Ask the Expert: 12 Tips to Save on Home Heating

Cooler weather is coming to the Hamptons, and as the temperature goes down nobody likes to see home heating costs go up. Naturally, the big question on everyone’s mind is, What is the best way to save money on my heating and air conditioning this fall and winter? So we asked the original “Joe the Plumber”—Joe Hardy—of Hardy Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for his expert tips.

12 Money Saving Fall and Winter Tips from Joe Hardy of Hardy Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

Tip #1 All homeowners should have their heating and hot water systems inspected by a professional once a year.

Tip #2  If your boiler or furnace is over 20 years old, you should consider replacing it.  Thanks to new technology, there are systems available that operate at 96% efficiency. Most systems 20 years or older are operating at as low as 50% efficiency. According to Money Magazine, replacing your old, inefficient system can save you more money than any other home improvement project and will pay for itself within 3 to 5 years.

Tip #3 Your boiler, furnace and hot water heater, whether gas or oil fired, should be cleaned and serviced every fall by a qualified service company. You can improve the efficiency of your system by nearly 15%

Tip #4 All heating and air conditioning filters should be replaced or serviced twice a year. Clogged filters can reduce your heating efficiency up to 35% when left unchanged for long periods of time.

Tip #5 If applicable, always have the antifreeze and corrosive inhibitor tested in your boiler system once a year. Most hydronic fan coil systems require antifreeze due to the blower units installed in unheated attic spaces. This is a simple process that can avoid catastrophic damage to your home if left unchecked.

Tip #6  Service your humidifier once a year to prevent shrinkage of decorative moldings, health issues and overall dryness in your home.

Tip #7  If you have hot water heating, consider installing a dedicated line connected to your boiler system below the main valve. This allows you to turn off the water supply to your home while you are away and keeps the hydronic heating system pressurized. This installation can prevent considerable water damage to your home should you have a freeze-up

Tip #8 If your gas, oil or electric glass-lined hot water heater is over 12 years old, it should be inspected. Tank failures in these older heaters can cause considerable damage to your home.

Tip #9 Always disconnect you garden hoses by November 15th. Drain your outside showers as well. Most homes now have frost-free hose bibs installed. However, leaving a hose connected to the bib when temperatures fall below freezing will cause a flood in your basement that will result in a lot of damage to your home.

Tip #10  Inspect your washing machine hoses. Older machines have rubber hoses that “dry rot” and leak.  Many homes are destroyed by a bad laundry hose. They must be replaced with stainless steel braided hoses to keep your home safe from water damage.

Tip #11  If your home has a well system, you should have the well tank serviced on an annual basis and it should be charged with air. Many times the well tank becomes water logged and causes the submersible pump to cycle and burn out. One simple service call can save you nearly $4,000.00 in expense later if the pump fails due to cycling.

Tip #12  Every homeowner with a well system should have their water tested for iron, hardness and pH. Low pH is extremely corrosive to your entire plumbing system.  If your water is “blue staining” your fixtures or discoloring your hair, you need to have your water tested.

Have more questions about heating, air conditioning and plumbing in your home? You can contact Joe Hardy and Hardy Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning at 631-283-9333 or visit them at hardyplumbing.comYou may even see your questions answered right here at Ask the Expert.

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