Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat

People are often looking for more ways to save money.  Even a few extra dollars of savings a month can accumulate and make a difference. Have you looked into all the areas you could be saving more? Maybe you’ve committed to tuning up your AC unit on a regular basis. This is an important aspect of long term energy savings. But have you considered the thermostat you’re using?

There are a few primary benefits to using a programmable thermostat:

Saves time – Instead of constantly adjusting the thermostat for the time of day and the different seasons, consider a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust based on how you preset it! It can become quite a hassle to constantly adjust the temperature during the day, before bed, right when you wake up or when the seasons change.  By setting the temperature up front, you save time and hassle.

Saves money – With energy bills on the rise, a programmable thermostat is even more beneficial because of how much energy it will save, which translates into money saving. There’s the potential to save up to 2% for every degree you lower or increase your setting. You can adjust the settings to turn off the AC when you are gone, then turn on when you get home, so you’ll also be saving money here as well.

Adjusts to zoned heating and cooling areas – It’s already beneficial to have zones of your home that you can heat and cool according to preferences and use of that space. It’s even more beneficial for these zones to be preset, which allows every square foot of your home to be completely customized with temperature settings.

Maintains a consistent temperature – Instead of fluctuating between too hot or too cold, a programmable thermostat allows you to set and maintain the perfect temperature. It also prevents those spots in your home that can be hot or cold spots.

If you haven’t had a chance start routine maintenance for your heating and cooling systems, don’t worry – it’s not too late! The most significant money savings comes from your air conditioning unit. If it is running inefficiently or breaks altogether, the cost to fix it will be significant. Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can come out and check your unit to ensure that it’s running efficiently, and we can continue to provide routine maintenance. We can also install and set your programmable thermostat as well!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

 

Clean Air Ducts

About once a year it is a good idea to clean out your home’s air ducts. (Let’s be honest, most of us have never—or very rarely—done this.) It can help to only keep your home cleaner but also help those who have allergies and asthma and households with pets. It also helps your system last longer, thus saving you money. How do you do it?

Lift up or unscrew the registers and wash them with soap and hot water and let them air dry.

Next, use a dryer vent brush attached to a cordless drill to clean inside the ducts. Then, use your vacuum cleaner hose with the dust brush attachment to get down further down into the duct and vacuum up anything that has been dislodged.

You can also use a damp microfiber cloth to get down into the duct and wipe the interior. You can also use an all-purpose cleaner with the cloth. Make sure to rinse it out often during the process.

Lastly, wipe off the floor and wall around the duct.

You can also consider installing vent register filters. These are helpful if you have furry animals that shed a lot and children who may drop things into the floor registers!

You’ll get to most of the dirt and dust with the steps above. However, if you want to go even further, remove end caps from rectangular duct work, slide the drives off the duct and pull the cap out. You can again use your vacuum hose here. You can also remove the basement registers to get more access to the main trunk line.

This is a good time to remember to change your HVAC’s air filter and get your system inspected.

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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!

 

 

Window Coverings to Warm Up

 

With cooler temperatures around the corner, you might be getting your house prepared to heat up without spending as much as you did last winter on your energy bills. A simple way to make a big difference is by using window coverings strategically. The Department of Energy says that using window coverings can reduce heat loss by more than 70 percent!

If you have awnings, roll them up if possible during the winter to warm up your house. During the summer they can help keep your house cool.

Make sure your curtains and drapes are hung as closely as possible to the windows and fall to the windowsill or floor. Open your curtains and drapes in the winter to let the sun in during the day. At night, seal them at the sides and overlap them in the middle. Most standard curtains can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent, and even more if you use the above tips. During the warm months, do the opposite. Keep them closed.

Look for energy-efficient window treatments like thermal Roman shades. You can also look for curtains that have detachable thermal panels. You can even make your own if you’re good with a sewing machine. Speaking of do-it-yourself, wool curtains are also a great idea because wool is a very insulating material.

Window blinds are better at reducing summer heat gain than helping with winter heat loss because of the openings between slats.

High-reflectivity window films can help block the sun’s heat in the winter. The effectiveness will depend on the size, window orientation and building orientation and climate. For example, east- and west-facing windows will have better heat gain and will benefit more than north or south-facing windows.

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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!

HVAC Spring To-Do

 

Spring is one of those times of the year when you can generally look forward to lower electric bills, as it isn’t too hot or too cold. It is also a great time of year to make sure your HVAC is ready for the summer.

When it is a nice day out, take your hose and wash the exterior condenser unit off to remove dirt and debris from the area. (Turn off the power first and remove leaves and branches from the metal pieces along the exterior.)

Indoors, sweep and dust the area around the indoor unit to help prevent allergens. While inside doing all of that, also check the ducts, condensate drip pan and drain, evaporator coils, and air handler for signs of mold. Small amounts can be cleaned on your own, but hire a professional if you have a big mold problem, as it can cause serious health issues.

Before it gets too hot and sticky, head up to the attic to check that the insulation is near 10 inches thick and provides a good cover in all parts of the attic.

Change your system filter at least once every few months, or every month if you have pets and/or allergies. There are also specific filters that do more than the average filter—look for those geared towards reducing allergies, if that is a concern.

Lastly, have a professional inspect your system twice a year to prevent any major issues popping up suddenly and to ultimately, save you money and time.

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!

Don’t Skip These Home Upkeep Items

 

Your home maintenance checklist could include dozens and dozens of items, and you can easily get overwhelmed thinking about all of these things. You can, however, skip some of the smaller items or delay them. Others you don’t want to skip. So prioritize: What are some of the most important things to get to this spring and summer, if you only have a limited time?

Fix the caulking around your tub or shower. If it is damaged (cracks, peeling edges and discoloration) it can let water seep into hidden places such as behind your tub. Not only can this damage walls or floors, but it can also lead to mold growth.

Dripping faucets mean money right down the drain. Leaks will only get worse with time. It is often a pretty quick fix, like simply replacing a seal. Even if you have to replace the entire faucet, it will last a long time.

Warmer weather means insects! Seal holes where they can get in to your home. Look around the foundation and around wires and pipes. While you’re at it, check for sources of standing water. Keeping water and moisture away from the home keeps bugs away too, since they need it to survive. (Another reason to fix those plumbing issues mentioned above.) Termites in particular cause billions of dollars in property damage each year.

Get your HVAC system inspected and cleaned regularly. Once every 6 months is a good rule of thumb. This is one of the biggest and most expensive parts of your home to repair or replace if it is neglected.

Replace your furnace filters. It’s easy to do once every few months. This is especially important if you have pets and/or allergies and asthma, in which case you should replace it every month.

Seal your windows properly. Exterior caulk often dries out in the summer, which causes gaps and cracks. All of that cool air will leave your home and empty your wallet! All it takes is some caulking and weather stripping.

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!

Home Automation

 

2016-05-16-1463362284-229977-connecthomWith “smart technology” you can have it all these days. Besides your coffee being brewed before you wake up, you can have lights turned on automatically, and doors locked from a swipe on our phone. What are some ways you can make your life easier if this is something you’ve been thinking about?

Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your home a “smart” home. A basic automation system lets you set vacation timers when you’re away, connect lights to morning alarms and set motion detectors outside. All of this can be connected to a smart phone or tablet.

Media centers are another popular choice. With an automated media center you can consolidate your entertainment needs into one location. Some smart devices let you to stream different media in different rooms at the same time.

Your HVAC is also a great aspect of the home to consider making “smart.” A smart thermostat will cost you a few hundred bucks but save you money in the long run. It knows when you leave the house and automatically adjusts the temperature to a predetermined baseline. It also lets you adjust the temperature of your home with a smart phone or tablet — tailored to your schedule if you so desire.

Security is another area in which people are going “smart.” Smart locks connect with your smart phone and automatically lock or unlock depending on your location, while working with your other existing smart-home systems to create a safer 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!

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!

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!

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!

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!