TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS
Here are a few helpful and informative safety hints homeowners should keep in mind with regard to HVAC and plumbing:
Determining the Proper Heating/Cooling Unit Size—Tips for saving money and energy
There’s no way around the fact that newer models are more efficient.
But the unit still needs to be of an appropriate size. Too big—you’re wasting energy and paying too much. Too small—you’re not cool enough in the summer, or warm enough in the winter. Plus, oversize air conditioners are more expensive to buy and don’t stay on long enough to dehumidify the air.
Humidity control is important to maintaining a healthy home. Excessive dryness can damage the wood in your home’s interior, and cause respiratory problems, as well as other issues. Dampness can lead to termites, molds, and condensation stains on walls and ceilings.
Have a qualified technician inspect fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves at least once each year. A qualified technician can identify and repair problems with these appliances long before you can.
Recognize the danger signs of a carbon monoxide problem. Signs include: water leaking from the base of your chimney, moisture formation on the windows and/or walls of the furnace room, falling soot from the fireplace, rust on the part of the vent pipe seen on the outside of your home, black streaks or soot around the service door of fuel-burning appliances, absence of a draft in your chimney, or damaged/discolored bricks at the top of your chimney.
Look for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning—flu-like symptoms, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing.
Perfection Contracting highly recommends putting a carbon monoxide detector outside sleeping areas. A CO detector will sound an alarm before dangerous levels of co accumulate. Nighttime is usually when most co poisoning occurs. Do not place the detector within five feet of household chemicals.
Test your detector monthly if it’s wired into your home’s electrical system. Test it weekly if battery operated, and make sure to replace the battery yearly. Should your alarm go off, open windows and doors to air out the room.
Emergency Water Shutoff Tips
Burst pipes, leaking fixtures, overflowing washers, and other flooding emergencies mean turning off the water at its source as soon as possible. Know where all the shutoff valves in your home are located!
Full house shutoff:
If your home has a water meter, the meter is most commonly mounted on an outside wall, in the basement, or in a streetside “meter pit”. The meter has a shutoff on either side.
If you have a well, the shutoff is on the house side of the pressure tank. In addition to the shutoff, cut the power to the tank.
Close the hot water valve, normally located on the water heater itself. (if you don’t have one, we can install it for you.)
Cold Weather Plumbing Tips
As temperatures head toward freezing, close all openings in the crawl space under your house, including air vents.
If temperatures fall below 20 degrees, leave outdoor faucets turned on.
In freezing weather, never set your home’s thermostat below 55° F.
Know where the master valve is located, in case a line breaks and you’re forced to shut the water off. It’s normally near the water heater, clothes washer, or where the water service line enters your home.
Keep your water meter box covered.
Insulate pipes in cold areas of your home, as well as outside faucets. In a pinch, newspapers or rags can be used as a temporary solution.
If your pipes do freeze, open the cold-water faucet nearest the freeze to relieve pressure and help prevent breakage. Never use a blowtorch or any type of flame to thaw a frozen line. It could cause the pope to burst. Use a hair dryer (set on low), heat lamp, or light bulb instead. Evenly distribute the heat over a large area of the pipe
How to Save Money on Utility Bills
Upgrading systems and equipment can save money and make your house more comfortable. Along with proper insulation, weatherization, and thermostat settings, you can reduce your energy bills by 50%!
Household heating systems:
80% oh homes are heated using natural gas. However, Perfection Contracting can advise you on the most efficient oil burners on the market s well, and help you decide which is right for you.
If your home is heated using electricity, try installing an energy-efficient heat pump system. In moderate climates, heat pumps provide three times more energy than they consume. They also work as air conditioners.
Just by turning your thermostat down by 10 to 15% for 8 hours a day, you can save up to 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. This can be accomplished quite easily, with no change in your comfort level, by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. Warning: Not for use with heat pumps.
Tips for water conservation
Fix running toilets and dripping faucets as soon as you notice them.
When replacing a toilet, washing machine, or dishwasher, look for models made to conserve water.
Take showers instead of full baths.
Make the most of your laundry loads. Wash full loads only. If you need to wash a smaller load, remember to use change the load-size setting on your machine.
Practice smart irrigation.
Minimize irrigation waste by installing a drip irrigation system instead of conventional sprinklers. For more information, visit the EPA website.
Tips for heating conservation
Replace furniture and air conditioning filters at least quarterly (more often during heavy usage months). Check air ducts for leaks.
Keep the thermostat set a few degrees down in winter and a few degrees up in summer.
Wearing layers results in noticeable energy and cost savings. For more conservation information, visit the consumer energy center.
Find and seal air leaks in your home. Focus especially on baseboards, electrical outlets, windows, doors, and pipes. Seal leaks with caulk or weather stripping, and add additional layers of insulation to roofs and walls.
Turn the water heater down. Same as with your thermostat, turning the water heater down can reduce your energy consumption. Set your water heater to no more than 120° F.