To keep garbage disposals operating properly follow these tips:
- Never pour fats or cooking oils into the disposal, they can solidify and choke drains.
- Wipe grease from pots with paper towels before washing.
- Don’t put poultry skins, celery, fruit or potato peels down the garbage disposal.
- Run cold water for 15 seconds before and after using the disposal to flush waste to the main sewer.
- Run the disposal when you put food debris into it. Don’t wait until it’s full to turn it on.
To keep your drains running smoothly follow these tips:
- Wait 10 minutes between showers to give drains time to do their job.
- Provide a trash bin in bathrooms so toilets are not used as garbage cans.
- Never flush swabs, cotton balls, hair or facial scrub pads down a toilet.
- Use fast dissolving toilet tissue.
- Treat slow drains with an organic drain cleaner such as Drain Maid™ featuring BioSmart®.
To prevent winter water disasters follow these tips:
- Winterize your outdoor hose bibbs and lawn sprinkler systems to prevent frozen and broken pipes. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Locate and label the main water shutoff valve for your home.
- Consider wrapping or insulating water pipes, especially pipes near outside walls, under the house or in the attic.
To keep your heating systems operating at peak efficiency follow these tips:
- Have your home heating system serviced prior to winter each year by a qualified trained technician to avoid any unpleasant surprises once the cold weather hits.
- Change the furnace filters at least once a month during the winter for safety and energy efficiency.
- Have your chimney flue, space heaters, water heaters and fireplace checked annually.
- Your furnace or boiler needs air to work properly and efficiently, make sure it is unobstructed.
To help lower your heating bill follow these tips:
- Set your thermostat to 70 degrees or lower during the day.
- Lower the temperature at night or when you are not at home. For every one degree you set your thermostat back you save 1-3% on your annual heating costs.
- Consider installing a humidifier. Humid air feels warmer than dry air and increasing the humidity in your home will help you resist winter colds and moisturizes dry skin.
- Install an automatic setback thermostat that can be programmed to turn the temperature up and down at preset times.
- Insulate your attic, walls, ceilings and floors to prevent heat loss.
- Take advantage of passive solar energy by opening drapes during the day to capture the sun’s warmth then closing them at night to prevent heat loss through windows.
- Keep fireplace dampers shut until you prepare to light a fire. An open damper in a 48” fireplace can let as much as 8% of your home’s heat escape through the chimney.
- Avoid heating unused areas by closing off unused rooms and shutting off heat vents.
- Consider installing storm windows and doors. Quality windows can result in cost savings of as much as 15% per year.
A typical house spends 14% of their energy bill or about $200 a year on hot water. Tips to lower this cost include:
- Installing a low-flow showerhead. It can cut water usage by as much as 50%.
- Keep showers under 5 minutes.
- Attach low-flow aerators to kitchen and bathroom faucets. The faucet will flow stronger while using less water. For a family of four this can save thousands of gallons of water per year.
- Insulate the hot water pipes coming from your water heater.
- Set the thermostat to 120 degrees F or less for normal use.
- If the side of the water heater is hot, install an insulation blanket. Make sure to use the appropriate type for your heater and to follow the manufacturers installation instructions carefully.
Conserving water is good for the environment as well as your pocketbook. To help conserve water follow these tips:
- Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Every flush you eliminate saves between two and seven gallons of water.
- Test toilet tanks for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If it’s leaking the coloring will appear in the bowl without flushing.
- If you don’t have a low flow toilet, use plastic bottles filled with water and pebbles to displace water in the tank. Be sure not to obstruct the float and never use bricks.
- Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Match your washing machine’s load selector to your load size. Try to wash only full loads and use cold water to save energy.
- Limit dishwasher use to full loads.
- Choose a car wash that uses recycled water. At home wash you car in small sections and use a shut off nozzle on your hose.
- Replacing an old shower head can save up to 7.5 gallons of water per minute without sacrificing spray action or high water pressure.
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