Light Up Your Deck or Patio

 

Whether you’re hoping to throw some cookouts this summer or are concerned about your family’s safety while walking outside in the dark, adding lighting around your deck or patio is a great idea. What are some easy options?

  • Low-voltage landscape lighting is a great addition. It won’t light up a large area, but can work well along with other lighting components. They are great to light up a pathway.
  • String lights are increasingly popular, as they create a pretty ambiance and are inexpensive. When shopping, look specifically for outdoor-rated string lights. LED bulbs will last many years. If you’re looking for that softer glow, though, you may consider incandescent bulbs. If you need them far away from an outlet, look for solar options.
  • If you’re looking to cast a glow on an area, sconces are a good idea.  You can get one that mounts onto the house or a lantern-style fixture, which casts a larger glow.
  • If you have an outdoor grilling or kitchen area, overhead lighting is the most useful, instead of decorative mood lighting that is generally more used for the patio or deck.
  • If your house is old, make sure your outlets are upgraded to have the modern safety features. Outdoor outlets should have a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and a cover that can withstand weather. If you need more outlets in your outdoor area, you may want to contact a professional. It is not recommended to run cords through an open window, as this is not only unsightly but can also be unsafe.

Last but not least, consider using lighting around stairs and other walking areas for safety.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Prepare for Power Outages with Standby Generators

 

imagesLosing your power is never something anyone wants, especially during the winter months. For some homeowners, a lapse in power is a minor annoyance while for others it can be life threatening. For this and a variety of other reasons, a generator may be a wise purchase for your home.

While you may already have a portable gasoline-powered generator (or have thought about getting one), you may want to consider upgrading. A standby generator can energize your home for days. This is especially useful during extended power outages.

A great option for big families, standby generators are especially beneficial for those with young children or elderly relatives who may rely on medical equipment run by electricity. When looking at sizes, remember that the higher the generator’s capacity, the more circuits it can power. Think about what you’ll need to power.

The standby generator is permanently installed in your yard and is connected directly to your home’s electrical panel. It is powered by an external fuel supply, such as liquid propane, natural gas, or diesel. When you lose power, an automatic switch will start the generator. When power comes back on, the switch shuts down the generator and reconnects your home to the grid. The switch prevents back-feeding electricity, which is unsafe and can start fires.

Look for a trustworthy professional to install yours. The person will need to assess your load needs based on what you’ll want to run electricity to and the starting wattage of appliances that rely on motors. The person will also assess all of the logistics. Keep in mind that you will need some space: it will need to be several feet away from home openings and flammable materials.

If you do end up using the generator, get it serviced if it runs for 24 or more hours continually. Check the engine oil daily while it is being used and run it at less than 75 percent of its rated capacity.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Wiring for Your Home Office

 
imagesMore and more people are working from home. You can have the best speed and performance in your home office if you set everything up properly and don’t cut corners.

You’ll likely need high-speed Internet and networking. Structured wiring is a data delivery system that can carry phone, fax, broadband, networking, and video/television technologies. The system has three parts: a panel where outside service enters the home, wires and cables throughout the house, and connecting hardware. You can get a prepackaged system, but that means you may have wasted outlets or no outlet where you need one. It is a good idea to develop a home-office plan before you wire. Figure out where the computer, printer, phones, and media will be set up and where conference calls will happen.

The system is installed the same way regardless of whether you have a new construction or are remodeling. The preferred method is the “star” layout, where each outlet extends individually to the service panel. This will allow for flexibility and help to figure out any problems. There are options for older homes so you don’t have to open up walls. Wires can be fished through walls.

If you’re not comfortable doing such a big project on your own, hire a professional. Not only do you want it to be installed correctly but you also want to make sure you have create necessary flexibility to accommodate future expansion. Costs vary, but the system typically ranges from about 1 to 3 percent of a home’s value.

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!

Updating Your Kitchen for High-End Appliances

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Professional-style kitchen appliances are becoming increasingly available and popular in everyday homes. If you’re considering upgrading your kitchen by installing these types of appliances, there are some things to consider and tips to make sure it’s all done safely.

First, think about your kitchen size. Many kitchens will simply be too small for these items. You will need about three feet of space for the refrigerator, three feet of freezer space and four to five feet for a commercial-style range. Also, some of the ranges are very heavy and require a special base. Many manufacturers do offer smaller models, so check their specifications.

Consider the burners and ventilation hoods. Many high-end ranges and cooktops have burners that can exceed 20,000 BTUs and require hoods that can handle up to 1,200 CFM. This is almost 10 times the typical amount. To ensure proper ventilation, add up the total BTUs of the range burners, divide by 100, and then you’ll get the number of CFMs needed. For example, a range with a total output of 70,000 BTUs should be equipped with a hood capable of moving 700 CFMs. This will help prevent issues with heat, grease, smoke and moisture.

Houses with high-power hoods may need to install an air makeup unit to replace the air that the ventilation is removing from the home. This is because the removal of too much air can be dangerous with the use of
chimneys and furnaces.

Lastly, any customizations involving electric extensions or plumbing work is best handled by a professional if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.

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!