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.

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.

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.