Home And Housing

Save on Home Energy Costs with this One-Two Punch

Have you been looking at your energy bill lately and scratching your head, trying to understand how things got so expensive? If so, you’re not the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. Too many homeowners end up paying far more than they should be for their energy bills (especially in the winter months), but this is mostly because they don’t address the two most common culprits — an aging or inefficient HVAC unit and their plumbing system.

Here are some simple things you as a homeowner can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home and keep your energy bill down this winter.

HVAC Maintenance

Keeping your Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Systems in working order year-round might seem like common sense, but it is probably the most important thing you can do in order to save money in the long run. It’s easy to ignore small problems during summer months but those maintenance delays can become costly and inconvenient predicaments once the snow starts to fall.

Your furnace should be professionally maintained at least once a year to stay in good working order. A trained HVAC specialist can also show you how to take proper care of your furnace to keep it running as long and as efficiently as possible.

Plumbing

Knowledgeable plumbers will bring expertise to the table that will nip costly problems in the bud, leaving you and your family with more money for the kinds of holiday spending that you actually want to be making. A trained professional can help address the following issues:

Slow-Draining Sinks

Fall and winter, for many families, means big meals and holiday cheer. While festive occasions are a time to indulge, don’t let that indulgence hurt your drains: if you need to dispose of oils or fats from cooking, you should never pour them down your drain. Instead, let them congeal and throw them away into your garbage can instead.

Coffee grinds are another common culprit: they can build up in your pipes and create a blockage that stops your sink from draining properly. Avoid this issue altogether by being mindful of where you dispose of your food waste.

Blocked Vent Stacks

A vent stack is a port that prevents smelly sewer gas from entering your home. If you’ve started to notice an unusual smell of sulfur in fall or winter, a blocked vent stack could be to blame. If leaves or snow get caught in your vent stack, sewer gasses can enter and linger in your living space. Installing a protective screen over your vent stack will help avoid this problem, and a regular cleaning of your vent stack will help prevent stinky surprises.

Pests

A warm, inviting home is difficult to resist when the weather turns colder, and that’s true for both humans and for common pests like rodents or reptiles. Pests will gravitate towards cozy spaces, and that means that they could be entering your home through vent pipes, toilets, or drains. Odds are that between friends and family, you’ve already got enough company coming over; avoid this issue by ensuring that all potential access points are properly sealed up.

There are several factors that contribute to higher utility bills, but HVAC maintenance and plumbing are truly the yin and yang of your home’s utility costs. Keep both in working order, and you’ll be looking at a happier new year.

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