Air conditioning systems and clothes dryers come with some kind of filter or lint trap, and it’s important to clean or change these filters regularly. You’ll save money, have cleaner air and clothes, protect your home from accidental fires and your AC and clothes dryer will last longer.
Air Conditioning – According to HowStuffWorks.com, a dirty air filter is one of the most common reasons that an AC unit will stop working. Air filters catch dust and keep it from circulating throughout your home. If the filter gets too clogged, the AC has to work harder to push the cold air through. The cold air has no place to go, so it circulates back into the evaporator coil, causing it to freeze and fail. Permanent filters are easily removed, washed outside with a hose, and reinstalled. Replace pleated paper AC filters every one to three months.
Clothes dryer – According to JoeFilter.com, the lint trap in your clothes dryer is the first line of defense against lint buildup. It’s typically located on the bottom gum line inside the dryer. Simply pull it out clean it out, and put the contents in the trash every time you use the dryer.
Some lint may escape the trap and go into the dryer vent, the flexible silver duct that vents to the outdoors. If the vent gets blocked, it takes longer to dry your clothes (wasting energy) and could spark a fire. Clean your dryer vent at least once a year.
As a consumer of electricity, gas, sewer and water services, you have certain protections under state law. If you submit required deposits, pay your bills on time, and protect your interior and exterior equipment from overload or breakage, you should not be denied service and should rarely, if ever, experience a disruption in your utilities.
Yet, utility interruptions occur frequently. A water, gas or electric company can slow down or shut off flow to your home if there’s an outage, to protect the public safety or, to protect reserves and to keep prices competitive.
Sometimes, utility delivery equipment simply fails. Pipes burst, animals chew through lines and extreme weather can cause outages. In most cases, if the equipment is on your property, including a damaged meter, you’re as responsible to pay for repair or replacement as the companies are to monitor equipment performance before it breaks.
Extreme weather can wipe out utilities in large areas for weeks at a time before service is restored — a major reason why clean energy supporters lobby for micro-grids to limit outage areas and to encourage more subsidies for wind and solar power. Unlike fossil fuels which are switched on and off, wind and solar power can be stored in batteries for future use, which can help restore power to homes quicker.
According to Audubon.org, every state has a public utility commission that regulates your utilities and the companies that provide them. Get involved and help reduce outages the cost of utilities in your area.