Five Tips to Manage Utility Costs During A Challenging Economy, from Petri Plumbing & Heating

Brooklyn home service company Petri Plumbing & Heating is offering tips to keep the lights on during the current economic slowdown with some belt-tightening energy tips.

Petri suggests the following five tips for keeping energy costs down:

Regularly replace filters. Boilers and air conditioners need adequate airflow to function, so Petri notes that a clean filter is the first thing their experts will look at on many service calls. Homeowners can often save themselves a professional visit by first checking the filter and replacing it if it’s dirty or clogged. Filters should be changed every 60 days, sooner if there are pets in the home.

Seal up windows and doors. Plastic window coverings are not just for winter. By sealing leaks, they help save money on air conditioning, too. Check for peeling weather stripping and torn seals on windows, both inside and out. Families might also consider scheduling a conversation with their children about the importance of keeping doors and windows closed in order to keep cool air inside.

Invest in easy fixes. A leaky toilet flap or dripping sink can raise water bills by as much as $200. Making a few small adjustments — such as replacing broken rubber seals – are simple DIY projects that run under $20 and can also stop major structural repairs due to water damage later on.

Turn down the water heater. Lowering the temperature just 10 degrees on a hot water heater can save approximately 3 to 5 percent on energy costs, while a 20-degree drop saves up to 10%. This should only be done by a homeowner when the water heater is easily accessible and the dial is clearly marked.

Use less. Petri stresses that conservation of water and electricity is the best and easiest way to lower utility bills and avoid falling behind on payments. Homeowners should take shorter showers and ask themselves if the air conditioner really needs to be on.

Installing a programmable or IoT-connected thermostat often allows temperature control from a mobile device, ensuring that utilities are not left running when no one is home.

If DIY fixes don’t help, or your plumbing or HVAC systems are simply not working, the issue may require a professional.

Petri cautions that homeowners should never try to work on gas systems such as water heaters or boilers without proper training, as this could result in backdrafts, water damage, or even CO poisoning.

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