Energy-Efficient Investments for your North Carolina Home

3 Tips for Making your NC Home More Energy Efficient

As temperatures rise to meet the steadily-approaching summer weather, now is the time to begin planning for the change in season. Rather than preparing your funding for rising bill payments, instead prepare your home to operate more efficient in the North Carolina weather. Here are three important considerations for making your home ready for the heat of the summer.

Update Your HVAC

If your HVAC system is beginning to show signs of deficiency, you are likely paying higher energy bills because your system needs to work harder to compensate for its deterioration. Investing in a new HVAC system can help you save money on your electric bill year-round.

If your HVAC system is dated, you might want to consider switching to a system that is more energy efficient to help you save money in the long run. Energy efficient systems come with lower utility bills helping you pay back your investment in no time. When shopping for an energy efficient system, you want to look for the SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating indicates the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner and heat pump systems; the higher the SEER number the greater the efficiency and savings are! The Carrier brand offers several systems that are incredibly energy efficient and can help save you money. Partnered with Newcomb and Company’s 3-year warranty on all Carrier systems, Carrier is the perfect option if you are looking to upgrade your HVAC system to a more efficient alternative.

If you hope to save money through your HVAC system without buying a replacement, consider engaging routine seasonal maintenance. This involves inspecting your AC coils and air filters for excess dirt or wear and attending to them accordingly. By keeping your HVAC system in prime condition, you can help keep it running at its best and saving you as much money as possible.

Seal Your Crawl Space

If your home doesn’t seem to retain the heat or air conditioning well, vulnerabilities in your home’s crawl space may be the culprit. These spaces often serve as the barrier between your active living spaces and the outside temperatures. When they are not properly protected from external temperatures, these crawl spaces can affect your home’s air distribution by exchanging your indoor air with that of the outdoors. Sealing your crawl space can also come with added benefits of improvement in your home’s air quality and a reduced rate of inflation rate for your home. Getting your crawl space sealed can help you keep the cool air inside of your living areas this summer, which is sure to reflect in your electric bill and in the comfort of your home.

Protect Your Home

Similar to unprotected crawl spaces, it is possible to have small internal exposures throughout your home that leave you defenseless against the heat of the summer. Air conditioning can escape through openings in your window panes, ineffective insulation, door frames, attic spaces, and more. Leaky recessed lights or other electrical issues could also be creating efficiency issues in your home. While it can be difficult to determine exactly what the central cause of your home’s energy inefficiency is, a professional can complete an evaluation to assess the efficiency of your home to give you an idea of the areas of weakness. Sealing each of these points of vulnerability will work to increase your home’s energy efficiency by keeping your air conditioning indoors this summer.

Things To Remember

With these improvements to your home, you can lower your bill payments while also reducing your carbon footprint. For a better idea of how energy-efficient your home is, get your free energy audit from Newcomb and Company. As an ENERGY STAR® approved business, our experts are well versed on the ins and outs of energy conservation. Speak with our professionals to begin your journey towards a more efficient home today.

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How to Replace a Bathroom Fan

A bathroom fan is a crucial component of your restroom, especially if you’ve got a shower or bath. Your fan gets rid of the excess moisture produced when the hot water is running. That moisture can cause some serious damage to your paint and enable the growth of mold and mildew. It’s also pretty tough to put on makeup or use a hair dryer when you’re sweaty from the humidity!

International building code requires some kind of ventilation in a bathroom. While you can technically get away with just a window, a bathroom fan is a much more convenient and effective option. If you’re wondering how to replace a bathroom fan, you’re in luck. Replacing a fan is much easier than installing one, because you don’t have to worry about ductwork and venting. Here’s how it’s done.

How to Replace a Bathroom Fan

Safety is always a concern, especially when you’re working with electricity in the bathroom. Before you replace a bathroom fan, turn off the power to that part of the house. There are several types of exhaust fans for bathrooms. The kind you choose will depend on the placement of the fan. If you are installing a fan with a light, you may have to take a few additional steps. Always follow manufacturer’s directions when installing a bathroom fan.

Tools

Safety Goggles

Screwdriver

Oscillating Saw

Drywall Saw

Drywall Screws

Instructions

  1. Put on your safety goggles; lots of debris can fall from the ceiling!
  2. Remove the current bathroom fan by taking off the grill cover and disconnecting the motor from the housing. You may need to use a screwdriver to remove it.
  3. Take out the housing. You may be able to gain access through your attic. If not, use an oscillating saw to cut through any brackets. Watch out for wiring!
  4. Disconnect any wiring and ductwork connections so you can fully remove the old bathroom fan.
  5. Measure the dimensions of your new fan. Ideally, you can replace your bathroom fan with a new one that’s the same size, so you don’t have to enlarge the opening. If the new fan is larger, carefully cut away the drywall with a drywall saw to accommodate the larger size.
  6. Use drywall screws to mount the housing to your ceiling joists. This is easiest to do if you have attic access.
  7. Wire the fan according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Attach the duct to the exhaust port on the fan. Depending on the manufacturer and local code regulations, you may need to allow for a gap between the fan and insulation.
  9. Attach the face plate to the fan in the bathroom. Turn power back on to make sure you’ve followed the steps properly

Call for Help

If you aren’t sure about taking on a project that involves cutting into your ceiling and working with electricity, don’t just forge ahead. The cost to repair a botched DIY project is significantly higher than it would have been to hire a professional, who already knows how to replace a bathroom fan. Electricity is no joke, and little mistakes can have deadly consequences.

At Newcomb and Company, we know how to replace a bathroom fan. We’ve got all of your HVAC and plumbing needs covered, from the biggest overhauls to the smallest projects. If you’re replacing a bathroom fan, give us a call and put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

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Do I need an HVAC warranty?

4 Reasons Why You Need an HVAC Warranty

Purchasing a new HVAC system is a significant investment, one that you want to ensure is protected. When it comes to finding an HVAC system that includes a warranty or purchasing a warranty on your own, it may be a gamble to decide whether or not this extra effort or money is worth the outcome. While you may think that your new system is secure enough to forgo a warranty, there are several important considerations that should factor into your warranty decisions.

Lasting as Long as Your Home

When it comes to the importance of an HVAC warranty, it is important to consider how long you will be dependant upon your new system. It is likely that you want this system to be the only HVAC you purchase for this property, and a warranty can ensure that it lasts as long in your home as you do. If you plan to live in your home for three or more years, you will want to make sure that you are covered during the entire duration of your time with this new system.

HVAC Property Devaluation

Beyond just the initial period of time that you will need your HVAC system working in top condition, it is important to think past the limitations of your estimated stay. If your HVAC system is failing as you prepare to move, this is something that you will have to pay to repair when selling your home or face the devaluation it will impose on your property. With a warranty, you can ensure that your HVAC system doesn’t dissuade potential home buyers.

New System Issues

Even the newest of HVAC systems can become temperamental due to external factors such as the climate you live in, the users with access, or the patterns of use you engage. It is important that you are prepared for anything when it comes to your HVAC investment. Additionally, if you don’t properly care for your system, it can experience issues sooner than you may think. Look for distributors that offer a free warranty for the early years of your purchase to avoid quickly incurring the costs of improper HVAC care.

Beyond the care you provide your system, it can still experience issues due to uncontrollable circumstances. For example, rodents and birds can become attracted to the cool air or the heat that your system emits, and they may decide to make their home in your new system. You want to ensure that you can get the system repaired if there are complications with critters in your home or building. With uncontrollable variables in your HVAC’s health and longevity, it is important that you keep your system protected by a warranty.

The Type of System You Purchase

Depending on the type of HVAC system you install, the nature of its composition can affect how long it lasts. With HVAC systems, the quality and longevity of the system you purchase are often closely correlated with the price. If you purchase a poorly-rated system to save money on the initial cost, a warranty is likely to be necessary to cover any anticipated defects in your system. Alternatively, if you pay a little more for the latest in geothermal HVAC systems, these are known to last longer and require less maintenance. However, even the newest and most advanced systems can encounter issues, and these types of systems are more costly to repair if an issue does arise. It is best to be prepared no matter what to keep your HVAC system running at its best.

To Recap

It is essential you protect your investment with a warranty to avoid long-term compounded payments. It is ideal to partner with a company that provides an initial warranty period free of charge. The experts at Newcomb and Company recognize HVAC warranties as a need rather than a privilege. Aligning with this ideology, when you buy a new carrier unit Newcomb and Company now offers a free three-year warranty to keep your investment protected. Learn more by contacting our HVAC experts today! Contact our HVAC professionals to schedule your free HVAC replacement estimate today!

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How to connect your Thermostat to Google Home Hub

HVAC Google Home Hub Connection

With the latest advancements in digital technology, HVAC control has recently become easier than ever with digital assistant capabilities. You can now connect your Google Home Hub device to your HVAC system for voice-controlled adjustments to your home’s temperature.

To achieve the ease of voice control, you must first partner your Google Home Hub device to your HVAC system and enable these controls. While it may sound difficult, this is actually easier than you might think.

How to Partner Google Home Hub with your HVAC for Temperature Control

Google Home Hub Color Options
First, make sure you have your Google Home Hub partnered with your mobile device. Next, open your app and search through the skills until you find your HVAC partnership. Click on this device to enable the Google Home Hub connection. Next, you will need to choose the partner the HVAC component to your device. This impressive suite of Google HVAC-friendly offerings includes Nest, Voxior for KNX and Loxone, Controlicz, and more. This selection is growing everyday to include even more offerings. Partnering your device with one of these systems will allow your Google Home Hub to gauge and influence the climate of your home.

To test this compatibility out, try saying a direct command such as “Hey Google, change the thermostat to 72 degrees.” You could also try something more general like, “Hey Google, make it warmer in here.” With Google Home Hub’s duration scheduling, it is also possible for you to give commands such as “Hey Google, make it cooler in here until 10 o’clock tonight.” With these advanced features, you will be able to control your home’s temperatures without ever lifting a finger.

Which Kinds of Thermostats are Compatible with Google Home Hub?

There are a few different orientations of thermostats, and the type of system you have may affect the degree to which your Google Home Hub device can control it. There are three common types of thermostat orientations: single setpoint thermostats, dual setpoint thermostats, and triple setpoint thermostats.

  • Single setpoint thermostats are systems that focus around one single temperature setpoint that it tries to maintain. These systems are the most highly compatible with the Google Home Hub system because of their straightforward nature.
  • Dual setpoint thermostats are systems that operate around two setpoints—a high point and a low point. The system will automatically turn on when the temperature falls outside of this provided range. These systems offer a medium range of compatibility with the Google Home Hub temperature control. Depending on your device, it is likely that you will be able to use the voice control feature to alter your home’s temperature but unlikely that you will be able to remotely control the temperature via the Google Home Hub app.
  • Triple setpoint thermostats combine the best of the two foundational thermostat systems. These networks consider both a target setpoint, a high setpoint, and a low setpoint. Due to the complex nature of these systems, your Google Home Hub’s compatibility may be limited to monitoring your HVAC settings using the app.

Upon installation, speak with your HVAC professionals about the orientation of your system to better understand how your smart speaker can help you monitor and control your home’s temperature.

What Can the Google Home Hub/HVAC Partnership Do?

While the voice-controlled temperature adjustment is impressive, Google Home Hub can do even more to help you take control over your home and your electricity bill. Depending on your HVAC system, you can use your Google Home Hub app to remotely adjust the temperature of your home while you are away. This can help you to save money on your electric bill when you adjust the temperature based on the current climate at home. You can also use this feature to turn off your HVAC system while at work each day and to re-adjust to the perfect temperature before you make it home.

Not only does this Google Home Hub partnership provide ease of use and expansive convenience for temperature adjustments, but it also creates a more universal design that allows increased accessibility for users with disabilities. It is important to note that only certain HVAC systems cannot be voice controlled by Google Home Hub (such as the triple setpoint thermostats), but they all are compatible with the Google Home Hub through the app; consult a professional to see if your system can be vocally operated using a digital assistant.

How to Get Started

To access this full range of features, get your FREE Google Home Hub from Newcomb and Company with the purchase of your new HVAC system.Contact our HVAC professionals to schedule your free HVAC replacement estimate today!

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Earth Day Energy Conservation Tips for Kids

newcomb-energy-conservation

It’s never too early to form good habits, and energy conservation is a great place to begin. Earth Day is on April 22, and it’s the perfect occasion to get your kids thinking about what energy is and the ways in which they use it. These Earth Day energy conservation tips for kids will teach them to live in a way that puts less stress on the environment, and might even lower your energy bills!

Energy Conservation Activities

  • Have your kids go on a scavenger hunt for incandescent bulbs around your house. Replace any they find with CFLs or LEDs, which use 25%-80% less energy than incandescents.
  • Remind children to unplug fully charged devices and to turn them off when not in use.
  • Turn off the faucet while kids brush their teeth, and encourage older children to take showers instead of baths.
  • Make sure your kids close the fridge every time they grab a snack. Refrigerators are one of the best heat exchanger examples around the house, so it’s a great opportunity to teach older kids how fridges work.
  • Encourage your child to turn the lights off whenever he or she leaves the room. Install smart switches so little ones can tell Google or Alexa or Siri to turn off the lights. Even toddlers who can’t reach light switches can get in on the action – just hook lights up to ‘The Clapper’!
  • Rather than running the dishwasher’s dry cycle, ask your child to dry the dishes. It saves energy and teaches them the importance of helping out around the house.
  • Open up your curtains and blinds on winter mornings. In the summer, make sure they’re closed. Your kids can be in charge of opening and closing the blinds when they wake up and before they go to sleep.

Finding ways of conserving energy for kids makes them feel empowered and reminds them that they are members of a global community. Kids learn by example, so make energy conservation a priority. If you’re buying new appliances, look for Energy Star certification. Ask your child to join you on a DIY home energy audit, or enlist a Newcomb and Company tech to help you find ways to increase energy efficiency in your home. You’ll lower your bills and teach your child about energy at the same time.

Want to find other ways to celebrate Earth Day in North Carolina? North Carolina state parks are hosting events throughout the state – find one near you!

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How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal breaks down or you’re updating your kitchen, you might want to know how to replace a garbage disposal. This project is easy enough that an amateur DIYer should be able to handle it – but Newcomb and Company is just a phone call away if you need us!

Should I Replace My Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals have a hard time with hard, stringy foods like celery, coffee grounds, and egg shells. Trash can also wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal jams, first reach in there and see if you can get out whatever is blocking the unit. If that doesn’t work, unplug the disposal and use an Allen wrench to crank the motor back and forth. You can do this by inserting the wrench into the shaft in the bottom of the unit. If the motor begins to spin freely, run lots of water through the unit and test it to make sure it’s fixed.

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

If you’ve tried using the Allen wrench, or if you’ve pressed the reset button and your unit is still malfunctioning, it’s time to learn how to replace a garbage disposal. Here, we’ll show you how to remove the current unit and replace it with a new one.

Tools

Screwdriver

Instructions

  1. Turn off the power to the unit. If it drains into your dishwasher, loosen the hose clamp that attaches it to the dishwasher discharge hose, and pull the adapter.
  2. Loosen the slip nut at the T-fitting (the white pipe connected to the disposal) and undo the nut securing the tube to the disposal unit. Remove the tube.
  3. Insert a screwdriver into the edge of the retaining ring and rotate it counterclockwise. The unit should break free.
  4. Turn over the disposal unit and remove the electrical box cover. Pull out the wires and remove the twist connectors. You should also remove the fastening nut, found just inside the unit’s electrical box. Pull the connector and wires from the unit.
  5. If necessary, remove the drain fitting by loosening the three bolts in the retaining ring. Slide it up and use a screwdriver to pry the ring up. Lift the drain, and scrape away any old putty still stuck to the basin.

How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

Tools

New garbage disposal

Plumber’s putty

Instructions

  1. Remove the waste lines from the sink. Take the cover plate off of the disposal, and wire it according to the manual.
  2. Attach the sink’s discharge tube to the body of the new garbage disposal.
  3. Underneath the sink, you’ll find the drain flange, backup ring, and fiber gasket. Run plumber’s putty along the underside of the flange into the drain, as well as around the backup ring and fiber gasket. Mount the ring with screws.
  4. Attach the disposal to the sink via the mounting ring. Tighten the ring until the disposal is firmly in place.
  5. Align the discharge tube with the drain trap and attach it.
  6. Tighten the mounting lug on the dishwasher tube.
  7. Plug in your newly replaced garbage disposal!

There are several additional required steps if you’re installing a new garbage disposal. In many cases, this is best done by a professional. If you’re having trouble replacing your garbage disposal or if you’d like to add the convenience of waste disposal to your kitchen sink, contact Newcomb and Company. We’re happy to help with all of your plumbing needs in the Raleigh and Wilmington areas.

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Guide to Low Maintenance HVAC Systems

Wouldn’t it be nice if your HVAC system was just a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of thing? Unfortunately, there aren’t any HVAC systems on the market that run perfectly on their own all the time. But when purchasing a low maintenance HVAC system, there are some factors that make it easier on you. This guide will help you buy a system that’s as close to self-operating as you can get.

Components of a Low Maintenance HVAC

Certain parts of your HVAC system require a bit more maintenance than others. Do your research beforehand, and you can choose a model that won’t need quite as much help from you. These components are part of a low maintenance HVAC system that you won’t have to worry about.

Programmable Thermostat

We’ve talked about the benefits of a programmable thermostat before. A ‘smart’ thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature of your home according to a preset schedule. No more getting out of bed because you forgot to change the temperature! Many households have programmable thermostats these days, but for minimum maintenance, buy a smart thermostat that connects to your phone via an app. That way, if you want to veer off the program, you can do it from your bed, your car, or anywhere else.

Thick, Efficient Filters

One of the primary HVAC maintenance tasks a homeowner is responsible for is changing the air filter. There are many air filter types on the market. Some need to be changed more frequently than others. The thicker an air filter is, the longer it lasts. A 1″ air filter needs to be changed every one to three months, while a 5″ or 6″ air filter can last up to nine months. High-efficiency filters also need less frequent replacement. Your HVAC system can only use filters of a certain size, so check the manual before you buy an HVAC system to see if it can handle thicker, high-efficiency filters.

Do you want washable or disposable filters? A washable filter can be reused, but, as the name implies, you’re responsible for washing it. That’s not exactly low maintenance. Disposable filters are pricier in the long run, but you can just toss the old one and put in the new at the scheduled time.

Zoned Heating

Without zoned heating, you’re forced to close dampers and vents manually. If you want to be efficient and save on your bills, you’re going to walk from room to room every night, closing all of the ducts throughout the downstairs. A zone heating system makes it easy by automatically turning off the heat or air to rooms that aren’t in use. Paired with a programmable thermostat, you’ll never have to touch the ducts or the thermostat again. That’s the definition of a low maintenance HVAC system!

Other Techniques

After you’ve purchased the appropriate type of low maintenance HVAC and thermostat, there are two additional things you can do to lessen the amount of time you spend taking care of your system.

Add Fencing

The condenser coil on your outdoor unit collects dirt and debris over time. This is especially true if it’s surrounded by foliage. If you build a fence around your outdoor HVAC unit, leaves and dust are less likely to clog up the coils. You’ll need to clean it less frequently. Just make sure you leave plenty of room between the fence and the outdoor unit, so you can access it when necessary and there’s space for it to vent.

If you can’t add a fence, at least trim back the foliage so there aren’t any plants within a five foot radius of the outdoor unit. Pollen and other detritus will be less likely to blow into the coils. Clean up any lawn mower clippings right away. This will give you more time between washings.

Buy a Maintenance Agreement

The most low maintenance HVAC system is the one you don’t have to touch at all. If you never want to think about your HVAC system again, an annual maintenance agreement is the way to go. Every HVAC company offers something a little bit different, so look into the plan to make sure it’s fully comprehensive. You don’t want to pay someone just to change your air filters!

At Newcomb and Company, our maintenance agreements provide you with complete peace of mind. We service your HVAC system from top to bottom twice a year. And maintenance members get additional benefits like discounts and priority service. For the most low maintenance HVAC available, call us today!

 

 

 

 

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