Money-Saving Tips

Smart ways to save energy—and money—all year round.

Air Conditioning

  • Don’t allow the interior of your home to become uncomfortably hot because the air conditioner cannot cool it down within a reasonable amount of time. Air conditioners are designed for about a 20° change in temperature, so 100° air would only be cooled to about 80°.
  • One of the simplest air conditioner tips is to change your air conditioner filter at least four times a year to ensure that your family is breathing cleaner air and your HVAC system is not being overworked. It could save energy and money!
  • Run your ceiling fans to stay cooler in the summertime. Check your fans to ensure they are going in the correct direction. In the summer, your fan should be set on “forward,” which means the blades are rotating counter-clockwise. There is a switch on the base where you can control this.
  • It is fairly common for an air conditioner to ice up. The air conditioner drain line can also freeze, backup and cause a leak, which is often confused for a plumbing leak. When this happens, immediately turn off your compressor by switching your thermostat over to fan. As the ice starts to melt, make sure you have proper drainage and call a professional.
  • From dirty coils to poorly-designed ductwork, there are many things that can restrict airflow. One of our professionals can check them all and get to the root of the problem.
  • Keep heat out of your home by closing blinds, shades and draperies that cover windows facing the sun. Close coverings on east-facing windows in the morning and west-facing windows in the afternoon. Also, installing shades or blinds that are white reflects heat away from the house. This can keep you cooler and help save energy.
  • Keep your outdoor air conditioning unit cooler by planting trees or shrubs that provide shade but still allow air to flow around the unit. By properly shading the area, your system can perform up to 10% more efficiently. Also, be sure the landscaping isn’t too close to the unit, so a technician can service it easily when necessary.
  • The best defense against air conditioner problems is to have an annual home service plan in place and make sure your system is maintained year-round, especially right before the heavy heat of summer sets in. Regular tune-ups reduce your risk of experiencing common malfunctions and will help you stay cool.
  • Don’t let heat build up in your home. Appliances, electronic devices and lighting are all common sources of internal heat gain. To combat this excess heat, avoid putting lamps or televisions near your air conditioner’s thermostat. These heat-generating appliances can cause the thermostat to think the house is warmer than it really is, resulting in the system running longer than necessary and wasting energy.

Heating

  • One of the easiest heating tips: on sunny days, take advantage of the sun to bring in heat. Adjust blinds so they are open and tilted toward the ceiling—but be sure to close the blinds at sundown.
  • Set your ceiling fan in the reverse position, on low. When radiant heat enters your home from the windows aimed upward, the fan will help circulate warm air all around the room.
  • Fireplaces can waste a lot of energy, as they pull warm air out of the house through the chimney. Make sure the damper is closed when you’re not using your fireplace. Installing glass doors can also help keep heat in your home when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Don’t lose heated air through exhaust fans. Use them sparingly and turn them off when not in use during colder weather as they pull heated air out of your house.
  • Exhaust fans can also cause negative pressure inside your home that can lead to back drafts from your fireplace and can cause drafts through the walls, windows and un-insulated outlets in your home.
  • The best defense against heating problems is to make sure your system is maintained year-round. Having heating equipment serviced by a reputable company at least once a year could reduce your heating bill and prevent costly repairs and replacements in the future.
  • One of the best home heating tips is to get regular HVAC inspections. Be sure your professional heating tune-up includes: inspection of the overall safety of gas systems; thermostat calibration; inspection and cleaning of the air handler/blower; filter inspection and cleaning; inspection of wiring and connections; identification of hot and cold spots in the home; and gauging electrical systems for proper amp draw.

Indoor Air Quality

  • Wetness equals warmth: homes become dried-out in the wintertime. During cold weather, increased use of your heater causes the home and its interior air to become dryer than usual. A humidifier can help add needed moisture to your home during the wintertime.
  • Humidifiers can also improve health issues like dry sinuses, while saving energy. Since moist air holds heat, you may feel more comfortable and lower your normal heat setting due to the increased comfort.
  • Make sure to maintain your humidifier properly. Whether it is a portable or whole-house humidifier, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for care. However, in general, clean or replace the filters regularly and wash the base and reservoir.

Summer Plumbing

  • More outdoor fun means more dirty clothes. Be sure to check your washing machine hoses for bulges, leaks or cracks and be sure to remove dryer lint regularly. Remember-—washing machine hoses should be replaced approximately every three years.
  • Move your washing machine at least four inches from the wall to prevent hose kinking and damage, and never leave your home while the washer is running.
  • In humid weather, your ductwork may sweat from condensation. This can cause a backup if the drains are not clear. Leaks in the seams can also cause condensation. If you have an attic installation, be sure there is no water in the drain pan. If there is water, call ARS / Rescue Rooter today, as it could save your ceiling.
  • Be careful what you put down your kitchen disposal after your cookout. Most are not equipped to handle cornhusks, celery, banana peels and other fibrous or “stringy” foods. Some other items to stay away from are fats or cooking oils because they form clogs in the pipes. Run cold water at full pressure for 15 seconds before and after you put anything down the disposal to flush it through. Never put instant stuffing, potato mixes or similar “just-add-water” foods down the drain—they'll create an instant clog when you add water. Pasta, rice and eggshells should also be avoided.
  • One of the best home tips for saving money and energy while on your vacation is to turn down the temperature of your water heater and turn up the temperature of your refrigerator. Of course, you should remove highly perishable foods, like dairy, produce and meat first.
  • The best defense to ensuring your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections, and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late, or when you need them most.

Winter Plumbing

  • Avoid frozen pipes. Watch your water pressure this time of year because the first sign of a frozen pipe is restricted water flow. If you notice this, be sure to act quickly and call ARS / Rescue Rooter today.
  • Let cold water trickle from your faucets, slightly smaller than a pencil’s width, during the evening when the temperature is the coldest. This helps prevent freezing, as moving water does not freeze.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain outdoor pipes to prevent damage during the winter. During cold snaps, if a garden hose is left connected, ice can form and pressure can build up in the water lines inside your home. Once this occurs, a water line leak or break could occur and cause severe damage to the home.
  • After disconnecting garden hoses, you should install an exterior, insulated faucet jacket. This will protect your outdoor faucets, as well as the connecting lines running into the home, from freezing temperatures.
  • Be sure to utilize the shut-off valves located inside your home to drain water from pipes leading to outdoor hose bibs. These valves can typically be found under sinks, in crawl spaces or basements, near your water heater or your meter, but every home is different and some homes may not be equipped with these valves.
  • Circulating warm air helps keep pipes in the walls from freezing. Keep your house temperature above 55° to prevent pipes from freezing and open cabinet doors under sinks and faucets and near exterior walls to help circulate warm air and keep pipes warmer.
  • One of the more simple winter home tips is to close crawl space vents and garage doors, especially if your water heater is in the garage.
  • Check that snow is not restricting your water drainage. Watch the area around your sump pump discharge line, used to avoid flooding indoors, as this line drains from a basement to an outside area. If the drainage area is blocked by snow or flowing into a puddle, freezing could occur, as well as water backing up into the house.
  • The best defense to ensuring your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections, and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late, or when you need them most.

Sewer & Water Line

  • Sewer line backups are common in the summer months due to rainwater entering sewer pipes via cracks. New tree root growth in the spring can also cause sewer backup issues, as roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of water and nutrition. Have a plumber inspect your sewer line pipes to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer line backup problem or if damage has already occurred. In either situation, your plumber will be able to help you determine the best treatment option for proper drain cleaning.

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Energy Saving