Thursday, October 19, 2006

Getting Ready For Fall

Temperatures are dipping and nights are growing cooler - the perfect time for a home heating system checkup. Savings, efficiency, comfort and maintenance are all important this season. Without yearly cleaning and inspection, a heating system can wear itself out fast. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your system running at peak efficiency and make the seasonal transition more comfortable and costeffective:

• Have ducts cleaned and sealed by a professional every three to five years.
• Clean or replace furnace filters about every two months.
• Use ceiling fans. They are a useful tool to keep the house warm. Heat rises and the ceiling fans push the heat back down.
• Turn down the thermostat. Homeowners can save 8 percent to 10 percent on their annual heating costs by turning the thermostat from 72 F down to 65 F at night.
• Trim or remove grass, weeds and leaves from around the outdoor heating and cooling unit. When airflow, air return and distribution vents are blocked, it puts a strain on the system and lowers efficiency.
• Use caulking or expanding spray foam to seal spaces around pipes and wires that lead from the attic or crawl space into the home.
• Place weather stripping around door frames and at the top and bottom of window sashes. Insulate attic doors and pull-downs.
• Upgrade older heating systems to optimize energy consumption. A Hybrid Heat system allows homeowners to heat their home by joining a heat pump with a gas furnace. This allows homeowners to choose between gas or electricity for their heating fuel, whichever would be more efficient for local weather and energy cost conditions.

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