- Ada, Oklahoma

October 27, 2013

Make sure heating system is in working order before it's needed

Janna Kelley OSU Extension Educator

Ada — Oklahomans certainly have a lot of experience when it comes to weather extremes. Although the temperature this fall has been mild so far, it will not be long until you need to fire up the heating system.

Ensuring your system runs properly is beneficial both for safety and financial reasons.

The cost of heating a home can take up a large part of a family’s energy budget. Making sure your system is properly running can help cut down on heating costs. It’s a good idea to get the system checked out now before cold temperatures hit. You don’t want to turn on the heat on that first cold day only to discover there’s a problem. It could be days before a repairman can come fix it.

To begin with, stand next to your indoor heating system and listen to it start up. Make sure it is not making any strange noises.

One of the easiest no-cost ways to reduce your heating bill is to simply manage the thermostat. It doesn’t cost you a thing to bump the heat down to as low as is comfortable. Try wearing a sweater around the house to help stay warm. Because heating costs can easily use a large amount of your household budget, any little thing you do to save energy will add to your bottom line.

There are other steps homeowners can take to help cut heating costs aside from making sure the heating unit is working properly. Start by sealing leaky doors and windows to cut down on cold air getting into the home.

Sealing any cracks around windows and doors is a very cost-effective step to take. In addition, changing or cleaning the air filter is another inexpensive idea. Dirty filters reduce airflow, which in turn causes the system to work harder and use more energy.

During the winter months, the sun is your friend. Keep shades and curtains open during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home. Depending on your home’s exposure to the sun, this can definitely make a difference in your energy costs.

Not only can a family save money on heating costs, a properly functioning heating system also can help avoid safety issues. Furnaces that aren’t cleaned properly or are poorly maintained can contribute to carbon monoxide poisoning. This can be extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly, young children and pets. This type of risk can be prevented by having your heating system checked and cleaned annually.