Clean the Fireplace

 

Sitting by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate in your hands… what a delightful vision. To make the vision come true, you should get your fireplace ready first so that it works well and you stay safe.

Start off by removing the ashes from the fireplace with a fireplace shovel if you didn’t at the end of last season. Put them into a bucket. Throughout the winter, make sure that the ashes don’t build up to a depth greater than about 2 inches.

Use a shop vacuum with a filter bag to remove any ashes or other dry debris that are left.

If you want to remove the soot and fire stains from the firebox, spray on soapy water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. When the reside looks like it has softened, scrub the surface with a stiff wire brush.

Use a metal brush to remove rust and debris from the damper. Wear eye protection and gloves. Also, check that the damper mechanism works properly so that the damper can open and close.

Check that your chimney cap is in good shape and that is not clogged with leaves or debris.

If you have animals that get down into the chimney, a wire screen will keep them out.

Check the mortar between the bricks to make sure that it is not cracked or flaking away. Check the flashing where the roof meets the chimney and make sure that there is a watertight seal around the flashing. Patch it up with caulk if needed.

If you’re tired of dealing with all of this, consider a gas fireplace.

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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!

Build Your Own Vertical Garden

 

Indoor Vertical Garden Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical in North CarolinaWhat if there was a way to have a garden for your home without taking up much space—and it also provided other benefits such as helping with cooling? Vertical gardens are a great addition to your home. As water circulates through plants, they release moisture into the surrounding air and it evaporates, creating colder air. Cooler air just outside a wall of your home can lead to less work for your air conditioner.

Head to a big-box store to get one large pallet (or more if you’d like), mounting brackets, staple gun, landscape fabric, soil and plants. You will also need waterproof plastic if it will be mounted on the side of your house. Once home, check the pallets for nails and sand the wood. (Make sure it is not pressure-treated wood.)

Use landscape fabric to cover the back, sides and bottom of the pallet and staple. (About every inch. You want plenty of staples to keep the dirt in.) For added protection to the exterior of your home, line the back of the pallet with waterproof plastic, but leave the bottom open.

Put potting soil in and add the plants in between each slat. Put in as many plants as you can fit. Don’t water the plants yet.

Grab a family member or friend to help you mount the pallet, as it will be heavy! Check that the plants did not move around in the process. Water, and wait to see your very own vertical garden bloom! You may need to add some more soil as it packs down over 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!

Outdoor Project Safety

 

When you’re working on your spring outdoors projects, take precautions. Every year people end up in the hospital for simple mistakes that could have easily been avoided. In fact, most injuries happen on your own property. Here are some simple tips to help you be safe.

  1. When using electrical appliances, stay on dry ground. Keep all of your equipment away from pools, sprinklers, hoses, wet ground, or any standing water. You can also use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help protect against electrocution.
  2. As soon as you hear thunder, that means lighting is not far off, even if it is not storming at the moment! It is best to head inside. Don’t risk your life by trying to stay out for a few more minutes to finish your project.
  3. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition, and are rated for outdoor use. Also check that they are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the item you’re using.
  4. When using lawn tools, protect yourself from debris by wearing close-fitting clothing, eye protection and sturdy shoes. Also, remove objects such as sticks and stones that would be in your way.
  5. Do not fill tanks with gasoline while machinery is on or still hot. Do not smoke around gasoline.
  6. Before climbing trees, look for power lines overhead. This is especially important when using an aluminum ladder, which is an excellent conductor of electricity.
  7. Before installing a fence or planting trees, call 811. This free service will tell you where buried utility lines are located. This is crucial so you don’t knock out lines to your house or your neighbor’s house.
  8. It is spring allergy season! Wear a dust mask if you suffer from allergies. This will help filter out mold spores, pollen and other potential allergens.

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!

 

Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

 

Sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing… it’s that time of year again. Spring allergy season hits allergy-sufferers hard, particularly those who are sensitive to tree pollen. So how can you make your home more allergy-proof?

Blinds and curtains— Dust your blinds, and while you’re at it, consider replacing horizontal blinds, which gather a lot of dust, with washable roller shades. Wash your curtains, and again, consider buying those with easily washable materials if you haven’t already.

Windows— When the weather is nice, you may be tempted to open your windows. This, however, is not such a good idea during pollen season. Keep them closed and rely on your AC. (This should also keep your electric bill lower.) Clean mold and condensation off of windows.

Carpeting— It is best to avoid carpet if you have allergies, but if you have some carpeting, make sure to vacuum once a week with a HEPA filter and shampoo the carpet often as well.

Air filters— Choose a home air filter for your HVAC system that has a HEPA filter. Change it out regularly. Furthermore, get your HVAC unit inspected twice a year. Also, put small air purifiers in your bedrooms and change those filters regularly as well.

Bedding— Wash bedding once a week in hot water. It is also a good idea to put an allergy cover on your mattress.

Pets— You love Fido, of course. If you suffer from allergies, though, it’s best to keep him out of the bedroom. Even if you aren’t allergic to him, he carries in allergens from outdoors. Also, bathe him once every few weeks.

Entryway— Put a doormat out for everyone to wipe their shoes on. Make sure shoes are taken off right away after coming in.

“Green” cleaning supplies— Harsh chemicals are not only potentially harmful to your plumbing, but they can also make allergies worse, so opt for natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda instead.

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!