Tips to help you and your home survive a deep freeze.
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A heating system is one of the most expensive items in your house. Therefore, it is very important to keep it running efficiently to ensure its best performance, make it last as long as possible, and keep everyone comfortable when the temperature drops.
In its continued commitment to arm homeowners throughout the United States with information to keep themselves and their families safe and warm this winter, the ARS®/Rescue Rooter® Network is providing some simple tips to help them properly maintain their heating systems and comfort.
Tune up your system. The best defense against heating problems is to make sure your system is maintained year-round. Having heating equipment serviced by a reputable company at least once a year could reduce your heating bill and prevent costly repairs and replacements in the future. Learn more about an ARS®/Rescue Rooter® heating tune-up here.
Think about updating your system. According to the National Home Builders Association, most heating systems last 10-20 years depending on the type. HVAC systems have an average life span of 10 years, 15-20 years for furnaces, and 16 years for heat pumps. Replacing your old system with a new, high-efficiency heating system can help pay for itself in the long run by reducing your heating costs by more than 30 to 50%.
Keep filters clean. Dirty air filters can negatively affect your home’s air quality and can reduce your system’s energy efficiency. Replacing air filters regularly should be an important part of your routine HVAC system maintenance program. Additionally, do not block air inlets or outlets, with furniture or drapes that restrict proper distribution of airflow.
Give your windows special treatment. Replacing old windows is an ideal way to save some money during wintertime. However, it can be expensive. Another option is to install window insulation kits, which will limit cold air from entering your home and help keep the heat from escaping.
Close the gaps. A fast and inexpensive way to make your home more efficient is to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors. You can use caulk or foam to help keep the heat inside.
Insulate. In winter weather, attic insulation is key. If you don’t have enough insulation up there, your heating bills can climb sky high. You can easily tell if you need more insulation if structural frame elements, such as ceiling joists or wall framing boards, are visible.
To determine if you should add insulation, you first need to find out how much insulation you already have in your home. A qualified home energy audit will include an insulation check as a routine part of a whole-house energy audit, it will also help identify areas of your home that need to be sealed. Contact your local electric utility to schedule an energy audit of your home.
Safety first. If you discover a problem with your heating system, always approach the situation with the utmost safety in mind. For example, if an electrical circuit consistently trips or a fuse blows when your system is on, you most likely have an electrical problem and should immediately call a service professional and not attempt to fix it yourself. If your system runs on gas and you smell gas in the home, immediately leave the house and call the gas company and fire department to report a leak.
Plan ahead. The easiest way to make sure your heating system is getting the attention it requires is to have a Home Service Plan like the one offered by a local ARS®/Rescue Rooter® branch. With this plan, you get up to two scheduled maintenance visits each year from a clearly identified service professional. Plus, you receive priority scheduling for service calls, discounts on service visits throughout the year and satisfaction guaranteed. Best of all, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home comfort system is being well taken care of year-round.
Contact your local ARS®/Rescue Rooter® HVAC specialist to learn more about Home Service Plans or to find out more about your heating system and maintenance options.