Spring Home Maintenance

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

General spring home maintenance

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

Appliances

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

Kitchen and bathrooms

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

Outdoors

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

Need professional help? Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Spring Plumbing Checklist

Spring is on its way and for homeowners it’s often an opportunity for home improvement projects, cleaning and updating.  Longer days and warmer temperatures may motivate you to get started on major projects. Before diving in, complete our spring plumbing checklist. The last thing you want to overlook is a costly broken pipe or leak that puts all those dream projects on hold.

Check for cracks and leaks

Before taking on a makeover, start by inspecting your plumbing for cracks, leaks or other damage that might have occurred during winter. Doing high-level evaluation helps, but you want to make sure everything is working properly.

Bathroom Tasks

In the bathroom be sure to clean your shower head. Since the shower gets used every day grime and soap scum build up and tend to slow water flow. For the easiest way to clean your shower head, attach to the shower head a bag filled with vinegar and baking soda and secure it with a rubber band. Remove the bag after an hour and let the shower run until the vinegar smell is gone.

While you are in the bathrooms don’t forget to check your toilets for leaks. To do this, put food coloring in the toilet’s water tank. After 20-30 minutes check to see if the water in the bowl is colored. If it is you have a leak that needs to be addressed.

Water Heater

Water heater checks are also important so you can stay ahead of leaks and corrosion. Your water heater is usually set at 120 degrees, but if you turned it up in winter you’ll want to check it when you turn it back down. If you notice moisture, rust or corrosion around the control panel you’ll want to call a plumber for a second opinion. Also remember that the lifespan of most water heaters is only 10 years. If yours is older continue to inspect it on a regular basis. Sediment will likely build up in your water heater over time. This can affect efficiency of the unit which will use more energy to heat water. Inevitably this will cost you more money every month.

Outside

Head outdoors for the next part of our plumbing checklist. Outside there are plenty of opportunities for clean up and improvement as spring approaches.  You can start with cleaning your gutters. During winter debris such as pine needles, twigs, leaves and other debris gather in your gutters, This. can cause drainage issues and leaks inside your home if they aren’t cleaned out.

If you are working in your garden or lawn check for leaks in outdoor spigots and sprinklers. Cold temperatures can cause outside water sources and pipes to freeze and crack causing leaks when you turn on your outside water for spring. If you find any leaks fix them right away so they don’t become worse.  Likewise check for leaks under your sinks and with any supply hoses. Freezing temperatures can also make your indoor water fixtures susceptible to leaks. Be sure to check the parts to your washing machine and dishwasher and look for water, corrosion, mold and rust.

Need the help of a professional?  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Choosing your toilet is a matter of comfort and cost

It’s an often overlooked centerpiece of your bathroom, but when it comes to choosing a toilet, you have many considerations to make. From an efficiency standpoint, 1.6 gallons per flush is the standard in the United States – higher and lower-end models will most likely use the same amount of water.  So what differentiates one stool from the next? When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of style and conveniences.

Gravity toilets vs. power-assist toilets

One decision you make when choosing a commode is whether to pick a gravity or a power-assist model. A gravity toilet, standard in many homes, allows only gravity to move waste to a sewer system. After flushing water from the tank fills the toilet and sends waste through the tubes for disposal. With a power-assist model, additional forced air helps do the job. What’s the difference? A compressor or pressure tank helps with power-assist toilets, instead of only relying on gravity. In this case water flows into a tank of compressed air which pressures the water to move when someone flushes.

Comfort and cost

As with many homeowner decisions, choosing a toilet model comes down to comfort and cost. And the more comfortable a toilet is, the higher its price tag. For instance, a higher-end model could include a bidet. It works by washing you with warm water. Some luxury models also include a heated seat or embedded antimicrobial properties.

Some luxe models also include:

  • Auto raise and lowering toilet seat covers
  • Music
  • Auto flush (powered by a sensor)

A slightly less expensive toilet might flush when you put the lid down or give you the option to use varied water amounts, using less for strictly liquids. Another option that is appealing to people who want easier cleaning, is to purchase a wall-mounted toilet.

When considering the purchase of a high-end commode, keep in mind that while custom seats and unusual flush mechanisms add a cool factor, replacing parts will cost you additional time and money.

A higher sitting stool can be more comfortable for taller and older people. American With Disabilities Act have heights of 17 – 19 inches instead of the standard 15 inches. Of course this will take some maneuvering if you have young children in the house.

Cost-savings

For cost-savings, there are many options such as a three-sided tank for smaller bathrooms. When faced with a small amount of floor space, homeowners can choose a toilet that can be cemented to a wall and house the tank within that wall. Toilets built in two pieces are some of the least expensive models, because it takes more work to mold everything together instead of assembling various parts separately. Color will also make a difference in the cost of your commode. Choosing a white toilet could cost as much as $150 less than a gray one.

Keep in mind that designer toilets are usually not friendly in a re-sale. Cushioned seats, colors and other luxury features are typically based on an individual’s taste and often in disagreement with someone else’s ideas of the perfect stool.

For all your plumbing needs, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Plumbing pipes are not invincible

Plumbing pipes are not invincible, although many homeowners do not often think about their age and condition. Pipes have a limited lifespan and depending on when your home was built, it may be time for an upgrade. Modern plumbing systems use copper, brass or PVC pipes. These materials have different lifespans and none are meant to last forever.

Eras of Pipe Materials

For instance, if your home was built before 1970, then it likely was part of the Galvanized Steel Age of piping. A house that was built even before then may put it in the Cast Iron Age ,which is usually pre-World War II. Materials such as iron and steel are durable, but they’re also no longer used for plumbing systems. Both materials have limitations, such as susceptibility to corrosion. Internal corrosion is what can lead to toxins like lead getting into the water supply and any corrosion also weakens pipes making them more likely for them to break.

In homes with 50+ year-old piping you may already have hidden leaks developing. With pipes at this age you may want to have leak detection done to point out any issues with the condition of your plumbing.

In the 1970s copper became the most common type of metal for plumbing. It was attractive because of its lower cost, lightweight and corrosion resistance. If your copper pipes are extremely old you may need partial repiping, but probably not whole-house repiping.

Pipes like those that were used in homes built  in the later 1970s and 1980s are made with one of the most popular types of plastic pipes, polybutylene – easily recognized by its gray color. Polybutylene was primarily the material of choice in the 1980s until it was discovered how easily it becomes brittle and breaks. Any polybutylene pipes in your house should be replaced with other types of plastic.

Other ways to determine if your pipes might need an upgrade are these signs of aging:

Water color

Discolored water coming out of the tap could be a sign that the water pipes are corroded and need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Unpleasant odors

Odors coming from plumbing fixtures could indicate a blockage in the sewer. Over time gases could build up over time and lead to sewer leaks that can affect your whole property.

Water stains

Staining that appears on walls and underneath plumbing pipes can indicate leaks.

Low water pressure

If your faucets are running lower than usual you could have a blockage in your plumbing system. A gradual loss of pressure doesn’t necessarily indicate an urgent problem. A sudden loss could mean there’s a broken or blocked pipe in your system.

Damage

Look for flaking, dents, discoloration and dimpling in your tubing. If there is damage or changes in the physical characteristics of plumbing pipes and tubing this can signal the need for replacement.

Leaks

Obvious leaks and drips coming from your pipes are the most reliable signs that a plumbing problem requires replacement at some level.

Lead

Buildings constructed before 1978 are at a major risk of containing lead. If this is the case, there is a chance that these fixtures could contaminate drinking water.

If you aren’t sure about the condition of your home’s pipes, have a plumbing specialist analyze the plumbing system and check for leaks. Once a professional has evaluated your system they can give you an honest answer about what services you may need. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Find out why your toilet keeps clogging

Get to the bottom of what is causing your toilet to clog once and for all. There are a few reasons your toilet keeps clogging. The following reasons could help you put down the plunger for good! Plunging is only a temporary fix so it’s important to find the root cause of the clogs.

Here are some common scenarios that might explain your returning toilet clogs.

Old toilet

If your toilet is older, it may not be able to handle a lot of flushes. By upgrading your toilet, you can ensure it is working properly and is updated to current standards. Newer toilets are designed to flush with a significant reduction in water usage while still clearing the toilet bowl completely.

Valve issues

Check the fill valve to ensure it is working properly. The fill valve is a mechanism inside the toilet tank that ensures there is enough water to flush. When the tank doesn’t fill with enough water, clogs become more common.

Flapper not opening completely

The flapper is the part of your toilet that lets water flow from the tank on the back down into the toilet bowl, creating the flush. If the flapper doesn’t fully open it won’t release enough water and you’ll get a weak flush. Clogs are common in toilets with a weak flush.

To fix it adjust the chain in the tank that connects the flapper to the flush handle. That way, the flapper opens completely when you flush.

Pipe blockages

Sometimes you can have a block in the pipes beyond the toilet. These blockages are most likely caused by flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed like a toothbrush or razor that fell into the toilet. These items will slowly be collecting debris and ultimately cause a clog.

Other common things people flush – sometimes accidentally – that cause clogs include:

  • Feminine products
  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton swabs/Q-tips
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers

Sewage line issues

A major sewer line problem somewhere in your neighborhood could be the reason why your toilet keeps clogging. Broken pipes, tree roots growing into the sewer line, or corroded metal pipes are all common causes of sewer line issues. There isn’t much homeowners can do to prevent these types of damage. However, regular sewer line maintenance and inspections can help uncover small issues before they become big, expensive problems.

Plumbing vent issues

If your plumbing vent is blocked or damaged you can get a clog. The plumbing vent removes gas from the plumbing system and helps the pipes maintain proper pressure. If your plumbing vent was damaged or is being blocked, this could cause the toilet to flush with little force.

Something stuck in the trap

The “trap” is an S-shaped tube that separates your toilet from the drain line (and keeps nasty sewer gases from getting into your home). If something unflushable was flushed down the toilet, it could be stuck in this trap. Each time you flush, more debris gets wrapped around this object, eventually leading to a clog.

man plunges toilet and grimaces

A plunger can solve the problem by sending all the debris down the sewer drain, but the object stays in the trap because its shape makes it difficult to get through the S-curve.

To fix this, you must take the toilet off the floor and get to it from the bottom. This is a pain, so make sure you’ve eliminated other possible causes. Many people would rather call a plumber because mistakes can lead to bigger problems and higher costs.

If you decide to pursue this task on your own, make sure you replace the wax ring on the bottom of your toilet if you remove the toilet from the floor. This is the seal that keeps wastewater from leaking into your home.

If all else fails …

You’ll probably have to pull up the toilet. This job will take several hours. The steps involve turning off and unhooking the water supply, partially disassembling the toilet, and unscrewing it from its mounting ring. At that point, you can usually get at the problem. Be sure to buy a new wax ring and new mounting bolts to reseal the toilet base.

Remember, if other drains in your home are plugged, or if water comes up through them, the problem is probably farther down in the main drain pipes and usually out of easy reach.

If your toilet keeps clogging and the DIY fixes aren’t working, then contact the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010!

Do bath bombs cause drain clogs?

Tossing a fizzy, colorful bath bomb into your tub can transform your bathroom into a stress-relieving spa. It’s a great way to unwind after a long, hard day. But, be cautious, because bath bombs cause drain clogs.

Knowing the danger of using bath bombs and what you can do to prevent problems can help you take care of your bathtub drains.pink bath bomb in tub can cause drain clog

So just how do bath bombs cause drain clogs?

The answer lies in the ingredients, which can vary greatly.

Bath bombs typically consist of salts, scent and oils designed to create a fragrant, relaxing and colorful bathing experience. They may include:

  • Epsom salt and baking soda, that typically dissolve in water.
  • Other common additives—including essential oils, cornstarch, cocoa butter, bits of flowers, and even glitter, which do not dissolve well. These additives leave behind residue that may stick to the inside of your pipes. Oils often solidify as they cool, and cornstarch can harden in pipe elbows or curves as it dries.
  • Over time, bath bomb remains may collect soap, hair, and other substances, eventually leading to nasty clogs.

Can you have your bath bombs and clean pipes, too?

You may be happy to hear that you can have your bath scents and keep your pipes running in the right direction!

1. Use barriers to prevent ingredients from going down the drain.

  • Ideally, your tub stopper should include a strainer to keep out large objects.
  • For more protection, place the bath bomb in a nylon sock and tie it shut before putting in the water. The nylon will allow the good stuff to disperse in the water, while keeping most of the clog starters contained.

2.  If you have your heart set on floating petals and glitter confetti, use sparingly and be prepared for a little extra work.

  • Before draining the water, use a fine mesh net to catch solid material.
  • If possible, temporarily remove the stopper and add an extra layer to the strainer by covering it with nylon material or mesh screen. You may need to weigh the strainer down as the water drains.

3.  Immediately after using bath bombs, flush your drain thoroughly with very hot water, or use a vinegar and baking soda mix to help break up residue before it can settle.

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda in the drain.
  • Add 1-2 cups white vinegar.
  • Cover the drain and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Flush with hot water.

Never mix bath bombs and hot tubs

In the case of a hot tub, bath bombs can do more than just a little damage. Bath bombs can destroy the functionality of your hot tub in just a few uses. Small pieces found inside bath bombs can destroy the jets and cause devastating clogs. Before adding any substances that are not specifically designed for hot tub use, check the hot tub manufacturer’s recommendations. You may void your warranty if you don’t follow their guidelines.

Get professional help if your drains are slow

If you’ve been using bath bombs regularly and you’ve noticed that your tub is draining much slower than usual, you probably already have a clog. Although you might get lucky with a home remedy, your best bet is to call a professional to clear your drain.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical for expert assistance – 1.800.461.3010.

Best Water Heater Temperature

Whether you’re taking a shower or doing dishes, being stuck on the wrong water temperature is no fun. If you’re frustrated that you can’t seem to get the shower as warm enough, or because it feels like the water is at a painfully scalding temperature, you can do something about it. Achieve the best water heater temperature safely and correctly—whether you have a gas water heater or an electric model. You don’t have to settle for a water heater that runs too hot or too cold.

When setting the temperature – know the risks.

Yes, something as simple as a water heater can be dangerous! There are risks in both the process of adjusting the water heater and the problem of water temperature that isn’t right. Any time you are dealing with electricity and water there is risk. To protect yourself, be sure to follow any instructions for adjusting the temperature carefully and call on  professionals if you aren’t sure what to do.

As for the water heater setting, it’s important to have the correct setting to avoid the following risks:

  • Bacterial contamination – If the water isn’t hot enough, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Burns to the skin – If the water is too hot, it can result in scalding injuries to which children and the elderly are especially susceptible. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes less than two seconds to suffer third-degree burns. Anyone can be burned, but infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are more likely to experience burns, and require serious care and recovery.

What is the right temperature setting for your water heater?Hot water and shower faucet

The recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to set the temperature of your residential water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria are unlikely to survive at that temperature, and it is not hot enough to cause scalding. Also, at 120 degrees, your water heater will be able to supply enough hot water for your family while promoting energy efficiency.

However, depending on your home’s needs, you may require hotter water. Check with a plumbing professional for a recommendation if you aren’t sure.

Steps for how to set water heater temperature

1.  Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker panel.

2.  Find the dial or thermostat for your water heater. The location will vary depending on the model and type of  water heater you are using.  In most cases, you will find the dial behind an insulated panel. For an electric model, there are often two—one at the top of the tank and another at the bottom.

If you are trying to determine how to set a gas water heater temperature, you should find the dial near the bottom of the tank. The temperature for gas water heaters is easier to adjust because you only turn the knob counterclockwise to increase the temperature, or clockwise to decrease it.

For an electric model, you will need to access the dial behind the insulated panel. To do this, open the access panel using a flat-head screwdriver. Then, push aside the insulation covering and use the screwdriver to lower or raise the temperature to the desired range.

3.  If the water heater has two thermostats, make sure both are set to the same temperature.

4.  Replace the insulation and access panel once you are satisfied with the water temperature adjustment and restore power to the water heater.

5.  Always test the water temperature after adjusting the dial to ensure it is at a safe and appropriate temperature. Allow the water to heat to the new temperature setting, then run water from the tap at a sink or tub until it is hot. Catch some water in a cup and test the temperature with a cooking thermometer.

Next Steps

Keep in mind it may take as long as an hour for the water to reach the new temperature after having the unit shut down.  Again, working with water and electricity can be dangerous, so it’s a good idea to call an expert.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010. for assistance.

Garbage Disposals – a Do and Don’t List

Garbage disposals are a convenient way to manage food waste in your kitchen. With proper maintenance you can avoid clogged drains and stinky, costly repairs. Treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well! Below we share some tips on how to keep your disposal working smoothly for many years and minimize the likelihood that you’ll need to call for plumbing or drain cleaning services.

Proper maintenance and operation will extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent plumbing and drain mishaps.

DO Follow these Tips . . .

  • Keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little dish soap inside and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with cold water after washing dishes.
  • Run your garbage disposal regularly. Frequent use prevents rust and corrosion, assures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating.
  • Grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Using cold water will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Grind certain hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells and small fruit pits. A scouring action is created by these materials that cleans the unit.
  • Cut large items into smaller pieces. Add them into the garbage disposal one at a time instead of trying to push through a large amount at once.

DON’T Dare . . .

Water runs smoothly through a clean garbage disposal

Only put biodegradable food in garbage disposals. These appliances are not trash cans! Non-food items can damage both blades and the motor.

When in doubt, throw it out!

  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. Then, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds to flush out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal such as pasta and rice. They expand when you add water in a pot and do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal.
  • Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the unit and they’ll help eliminate odors, but they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Opt for a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer.

Ice is an extremely effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build-up which has accumulated. A few ice cubes tossed in the garbage disposal which it’s running will chop the ice and scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit. Try this once or twice a month to keep your garbage disposal in good working order.

Keep Smells at Bay

Here are some natural methods to clean your garbage disposal that are good for the environment and are very inexpensive.

  • Take a lemon or orange and toss it into the disposal. The oils and juice from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the garbage disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting scent.
  • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and run those down the disposal. This will keep your blades sharp while safely killing odor-causing bacteria.
  • For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water and disposal.
  • For really stubborn odors, use a safe, natural cleaning product like Borax. Just pour 3-4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then turn on the hot water and flush the cleanser away.

Troubleshooting

Most garbage disposals that appear not to be working just need to be reset. There is usually a red or black reset button on the garbage disposal motor underneath your sink. Just push to reset. If the garbage disposal is plugged into a wall outlet, ensure the outlet has power. If that doesn’t work, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.

If the reset doesn’t work, then we are here to help!  Contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing at 1.800.461.3010 to schedule a visit with a plumbing expert.

 

Prepare Your Home for Snow and Ice: Winter Safety Tips

Falling snow is a beautiful part of winter, but it can also pose potential dangers for homeowners. It’s important to prepare your home for snow and ice so you can stay safe and prevent extra work down the road. To ensure no problems show up and to keep your family safe, these projects should be done throughout the coldest months.

Prevent Water Damage

  • Ventilate the attic and insulate the attic floor to stop warm air in the house from melting snow and ice on the roof.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves.
  • Caulk cracks and holes in the home’s outer walls and foundation. Holes left by cable installation can also leave pipes exposed.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so warm air can circulate around pipes.
  • Trickle water from any faucet connected to pipes that run through unprotected spaces.
  • Locate the home’s main water valve, usually found in the basement or outside near the curb. Turn water off quickly if a pipe does burst.
  • If you are traveling and leave the house unoccupied for an extended period, shut off the water and have a professional drain the system. Turn the heat down, but don’t turn it off.

Buy a carbon-monoxide detector.It is important to have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home

  • Install carbon-monoxide detectors on all floors of your home to prevent one of the biggest winter dangers, carbon-monoxide poisoning. This can happen when ventilation of furnaces, generators, charcoal-burning or propane-burning devices, or wood-burning stoves are not properly ventilated.

Buy a generator

  • Use a generator to keep your heat and power running. This includes your sump pump, and your fire and burglar alarms.
  • Consider installing an automatic standby generator, which immediately turns on after a power outage. You may qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.

Prepare for a Flood

  • When snow and ice begin to melt, be aware of flooding for localized trouble spots around your house. Water can buildup can seep into your foundation and flood the basement.
  • If you have a sump pump, check to ensure it’s working properly in advance.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

  • Clean exhaust fans and filters in the bathrooms and kitchens because we spend more time indoors.
  • Dust and airborne particles can cause indoor air quality issues in the absence of adequate ventilation. They can even become a fire hazard.
  • Monitor other filters in your home, including cleaning out the dryer’s filter and replacing the furnace filter.

Prepare Your Pipes for the Cold

  • Prevent water issues by insulating water pipes exposed to freezing temperatures. Pipes that border an exterior wall have the greatest freezing potential, so they should be insulated with a towel or other piece of cloth.
  • In extreme cold weather, open water lines slightly to allow water to drip slowly into an indoor sink.

Prevent Icy Gutters

  • Clean gutters before the snow falls to help prevent water and ice buildup that could eventually find its way into your home.
  • After the colder weather arrives, look for clogged gutters by checking for large icicles hanging from them and/or an accumulation of ice on the roof.

Eliminate Outdoor Electrical Problems

  • Prevent electrical problems by inspecting the outside of your home. Specifically, look for damaged or frayed wires vulnerable to harm from snow and ice.
  • Check for any bird nests near electrical fixtures. Nests can cause a fire.
  • Make sure any electronic decorations have tight-fitting connections: three-pronged outlets are optimal. These cords should be stored away from main walkways, and never beneath a carpet or rug, as this creates a fire hazard.

For professional help with your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 1.800.461.3010. This winter, we can help you prepare your home for snow and ice!

Protect Outdoor Faucets During Winter

Winterizing your outdoor faucet, also known as a hose bib or water spigot, is a simple, but important project. Done correctly, you can save your pipes from freezing and prevent the costly consequences that come with frozen pipes. A frozen outdoor faucet can cause serious water damage to your home and property. Luckily, it is easy to protect outdoor faucets during winter, if you follow these tips.

Why Do I Need to Protect my Outdoor Faucets?

Water expands as it freezes, so if water is inside your pipes when the temperature drops below freezing, the ice can grow too large and burst the pipe. The problem may not be immediately obvious, especially if the leak is inside the wall. A good indicator that there’s an issue is if there’s water spraying outside.

If you see water around the spigot or inside your house, call your plumber immediately! Extensive damage can result if you wait too long to fix.

Thankfully, avoiding a frozen outdoor faucet is easy and not expensive to do yourself. A few minutes now can save you time, money and inconvenience.

Avoid a Frozen Faucet During Winter with 4 Easy Steps:

1. Disconnect your hoses before winter

This step is important because a connected hose holds water even when the faucet is turned off. When the temperature drops, any water inside the hose freezes inside of the hose and pipe and can burst. We often see instances where the break happens in winter but people don’t notice until spring when they turn on the outdoor faucet. Depending on where the break is, you can get water spraying inside or outside your home when you turn the water on.Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing

2. Use an outdoor faucet cover

Disconnecting the hose is important, but doesn’t completely solve the problem – you also need a faucet cover. Covers are easy to install and will help protect your outdoor faucets during winter. Luckily, most hardware stores carry inexpensive covers that keep faucets protected from the winter elements. After you purchase and install, based on the manufacturer’s instructions, be sure to secure it tightly in place. This little step can save you a lot of frustration and potential water damage.

3. Install a frost-free faucet

If you have already experienced problems or are looking for a more permanent solution, you can talk to your plumber about replacing your faucet with a frost-free spigot. This is an outdoor faucet designed to operate in freezing temperatures. You will still disconnect the hose in the winter. The faucet can break if the hose is left connected because the water stays trapped in the faucet head and pipe. You won’t notice there’s a problem until spring when you turn on the faucet.

4. If you leave town, shut off the water

If you’re leaving town for a few days or more, turn the water off at the main shutoff. That way, if frozen pipes do crack, you’ll have far less damage. Don’t forget to shut off your automatic ice maker, so it doesn’t continue to make ice. Even if the ice bin is full, the ice will evaporate and the ice maker will try to make more.

A few preventative steps today to ensure your pipes are safe this winter can save you time, money and effort in the future. Call a trusted plumber at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electric (800.461.3010) right away if you suspect that your faucet is broken or you need help winterizing it. We will help you decide what works best for you, your family and your home.