Getting the Most From Your Heating System

 

imagesThis is the time of year when most of us see skyrocketing energy bills and are reminded of our to-do list when it comes to checking and maintaining our heating systems. Here are some of the big items to put on your list:

  • Change the filter at least every three months. Change it every 1 to 2 months if you have pets or people in the house with health issues such as asthma. Filters prevent larger particles from entering the system, which would reduce airflow. In addition, a dirty filter exposed to condensation can become damp, meaning mold could be a concern. Make sure to buy the right filter for your particular system.
  • Check that your air ducts and pipes are properly sealed. Ducts are used to distribute conditioned air through the house. Typically about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system is lost through leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts, which means high energy bills!
  • Remove any dirt or corrosion, and keep the heat exchanger clean. Check manufacturer’s details for what you’ll need. This is best done by a professional if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.
  • Lastly, an easy tip you or a family member can do is to keep air vents clear and keep furniture away from them.
  • Of course, regularly get your unit serviced by a company you can trust, like Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical! Start 2017 off right by calling us.

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!

Get Your Roof Winter Ready

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With a few days left of 50-degree temperatures, now is the time to check your roof’s condition before harsh winter weather hits. Grab a friend or family member and some sturdy shoes and head on up.

  • If you think you have a leak and the temperatures aren’t going to be low enough to freeze, take a hose up with you and spray to find the leak. This may be time-consuming, but don’t be discouraged, it will be worth it.
  • Clean the gutters again. Plenty of leaves have fallen, so even if you’ve done this once, you may want to check it again because you won’t want to be out there in the snow and freezing cold!
  • Check for dry rot. The plywood may deteriorate if a repair is in the middle of the roof, and the roof will sag and the shingles will crack and then leak. You can prevent this with a ridge vent and soffit vent.
  • Look for proper ventilation and consider rain and ice shields, as well as a drip edge to prevent ice buildup.
  • Do not overlook the rubber boots. You may need a new one because if they dry up they will cause major leaks. To install, you may need to remove some of the shingles and put a better layer of tar underneath.
  • Check the shingles and nails — and don’t forget about the valleys which are common places for leaks.
  • Remove any overhanging tree branches in order to dry out roof mold.

 

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!

Using Space Heaters

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If you’re trying to warm up a certain room, a space heater can be a great way to do that. However, the space heater’s effectiveness is dependent on you taking specific precautions while purchasing wisely so you don’t waste electricity (and money).

There are a few different types of heaters that can be used in your home. Electric space heaters are the only unvented space heaters safe for indoor use. They do not pose indoor air quality concerns, but can still be a fire hazard if not used safely. These should be plugged directly into a wall. If an extension cord is absolutely necessary, use a short heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or heavier. Look for a tip-over safety switch that shuts the unit off if it is turned over.

Vented combustion heaters, on the other hand, are made to be put next to an outside wall so the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or wall (unvented combustion units are not recommended for indoor use). Only use the approved fuel and do not overfill the heater or fill when it is still hot. It is a good idea to have a vented space heater inspected by a professional each year to prevent issues that can cause high levels of carbon monoxide to enter your home.

In addition, below are a few more things to consider when buying or using a space heater.

  • Look for newer models that have the up-to-date safety features. They should have the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Only buy what you need. You don’t need a huge heater for a small room. Look for a sizing chart on the box.
  • Heaters should be put on level surfaces where they won’t be in anyone’s way. Always keep pets and children far away.
  • Kerosene heaters are not recommended in your home, and in some communities, may even be illegal to use.
  • Remember to install or check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms!

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!

Common Home Cleaning Mistakes

 

 

Inevitably, when you have company over for the holidays, someone will spill red wine on your carpet or drop food onto the floor or counters. If you want to be prepared, take a look at some of these common cleaning mistakes many people make — and learn what to do instead.

images-5Don’t scrub that spill on the carpet — this can actually make it worse. Instead, scrape up as much as you can with a spoon (if you can). Blot the spot with a clean white paper towel or cloth and blot until dry. In addition, could place a pile of books on top of the towels and change them out frequently. Then treat the spot with a stain remover.

Natural cleaning agents like lemon juice and vinegar can be used on many things — but not everything. These acids can damage natural surfaces such as marble, limestone and onyx.

Not all cleaners are disinfectants. If a product has an EPA registration number it is a disinfectant. (It will say something like EPA Reg No.). Also make sure you leave the cleaner on the treated spot for the recommended amount of time.

Practice caution when using abrasive tools. The heavy-duty cleaning sponges can scratch surfaces such as plastic or ceramic cooktops. The magic erasers may damage surfaces like vinyl flooring.

Be aware of what you type of surface you are spraying directly with cleaning products. For glass, wood, stainless steel and electronics, spray a small amount onto a microfiber cloth then wipe the surface. Use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess liquid.

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!

Thermostat Use & Savings

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It’s about that time of year when many of us see a big increase in our electric bills… all because we’re trying to stay warm. Using your thermostat wisely though, can help you stay comfortable while also saving money.

A simple tip—lower the temperature just by a degree or two. Each drop of one degree for an 8 to 10 hour time period equals a drop of your energy bill of about one percent. Over time you may easily get used to a drop of 3 or 4 degrees.

Skip the fan “on” setting. If you always run the fan motor, this can increase your bill by $20 or more each month. Instead, the “auto” setting only runs the fan when the system is running. The “on” setting can be used once in awhile if you find some spots in your home are cooler than others.

Consider a programmable thermostat. You can adjust the times that the heating is on with a pre-set schedule. You’ll want to consider the household’s daily routines and when people will not be home. You can also manually override it.

Take a look at the location of your thermostat in your home. It should not be close to drafts, direct sunlight, doorways, windows and furniture.

When going on vacation for a long period of time you can lower the temperature but make sure to keep it above about 55 degrees to prevent issues such as pipes freezing if the temperature outside drops 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!

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!

Common Heating Mistakes

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Want to help prevent your heating bills from flying sky high this winter? While weatherstripping your windows and regularly inspecting and tuning your heating system are great ways to make sure the heat in your home is used efficiently, there are more things you can do to help. You may have already thought of some of these ideas while others may come as a surprise to you because you’ve been doing the opposite all of these years! Below is some advice to help you make sure you’re doing all you can to maximize the work your heating system is doing for you.

Curtains aren’t just decoration or a way to keep the sun out of your eyes. In fact, they can actually help keep the cold out, or let the heat in, when a warmer afternoon comes along. Draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10%. During the cold months make sure to close them at night. Hang them as close to windows as you can and let them fall onto a windowsill or floor. Consider hanging several together to create a tighter air space.

Leave all of the vents open. Many people believe that closing vents in one area of the house that isn’t used as much would help send the heat to the more commonly used areas. Well, it doesn’t work that way. All of the vents need to be open for the HVAC system to work properly.

Don’t blast the thermostat to quickly warm up the house. On a day when the temperature changes drastically, turning up the heat very high suddenly will not heat the house up faster and can increase your bill.

Don’t keep the heat low at certain times of day. Some people like to sleep when it is cooler while others like to turn down the thermostat when they go to work because they think it will save money. This can actually backfire because the system then needs to work even harder to adjust back to a higher temperature when you decide you want it to be warmer.

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!

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!