When it comes to saving money on energy costs, even the smallest energy efficiency improvements can make a big difference. Follow these simple energy efficiency tips for your home to cut your heating bill in winter and your air conditioning bill in summer.
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 a simple tune-up for your furnace or air conditioner can improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency.
Take a moment to review these energy efficiency tips and see how you can get the most out of your energy dollars all year round. You might be surprised at how easy it is!
Home Energy Efficiency Tips for Summer
Before turning on your central air conditioning unit in June, July and August, check out these summer energy-saving tips to ensure the season gets off to a good start.
- Be sure that the AC condensing unit located outside is not covered up and is clear of brush. The air conditioning unit needs to draw outside air into the system. If it cannot pull enough air, the unit will operate less efficiently, which means higher energy bills. Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
- Turn the air conditioner on for a few minutes before summer hits. That way, if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule an AC repair 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 AC 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, and electrostatic or electronic filters need to be cleaned according to manufacturer specifications.
- Be sure all HVAC 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 unit is ready for summer.
A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. However, homeowners are strongly encouraged to be extremely cautious when cleaning an outside HVAC unit, as the use of a hose and water carries a serious risk of electrical shock and possible shorting of electrical components.
Home Energy Efficiency Tips for Winter
Before firing up your furnace this season, here are some helpful tips that will keep you and your family warm throughout the cold winter months while maintaining an energy efficient home.
- Be sure that furnace vents are not blocked or obstructed. The furnace needs to draw air into the system, so any obstructions could hinder the operation of the unit and lead to increased heating costs.
- Turn the furnace on for a few minutes before winter hits. That way if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule a service call and have BGE HOME troubleshoot the issues and make the needed repairs.
- 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 HVAC filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing energy efficiency and can cause the system to work harder. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced, and 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 winter.
Frozen Pipe Prevention: Getting Ready for Winter
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).