Prevent Home Burglaries

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It’s not something we like to think about, but with a home burglary happening every 13 seconds in the U.S., it’s a good idea to take simple steps to deter criminals. Here are some good starter tips:

  • Lighting is crucial. Install plenty of lighting all around the outside of your home. This goes beyond just turning on the front porch light every night. It is a good idea to have floodlights with motion sensors on every side of the home. You can also use timers that turn on at dusk and off at dawn. If you don’t have electrical wiring in some areas, hire an electrician or consider battery operated LED lights.
  • Speaking of lighting, keep some lights on if you won’t be home for a long time so that it appears someone is home. A TV or radio isn’t a bad idea either. You can even use a timer to mimic human activity.
  • It is easy to leave windows open for much longer than intended when you just wanted to get some fresh air in during those stuffy winter months. Make sure to always close them and lock them back up.

Some additional tips:

  • Use a heavy-duty deadbolt on your front door.
  • Store your valuables in a heavy safe, or even fasten it to the floor.
  • If you don’t have a safe, at least keep your valuables out of sight.
  • Don’t advertise what valuables you’ve recently purchased with their boxes sitting out by the trash—people can easily spot that big TV box and know what you have inside your 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!

Keeping Your Oven & Stove Clean and Safe 

 

You can almost smell the turkey and stuffing now. Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Before you have everyone cooking up a feast in your kitchen though, think about when you last cleaned your stove and oven and checked things out. This can increase the longevity of your appliances in the long run. If things are looking pretty dirty, you may even want to do these things before the big day.

First, avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch surfaces and oven cleaners with harsh chemicals—especially if you have kids and pets. Instead, loosen the stove gunk with baking soda and water. As for the knobs, you can wash them with water and soap, but don’t use water around the area where they’re attached to the stove. (Water + electrical stuff = bad)

With regard to the oven, unplug before cleaning. You may want to avoid the auto-clean setting if your oven is pretty gross, as this can end up setting off the smoke alarms and making things worse. Remove the racks and coat your oven (not the heating elements) in a paste made of ½ cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10+ hours then wipe it out. You can also spray some vinegar on top of the baking soda at this point, to aid in the de-greasing.

What about the oven racks? Put them in a bathtub and cover them with hot water. Add dishwasher detergent and leave them soaking for 4+ hours. Then use a scrub brush on them.

Take a moment to look at the coil burners and replace any that are damaged in any way or have a spot that is redder, which means it will soon burn out.

If you recently bought a new gas oven, it’s a good idea to get someone to replace the gas line. Changing out the oven can cause leaks in the gas line after all of the movement.

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!

How to Use Smoke Detectors Properly

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With daylight savings time ending soon, it’s that time of year to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and test them. The National Fire Protection Association says 3/5 of home fire deaths are in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Furthermore, do you have enough smoke detectors in your home and are they placed properly? This is crucial regardless of whether you’ve been in your home for years or you’re buying a new home.

First, if your smoke alarms are at least 10 years old, replace them. If you don’t know how old they are, look at the back to see the date of manufacture. If you have combination smoke-carbon monoxide alarms, replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Where do smoke alarms go?

  • Smoke alarms should be inside every bedroom as well as outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • If you have a level without bedrooms, smoke alarms should be put on the ceiling at the bottom of the stars leading to the next level.
  • All smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance so you don’t set off the alarm while cooking!
  • Since smoke rises, smoke alarms should be high on walls or ceilings.
  • If a ceiling is pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak.
  • Don’t put smoke alarms near drafty areas, such as windows, doors, or ducts.

One thing to consider—interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection. When one smoke alarm sounds they all do. Interconnection uses hard wiring or wireless technology, and this is where a good electrician comes in if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Lastly, when testing smoke alarms, immediately replace any smoke alarm that does not respond properly when tested. When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions.

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!

Warm Up with Heated Floors

 

You’re getting out of your warm bed to go to the bathroom and yikes! You step onto a freezing bathroom floor. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case this winter if you install radiant floor heating. Below are a few options for you to consider:

Electric Radiant Heating

Electric radiant heat uses electrical cables, sometimes attached to a mesh padding, installed over your subfloor. Your choice of flooring is then installed on top of the electric cables. That said, you don’t even have to remove your existing floors if you don’t want to. Instead, you may consider installing the cables underneath your subfloor. To do this, you’d need to access your joist bays through a crawl space or basement.

Radiant heating works best with ceramic tile and vinyl. Electric radiant heat is the less labor-intensive option of the two choices and is less expensive to install. However, it can increase your electric bill slightly. By keeping the heated floor in smaller areas such as bathrooms—while using programmable thermostats—you can keep the cost low.

Hydronic Radiant Heating

With a hydronic system, a boiler is used to heat water, which is contained in water tubing that runs throughout the house, to between 100 to 120 degrees. The tubing can be embedded in a concrete slab or over an existing slab. It can also be fitted into specially designed panels. This type of system can be used with any type of flooring, but you may want to use engineered wood instead of hardwood flooring, which can warm with high humidity. A hydronic system has higher installation costs than electric radiant systems, but can cost less monthly with lower thermostat settings and higher efficiency. Experts often recommend this type of heating for larger areas.

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!

Winter Warning: Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

 
Many of us are already turning on the heat—and this is just the beginning of the fall and winter season. When it’s cold outside and your bills start skyrocketing, all you want to do is warm up your house. While it can be tempting to come up with alternative heating solutions, some ideas you may consider can be unsafe.

Though an open flame has obvious safety concerns, carbon monoxide exposure has its own dangers. Persistent carbon monoxide exposure can actually cause memory loss, severe lung injury, brain damage and even death. You can never be too safe when dealing with a substance that can be so dangerous. So how do you keep your house safe?

  • detectorGrills, generators, and any burning devices that run on gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal should not be used inside the house — not even in the garage or basement, or an area that is only partially enclosed.
  • Do not burn anything in a stove or a fireplace that is not vented.
  • A common cause of winter fires — as well as carbon monoxide poisoning — is heating your home with a gas oven. This is very unsafe and should not be done.
  • If you use a space heater, it should be properly vented while in use, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Do not run a car or truck engine inside the garage that is attached to your house. This is unsafe even if you have left the door open.
  • Make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and just outside of any sleeping areas.
  • If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, you’ll want to move quickly outside and call 911.
  • Even if an alarm doesn’t go off, if for some reason you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous, get medical help quickly.

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!

It's Humidifier Season

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Now that we’re deep into fall and winter is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about humidifiers for your home.

Not only can dry air lead to dry skin, lips eyes and sinuses, but it can also make your symptoms worse when you’re sick and create more problems if you have respiratory issues. Dry air is also not good for your wood flooring and furnishings.

Typically, a good humidity level will be between 30 and 50 percent. If it is very cold outside, the level should be about 30 percent. If it’s not as cold, it can be closer to 50 percent. Some humidifiers will measure the levels in a room.

Many homeowners use small humidifiers in several rooms in the house, especially the bedrooms. Usually these can run up to 24 hours or so before needing to be refilled. If you need more moisture for a larger area, you can consider console humidifiers or whole house humidifiers.

Different types include cool mist, warm mist, and ultrasonic humidifiers. Cool mist versions put out a room-temperature mist and are a good choice for the kids’ rooms because there isn’t a risk of them getting hurt from mist that is too hot. Warm mist versions may use a bit more electricity to warm the water, but may also put out cleaner mist because the heating process kills germs. Ultrasonic versions come in both warm mist and cool mist types, and are very quiet.

If you’re using an older humidifier, keep in mind that a moldy, bacteria-filled humidifier will only make things worse. Some are harder to see into than others, and if you haven’t properly maintained yours, it may be a good idea to get a new one. To keep yours clean, use distilled water and clean it every few days by rinsing it out, then rinsing with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Empty it out as soon as it is no longer being used.

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!

Deep Clean Those Carpets

With the holidays approaching, everyone wants clean, beautiful carpets. However, more time inside during the fall and winter often means more accumulation of dirt in your carpets. So what are your options if you want your carpets clean? You can hire a professional, rent a heavy-duty carpet cleaner, or invest in a quality carpet cleaning system for a few hundred dollars, allowing you to clean as often as you like.download

If you decide to purchase your own system, look for one that has separate tanks for the cleaning solution and water. Since you have to refill the water more often, this will make refilling easier. Another feature to look for — especially if hauling it up and down stairs — is portability. It’s also a good idea to look for a cleaner that isn’t too big and heavy. Lastly, if you need to clean stairs, look for attachments that will make that easier.

Before setting out to deep clean your carpet, vacuum. You don’t want all the hair and dog fur clogging up your carpet cleaner. Next, spot treat any stains. There are many ways to go about this. One natural and commonly used method is using vinegar. Mix 2 tablespoons of borax with ½ cup of vinegar for most dark stains. For a spill that just happened, pour baking soda over the area, wait a few minutes, then wipe.

Next, carefully read the carpet cleaner’s instructions and within minutes you’ll be on your way to a cleaner carpet. When you’re finished, let the carpet dry thoroughly before using the room. If you want to speed up the process, a floor fan can help.

When you’re done, not only will your carpets look cleaner, but they will also make your home more hygienic overall and improve the quality of your air, making your home more comfortable for guests — especially allergy and asthma sufferers — this holiday season.

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!

Seal Those Basement Cracks

 

Sealing cracks in your concrete or masonry basement walls may be at the bottom of your home maintenance priority list, especially if you don’t use your basement very often. It’s not something to be ignored though, because fixing these problems can lower your energy bills and help prevent water damage and other serious issues.

But how do you fix them? Follow these simple steps:

1 – First youfoundation’ll want to buy a caulking gun and epoxy-based sealant. (Kits are available that contain all of the items you’ll need.) Clean any gaps with a wire brush and shop vacuum then make sure the area is dry and clear of debris.

2 – Mix the sealant according to the instructions. (Some may come in a pre-mixed tube.)

3 – Some cracks will only need one coat, but others will need more. If that’s the case, make sure the first coat dries before applying the second coat, then smooth the area with a putty knife. Know that epoxies strengthen and bond with the concrete to prevent cracks from expanding.

4 – If you are sealing an expansion joint, install the backer rod. This provides a filler that helps keep the sealant in the joint and also reduces the amount of sealant needed.

5 – Leave the area alone for 24 hours.

6 – Check to make sure the sealants have bonded, and you’re done.

That said, if you have a crack that horizontal or runs along the foundation, this is likely a more serious issue, so don’t try to tackle that on your own — call a professional. If there is moisture, mold, or water damage, this is also an issue that will likely need to be handled 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!

Reduce Holiday Water Bills And Plumbing Strains

With fall upon us, you’re likely already planning for the upcoming holidays, especially if you don’t live near your relatives. Although it can be an enjoyable time of year, it also means lots of planning and preparation if you’re the host. It can also mean a strain on your plumbing system with extra people staying in your home, for days or even weeks. So how can you keep your water bill low and your plumbing in good shape?

  • Have everyone keep his or showers short. Not only will less water be used — which is good for your bill — but everyone will enjoy a hot shower.
  • Consider installing a low-flow showershowerhead head before everyone arrives. This can reduce the amount of water used while showering by up to 50 percent. In addition, you’ll continue saving long after everyone heads back home.
  • Make sure to keep hair out of the shower drains and leftover food out of the kitchen drain. This will help keep your system running smoothly and is especially important if you have a septic system.
  • Don’t wash dishes by hand. You’ll typically use less water by running a full dishwasher—and it’s less work for you! If you want to rinse the dishes first, it’s better to fill the sink partially with water instead of running the tap.
  • Don’t run dishwasher or washing machine until you have full loads. This reduces the number of times you’ll have to run them, thus saving money.

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!

Plan for Easy Breathing in Your Home This Winter

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During the colder months we tend to spend more time indoors with windows closed tight. Although that might keep you warmer, it doesn’t tend to help the air quality inside your home. To protect your air quality, it’s good to understand the impact various issues can have on your indoor environment, especially humidity and indoor pollutants.

In the winter, the humidity level in your home can decrease because the cold outside air doesn’t hold as much moisture. As warmer air escapes the home, colder air from outside replaces it. If the outside temperature is 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit, the recommended relative humidity is 35-40%. If the humidity level drops below 30% you may start to experience nose, throat and eye irritation as well as static electricity. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to place humidifiers throughout the home.

Another concern for your indoor air quality is radon — a radioactive gas produced by uranium decay (Uranium is in soil and rocks.) To prevent radon from entering your home, seal the cracks and openings around the foundation and be sure to properly maintain your HVAC system. If you’re concerned about radon in your home, you can purchase a home test kit from your local hardware store.

While humidity and radon are specific issues that can affect your air quality indoors, remember that pollutants also come from a variety of sources like household chemicals, dust, animal dander, etc. To reduce their impact, make an effort to limit chemical usage since you aren’t opening windows as much and vacuum and dust on a regular basis.

If you suffer from asthma or allergies, air purifiers are a great investment that can make a significant difference in your comfort level indoors. Having your ducts cleaned regularly will also help with allergies and your overall indoor air quality so that you and your guests can enjoy the coming holiday and winter season.

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!