Dealing with cold, yucky weather for months on end is hard enough. But paying more for heat just makes it worse. Here are some tips for saving cash on your heating. As a result, you can go therapy shopping to get you through the winter misery.
Utility bills, they’re pretty much the worst! Being an adult means that each month you have to give a portion of your hard earned money to the water company, the electrical company, the gas company, etc. it’s an overall unpleasant experience. Take some of the pain out of paying your utility bills with this comprehensive money-saving checklist.
1. Try to only run your dishwasher or your washing machines when you have a full load. If you absolutely have to wash a smaller load, make sure you’re using the correct water settings
2. Upgrade to a low-flow shower head and watch the savings add up.
3. Have a running/leaking toilet fixed right away, to prevent water waste and increased a water bill.
4. If you add an aerator to your faucets, you’ll use about half as much water and save big on your monthly water bill.
5. Have a high-efficiency toilet installed, for long-term savings.
6. Use a broom to sweep away leaves and dirt on your porch, instead of using a hose to wash away debris.
7. Have any leaks repaired right away. A small leak or a dripping faucet may not seem like a huge deal, and it can be tempting to ignore the leak and save money on a costly repair. However, ignoring a leak is a major mistake that will cause a significant increase in your monthly water bill. If you notice a leak, contact us right away to have it fixed.
Keep in mind that not all leaks are easy to spot. You could have a leak in your pipes, where you wouldn’t be able to see it. There are a couple of signs to look out for, to help you determine if you have a hidden leak.
-You can start to see an increase in your monthly water bill.
-Your meter readings can be higher than usual.
-Depending on where the leaky pipe is located, you might start to notice some water damage.
If you suspect you may have a hidden leak somewhere, or if you just want some peace of mind, contact us today and we’ll send out one of our professional plumbers to inspect and correct the problem.
8. Opt to thaw foods in the fridge instead of running them under hot water in the sink.
9. You’ve heard this one a hundred times before, but turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or lathering up your hands.
10. You can reuse the water you cook with to water your plants or in the garden.
11. Plan ahead when you purchase new appliances. Investing in energy efficient dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, etc. is a great way to ensure that you’ll see long-term savings on your water and your power utility bills.
Electrical and Gas Bills:
1. Change your air filters regularly. By changing your air filters as recommended you will help ensure that your furnace and your air conditioner are running properly and efficiently, saving you money on your monthly power bills.
2. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
3. Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
4. During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. Then during summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
5. For real long-term savings on your utility bills, choose energy-efficient products when you’re buying new heating and cooling equipment.
6. Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer, and depending on the season raise or lower the set point when you’re sleeping or away from home.
7. Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes use less water and use cooler water. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.
8. Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.
9. Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
10. One of the quickest energy and money-saving tasks you can do is to caulk, seal and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.
11. Close cooling vents in unused rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed.
12. Have the outside condenser coil cleaned once a year.
13. Schedule yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment with one of our heating and cooling technicians.
14. Attics must be ventilated to relieve heat buildup caused by the sun. If necessary, improve attic airflow by adding or enlarging vents.
15. Save money on lighting your home with controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Our Certified Electricians can help you select and install the products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.
16. Select a refrigerator with automatic moisture control. Models with this feature have been engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior without the addition of a heater. This is not the same thing as an “anti-sweat” heater. Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume 5% to 10% more energy than models without this feature.
17. Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.
18. Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.
19. Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it may never reach the faucet. By keeping your faucet in the cold position, you’ll save money on both your water and energy utility bills.
20. If you need to purchase a natural gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves natural gas because a pilot light is not burning continuously.
21. In natural gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. Consult the manufacturer or your local utility company.
22. Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.
23. Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it’s faster and it uses less energy.
24. Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
25. Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They will save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.
26. Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. Even if you turn these items off, they will still draw power, wasting energy and your money.
27. If you aren’t going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes turn off the monitor and turn off the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours.
28. Switch to energy efficient light-bulbs.
29. Don’t put hot foods in the fridge. Allow food to cool a little before placing them in the refrigerator for storage. Placing hot foods in the fridge will raise the temperature of your fridge, causing it to work twice as hard to cool the unit back down, costing you more money on your power bill.
30. Have us come out and perform an Energy Safety Savings Analysis. An Energy Safety Savings Analysis will help discover even more ways for you to save money on your utility bills.
If you have any plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical needs, simply call us at:
Winter in the Midwest can be brutal and unfortunately your home tends to be vulnerable to the extreme cold and winter weather. Winterizing your home now is the best way to help ensure that you’re not left out in the cold this winter!
Check out this simple home winterizing checklist:
- Odds are you’re about done watering your lawn or hand washing your car for the season. To prevent freezing this winter make sure that you disconnect and drain all of your outdoor hoses.
- Remember to lock your windows tight! Locking your windows makes their seals tighter.
- Have your pipes checked by a professional. Before the real winter weather gets here, you’ll want to have a plumber inspect your pipes for holes, cracks, insulation problems and other issues that could cause your pipes to freeze.
- To prevent serious plumbing issues this winter call us at 1.888.9TIGER4 to have your pipes professionally insulated.
- Clear your gutters of leaves a debris. Cleaning gutters is no ones favorite chore. However if your gutters become clogged then water will run over the sides and straight down around the foundation of your home. This may lead to erosion around your foundation and moisture can get inside your house.
- Insulate older basement windows during winter months. Doing so will help keep warm air from escaping through your basement. Saving you some real money on your heating bill.
- Hanging heavy curtains over your windows is another great way to cut the cost of your energy bill this winter.
- Replace your furnace filter! A new clean furnace filter will ensure that your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to warm your home, saving you even more money on your power bill this season.
- Stock up on salt, ice melts, shovels and other winter items now. These items have a bad habit of selling out when you need them most!
To have any of your winterizing concerns addressed by one of our Plumbing Experts, Heating and Cooling Technicians and/or Electricians call 1.888.9TIGER4 today or feel free to check us out online at TrustTiger.com.
October is Energy Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to learn a few
amazing money saving energy tips for your home!
- When to Turn Off Your Personal Computer
- Yes, there is a small surge in energy when your computer first starts up, but this small amount of energy is considerably less than the energy used when your computer is running for long periods of time.
- For energy savings and convenience, consider turning off…
- The monitor if you aren’t going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes
- Both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours.
- Make sure your monitors, printers and other accessories are on a power strip/surge protector.
- When this equipment is not in use for extended periods, turn off the switch on the power strip to prevent them from drawing power even when shut off.
- If you don’t use a power strip, unplug extra equipment when it’s not in use.
- Most PCs reach the end of their “useful” life due to advances in technology long before the effects of being switched on and off multiple times have a negative impact on their service life.
- The less time a PC is on, the longer it will “last.”
- PCs also produce heat, so turning them off reduces building cooling loads.
- Note: Screen savers are not energy savers.
- Using a screen saver may in fact use more energy than not using one.
2. Laundry Tips
- Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
- Wash and dry full loads.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Don’t over-dry your clothes.
- If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked.
- This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks.
3. Air Leaks and Your Wallet
- One of the quickest energy– and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weather strip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside.
- Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings and officiants over cabinets.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
- Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists and caulk them.
- Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows.
- Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
- Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
- Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
- Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
- Set your thermostat to 78° F or as high as comfort permits.
- Close your blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day.
- Close cooling vents in unused rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed.
- Check, clean or replace air filters every month.
- Clean the outside condenser coil once a year.
- Insulate your house.
- Schedule periodic maintenance of cooling equipment by a licensed service representative.
- Attics must be ventilated to relieve heat buildup caused by the sun. If necessary, improve attic airflow by adding or enlarging vents.
- Indoor Lighting Tips
- By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.
- When replacing incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures, use energy-efficient bulbs that are rated for that purpose.
- Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures.
- They are available in many styles, distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures, and some offer convenient features such as dimming.
- Controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use.
- Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels.
- Keep your curtains or shades open to use day-lighting instead of turning on lights.
- Outdoor Lighting Tips
- Because outdoor lights are usually left on a long time, using CFLs or LEDs in these fixtures will save a lot of energy.
- CFLs and LEDs are available as flood lights.
- These models have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures.
- Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water.
- Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
- Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.
- Insulate the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR® model to reduce hot water use.
- Drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.
- Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter.
- Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
- Release trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
- Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
- During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Check your ducts for air leaks.
- First, look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes.
- If you use tape to seal your ducts, avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesive duct tape, which tends to fail quickly.
- Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder.
- If your basement has been converted to a living area, hire a professional to install both supply and return registers in the basement rooms.
- Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture buildup.
- Long-Term Savings Tip: You can lose up to 60% of your heated air before it reaches the register if your ducts aren’t insulated and they travel through unheated spaces such as the attic or crawlspace.
- Get a qualified professional to help you insulate and repair ducts.
9. Kitchen Tips
- Refrigerator/Freezer Energy
- Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section
- If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.
- Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight.
- Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator.
- If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section
- Other Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips
- Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it may never reach the faucet.
- If you need to purchase a natural gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system.
- An electric ignition saves natural gas because a pilot light is not burning continuously.
- In natural gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment needs to be made.
- Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it’s faster and it uses less energy.
- Match the size of the pan to the heating element.
- Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven.
- A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
- Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so.
- Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120°F).
- Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones.
- Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food.
- Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded, when you run it.
- Don’t use the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.
- Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.
To have all of your plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical systems energy efficiency checked call 1-888-9TIGER4 or visit TrustTiger.com today!
September is here already! In the Midwest, September means the kids are back at school, pools start closing down, pumpkin flavored everything hits the grocery stores. But what September is most known for in this area, is its crazy, unpredictable, roller-coaster weather!
Yes, the next few weeks we can expect the weather to teeter between hot summer days and frosty autumn nights. One day we’ll see the temperatures reach into the high 90’s, with unbearable humidity and the next day you’ll be wearing sweaters and jackets. And there are the days that will start out on one temperature extreme and end on the other.
While September tries to figure out what season it wants to be in, we’re stuck trying to keep our homes comfortable and our energy bills as low as possible. These tasks are a lot trickier than they should be! But we have the insider advice you need to know when dealing with the back and forth transition from hot to cooler temperatures.
Hot weather turns cooler, so you turn off your air conditioner and open the windows. Then things heat back up, so you shut those windows and turn your air conditioner back on. We experienced this just last week. The August heat broke and we had a week or so of nice cooler, almost fall like temperatures. Then the next thing we knew, summer came roaring back with a vengeance.
With this being the first week of September, we can expect these yo-yo temperatures to occur a dozen more times. The key here is to NOT keep turning your air conditioner on and off, and opening and closing your windows.
Most people believe that doing this will save them money on their energy bill. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Every time you open your windows, you’re not only letting the cooler air in, but your home is also filling up with humidity.
When you turn your air conditioner back on, it will run twice as long and twice as hard, to both cool your home and remove the humidity, which in turn will cost you big bucks on your energy bill. Instead of turning your air conditioner off and opening a window, simply turn the temperature up. Your unit will run less, you’ll still be comfortable and you’ll see the savings on your energy bill.