When it comes to saving money on energy costs, little changes can make a big difference. Follow these simple tips for saving money and energy on everything from heating and air conditioning to shaving and showering.
The average family spends nearly $2,200 per year on energy bills. Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to save money on energy costs. Finding ways to save energy is easy; even small changes can make a difference. By simply turning off a light switch or adding weather stripping around a door, you will see energy savings. So take a moment to look around your home and through the following tips to see where you can conserve energy, save water and make environmentally responsible choices.
Central Air Conditioner Tips: Getting Ready for the Season
Before turning on your central air conditioning unit every year, below are some basic maintenance tips to ensure your air conditioning season gets off to a good start.
- Be sure that the condensing unit located outside is not covered up and is clear of brush. The unit needs to draw air into the system to cool inside, but the process is hindered if it cannot pull enough air. Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
- Turn the air conditioner on for a few minutes now, before you need it. That way if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule a service call to have a BGE HOME professional come to fix it.
- Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode. Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.
- Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the evaporator to ice up. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced; electrostatic or electronic filters need to be cleaned according to manufacturer specifications.
- Be sure all access panels are secure, with all the screws in place.
- Schedule a cooling system tune-up with BGE HOME. Our comprehensive 21-point air conditioning system efficiency tune-up will ensure your air conditioning system is ready for the season.
A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. However, homeowners are strongly encouraged to be extremely cautious when cleaning an outside unit, as the use of a hose and water has the very serious risk of electrical shock and possible shorting of electrical components.
Furnace Tips: Getting Ready for the Season
Before turning on your furnace unit every year, below are some basic maintenance tips to ensure your heating season gets off to a good start.
- Be sure that the indoor unit is not blocked or obstructed. The unit needs to draw air into the system, so any obstructions could hinder the operation of the unit.
- Turn the furnace on for a few minutes now, before you need it. That way if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule a service call to have a BGE HOME professional come to fix it.
- Be sure the thermostat is set in the heating mode. Just setting the dial above room temperature will not activate the furnace if it is set in the cool mode.
- Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and can cause the system to work harder. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced; electrostatic or electronic filters need to be cleaned according to manufacturer specifications.
- Schedule a heating system tune-up with BGE HOME. Our comprehensive 21-point heating system efficiency tune-up will ensure your heating system is ready for the season.
Plumbing Tips: Getting Ready for the Season
Frozen pipes are a common problem that homeowners may encounter during extreme cold temperatures. Here are a few ways to know if you have frozen pipes:
- No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet. A lack of running water is a sign that you may have a frozen pipe. If you turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
- There Is Frost on the Pipe. For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated. This can also serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you try to turn on the faucet.
What Should You Do?
If you think your pipes are frozen, follow these three steps to avoid flooding until a professional plumber arrives.
- It is important to immediately turn off the water to your home until a plumber arrives in order to avoid a burst pipe and flooding inside your home.
- In addition, after extreme cold temperatures go away, exterior hose bibs that were frozen can cause flooding if the hose bib water line is turned on and there’s a buildup of ice in the line. Turn the water line to the hose bib off and keep the hose bib open until the frozen water melts out of the line.
- If you have signs of frozen pipes at your home, schedule a service call with a certified BGE HOME plumber or call our Customer Care Center at 1-888-BGE-HOME (243-4663).