Making a few changes to the way you use and care for the major systems in your Boston home can save a bundle on utility bills. While some of these tips apply only to the summer cooling season or winter heating season, you can save money year-round by assessing your utility usage carefully.
Size your A/C properly. For central air conditioning systems, make sure your system is sized properly for your home. Systems that are too big or too small waste electricity. If you have an older, less-efficient system, consider upgrading to one that uses less electricity.
Maintain your condenser.
The condenser for your central air conditioning should be located outside but placing it in the shade will allow it to work more efficiently. Always consider locations on the north side of the home first. Shade is good, but that doesn’t mean you should block your condenser with shrubs, plants or bushes. Leaves and other organic debris can get into the condenser and clog drains, diminishing the condenser’s performance and causing leaks and other potential problems. Always keep your condenser clear of debris and check the housing, particularly after wild summer storms.
Use drapes, awnings, and shades in the summer.
By blocking out the sun’s rays, you can keep your home much cooler in the summer. Canvas awnings have a long lifespan provided that you maintain them properly, and can cut the heat in your home by several degrees. You can get a similar effect by using drapes or shades, particularly on the south and west windows of your home. The cooler your home stays naturally, the less you’ll spend on electricity bills during the summer.
Have your heating/cooling plant inspected annually. If you have a gas furnace, have the heat exchanger checked annually by a professional. Cracks in the heat exchanger can allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home. High-efficiency gas furnaces only have a rated life of about 10 years so this type of inspection is especially important for gas heating plants. If you have a steam heat or hot-water heat system, have the system inspected by a plumber. Have all valves and radiators checked for proper operation and leaks. A leak in a pressurized steam heat system can be especially dangerous. Don’t try to fix this yourself. Boston Standard Plumbing offers complete steam heat maintenance and repair services.
Around The House
Use a programmable thermostat. Summer or winter, a programmable thermostat can help keep your home comfortable while you’re in and save energy while you’re away.
Fix plumbing leaks.
A leaking toilet or faucet can cause your water bill to soar. Leaks in outdoor watering systems, outside faucets, and backyard pool systems can go unnoticed for weeks or months. If you suspect a water leak or broken drain, contact Boston Standard Plumbing for assistance. We can locate and repair leaks associated with all of your major water-consuming appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers, garbage disposals, washing machines, humidifiers, water filters, sump pumps, hot water heaters, toilets and showers. We can also test the drains, natural gas and steam/hot water heat systems in your home for leaks and proper operation.
Perform regular maintenance.
Never underestimate the importance of regular maintenance! All of the major systems in your home need some degree of regular maintenance. This may include common tasks like changing or cleaning filters, cleaning drains, clearing plumbing vents and testing the operation of valves. It can also include more complicated tasks like changing the sacrificial anode in your hot water heater.
Boston Standard Plumbing offers a variety of products and services designed to help you maintain the systems in your home. We carry Bio-Clean, a natural organic drain cleaner that is absolutely safe for use in all of your drains. Bio-Clean removes organic buildups that can impede water flow from your appliances and your main drain without the use of harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes. Bio-Clean also works in septic systems. Boston Standard Plumbing can also assist with more complicated maintenance and repair.
When you think of insulation, you naturally think of the pink stuff that goes in your attic. Insulating your attic is one way to keep heat in your house and to retain cool air, but you can also insulate pipes to help keep the water inside flowing efficiently and at the proper temperature. Insulating hot water pipes can help you retain heat, reduce sweating, and make your hot water heater or boiler work more efficiently.
Avoid generating heat.
In the summer, avoid generating heat in your home. This will prevent the inside temperature from rising and will help your air conditioning system work more efficiently. Cooking, a main source of heat in the home in the summer, can be done outside. Contact Boston Standard Plumbing to ask about installing a natural gas-fired grill outside your home. These grills use the natural gas service from the house and allow you to cook safely and cleanly without generating heat indoors.
If you haven’t already done so, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs where possible and look at the efficiency ratings of your appliances. Replacing an inefficient appliance with a highly efficient one can sometimes save enough money in utility bills to pay for the replacement! This is especially true of air conditioning and heating systems. Boston Standard Plumbing can help with a variety of installation and maintenance services for air conditioners, gas appliances and furnaces, as well as steam and hot-water heating systems.
DIY Air Conditioning, DIY Blog, DIY Heating, DIY Plumbing, Tips and Tricks