Money Saving Tips

Plumbing

  • During cold Winter months, insulate your water heater tank with an insulation blanket (available at local hardware stores), as well as the first six feet of hot and cold water lines connected to the unit.
  • Consider setting the temperature of your water heater to 120°F. By doing so, for every 10-degree decrease in temperature at which the heater is set, you can save 3% – 5% on your energy costs.
  • To protect your Water Heater, you need to remove corrosion causing sediment that builds up inside it. By simply draining several gallons from your system once a year, you will flush this corrosion out, increasing efficiency and lengthening the life of your heater!
  • Water Heaters have become significantly more efficient in recent years, saving homeowners on energy costs. Specifically, if your water heater is over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing. An easy way to determine the age of your water heater is by looking at the first four numbers of the serial number. Those 4 digits represent the month and year it was made.
  • Toilet paper should be the only paper product flushed down a toilet. Avoid throwing diapers, paper towels, hygiene products, wet towels, food and other debris which can cause major blockage in the main sewer lines.
  • Tree roots thrive within a sewer pipe. It is basically the perfect environment for vegetation to flourish. However, tree roots can damage sewer lines and prevent waste from escaping. Be sure to have a professional plumber periodically inspect your sewer lines and determine if there is a problem.
  • Absolutely avoid pouring grease from food down the kitchen sink. After doing so for a long period of time, the grease can actually cause clogs in drains. A better solution is to dispose of hot grease in a sturdy plastic container, and then deposit it into the trash can.
  • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into your garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp or banana peels). The disposer can’t sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  • To eliminate foul odors caused by a buildup of food debris within the disposer, try these steps:
    1. Grind ice cubes and orange or lemon rinds in the disposer for about 30 seconds.
    2. While the disposer is still running, pout a small amount of liquid dish detergent into it.
    3. Rinse any remaining debris away by running cold water for about 30 seconds.
  • Tubs and showers should be fitted with strainers that catch hair and soap chips. Clean the strainers regularly, and you can avoid some of the most common causes of bathroom drain clogs.
  • Low water pressure from faucets or shower heads or leaks from around the handle of faucets are usually caused by lime buildup and sediment blocking the small openings inside the sprayer head. To remedy this issue, remove the aerator by unscrewing it from the faucet head. Then take the aerator and spray head apart and soak the aerator in some vinegar, brushing it to remove the sediment. Reassemble the unit once the aerator is sufficiently cleaned.
  • One of the most common leaks found in the home is in Toilets. You can easily test your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank on the back of the toilet. Wait 15 minutes and if the water in the Toilet Bowl has changed color, then the ball or flapper is leaking and needs to be replaced.
  • Be sure to locate the main water line shut-off valve in the event you have a plumbing leak. Knowing how to quickly shut off the water supply to your home in an emergency can save thousands in water damage caused by a water leak.
  • To check for leaks ANYWHERE in your plumbing system, look at your water meter reading late in the evening when no water is being used. Make a note of the reading and then check it again in the morning before any additional water has been used. If the meter has moved, that is an indication that you may have an undetected water leak, which should be corrected. Of course, ensure that any overnight water use is turned off, like an ice maker, lawn irrigation system, or clothes and dishwashers.

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Air Conditioning

  • Change your a/c filters monthly. Dirty filters put unnecessary strain on your unit and will increase energy costs and shorten the overall life of your system.
  • Provide shade for your outdoor a/c system and you can increase that unit’s efficiency by up to 10%.
  • A cooling system is one of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home (second only to your heating system, depending on where you live). If you have an old air conditioning system with a SEER rating of less than 8, it may be worthwhile to consider replacing it with a more energy efficient system. You should be able to recoup the cost in just a few years.
  • Make sure the cooled air coming from your air conditioning vents is not obstructed by furniture or draperies.
  • Any heat that is generated inside your home has to be removed by your cooling system, so avoid generating excess heat inside your home whenever possible. Cook on your outdoor grill as often as possible, or use a crockpot and the microwave oven. Use the ‘air dry’ setting on your dishwasher. Turn off lights when not in use. Your computer and other home office equipment also generate heat. Turn them off when not in use.
  • The darker the color of your house, the more heat it will absorb, so if you’re building, buying, or considering repainting, choose lighter colors for the exterior.
  • Thirty percent of the heat in your house is absorbed through the roof. Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Vents in the eaves allow cooler air to enter. A ridge vent or an attic fan can significantly reduce your cooling costs.
  • Install energy efficient ceiling fans and run them on hot days. If it’s just a little too warm for comfort, use the ceiling fan without air conditioning. If it’s hot enough to require air conditioning, using the ceiling fans at the same time allows you to raise the temperature setting by five degrees, further reducing your costs.
  • Make sure that the outside condenser coil is cleaned once a year. If it’s dirty, the A/C will run hot and inefficient. One sign of the coil being dirty is when the small exposed copper pipe, usually just 3/8″ in diameter, connecting the inside unit with the outside unit will be HOT to the touch. This should be handled by a professional as some parts of the outside condenser can be harmed by water entering moving parts.
  • If you notice ice accumulating on the indoor coil or the large insulated covered copper pipe, there may be a lack of air flow or you could be low on refrigerant. Lack of air flow can be caused by a dirty air filter, dirty indoor evaporator coil, dirty fan blades, or a damper in the ductwork restricting air flow. Call a professional to investigate.
  • Use bath and kitchen fans sparsely when you are running the air conditioning system. By running those exhaust fans continuously, you are removing cool air from the home in large volumes.

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General HVAC

  • Run your air conditioner or heating unit for a few minutes in the weeks leading up to when you’ll really need it. If you wait until the first hot or cold day to discover the system isn’t working, you’ll find yourself on a waiting list, freezing OR sweltering for days before an HVAC specialist can come to fix it.
  • “Tune-up” your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with an annual maintenance contract. Even a new ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC system, like a new car, will decline in performance without regular maintenance. A maintenance contract automatically ensures that your HVAC contractor will provide “pre-season” tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. You will save energy and money, and your system may last years longer with simply investing the minimal costs of a yearly maintenance plan.
  • Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat to automate your HVAC system. This simple device, which is easily installed in place of your existing thermostat, optimizes HVAC operation “24/7” based on your schedule and habits.
  • Plug leaks around doors and windows with weather stripping and caulking. Caulking and weather stripping help you eliminate drafts and keep the comfortable air temperature consistent on the inside of your home.
  • If the condenser fan makes a clicking or grating noise it may indicate that the blades may be striking an obstruction. If a blade becomes bent, do NOT try to straighten the blade. A straightened blade may become unbalanced and can loosen the fan motor or hit the condenser coil. Call a professional to make this repair.
  • Keep vegetation at least 2 feet away from outdoor units on each side and above. Aim grass clippings away from the unit when mowing the lawn. During the fall, keep the fan grill free of leaves.
  • If possible, shade the outdoor compressor unit. Air in shaded space is typically 5 to 6 degrees cooler than the surrounding air. Proper shading can help your system perform up to 10 percent more efficiently throughout the summer months..
  • Raise the temperature setting on your thermostat if possible. Each degree of temperature can represent up to 9 percent savings in cooling costs.

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Heating

  • LOWER YOUR THERMOSTAT! When you are away at work, turn the heat down to 65 degrees. It will
    only take a few minutes for your home to heat back up to 68 degrees when you return and you will save
    a ton of money over the winter months. Readjusting your thermostat settings alone for each season could
    save $150 a year on heating and cooling costs.
  • Turn the heat down a couple of degrees at night and add a blanket to your bedding. For each degree you
    lower your thermostat, you will save approximately 3 percent more on heating costs, as well as conserve
    energy.
  • Add a programmable thermostat. It is the most efficient way to control temperatures whether you are at
    home or away.
  • Dress in layers even when indoors. Layers help you to maintain comfort as the temperature changes both
    indoors and out. Winter clothing is the obvious way to keep warmer in cold weather, even indoors, and it
    will save you a bundle in heating bills, as well.
  • Make sure all storm windows and doors are closed tightly. Lock the interior windows to make sure they
    are sealed, as well. Check for cracks in the insulation around them and seal, if necessary. This will keep
    cold drafts out and your heated air in. Also make sure the fireplace damper is closed when it is not in use.
    As much as 8 percent of your costly heated air can go out though that opening.
  • Roll up a small rug and place it under the door. It will help to keep cold air from entering and insulate the
    room.
  • Open shutters and curtains during the day to let the natural warmth from the sunlight to help heat the
    rooms. Close them at night to help insulate against the cold.
  • Use your ceiling fans to your advantage. Turn the switch so they blow warm air down from the ceiling.
    You will stay warmer and improve the air circulation in your home.
  • Improve the insulation in your home, especially if you own an older one. Added insulation in the ceilings
    and under floors will help keep both heating and cooling costs down, saving you money year-round.

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