from their toilet. Depending on how much damage the overflow causes, you could be looking at a cost of up to $5,000 to repair the water damage. So what can you do to prevent an overflowing toilet? Your best bet is routine maintenance! Have a professional regularly check the flush valve, toilet fill and water supply to ensure that everything is running properly.

Washing Machine Problems

Washing machine water damage is commonly caused by an exploding hose. This is an easy way to flood your whole laundry room. Follow this simple tip to prevent your machine hose from exploding and causing a flood: don’t overstuff your washer with clothes. It may be extra work to do two separate loads of laundry, but it will save you a headache and money down the road.

Plumbing System Failure

Water pipes run throughout your entire home – including the walls, floors and ceilings. Depending on how old you pipes are and the condition they are in, they could burst and cause significant damage. An annual inspection by a professional is the best way to prevent pipes from bursting, because a professional will be able to catch any problems before they turn serious.

When dealing with any maintenance or repairs, it’s always safest and best to call a professional. Not only can a professional do the maintenance or repair work, but they also provide peace of mind for you knowing it’s done the right way! Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical to provide routine maintenance on the water appliances and pipes in your home. While we’re out there, we can also check for any money wasting leaks! Our services also include maintaining and/or fixing water heaters, drain pipes, exposed hot and cold water lines and ventilation systems!

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

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.