Tips For Safe and Cost Effective Home Heating

Jan. 17, 2012 - Checking your furnace can lower operating costs, protect your family against fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning and prevent your furnace from quitting at an inopportune time — such as in the middle of a dark and snowy night.

Furnace Maintenance Checklist

Try these steps to help your heating system operate safely, efficiently and economically all season long:

  1. Turn off the electricity or gas to the furnace and replace the filter. If you haven't regularly cleaned or replaced the filter, do it now and check it throughout the heating season. A clean filter will operate more efficiently. If you have a central air conditioning system that operates with the furnace blower, count on replacing the filter more often. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Remove dust from the furnace. Get all the crevices cleaned of dust. Vacuum the base and grills. And be sure to clear obstacles to the vents so air can freely flow.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home at set times throughout the week. A properly programmed thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs, according to ENERGY STAR.
  4. Check for carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide can be detected with an inexpensive test badge or battery operated alarm.
  5. Call the pros. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends scheduling a professional inspection each year for your furnace and all fuel-burning home heating systems, including boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.

Is It Time For a New Furnace?

If your furnace is more than 15 years old, ENERGY STAR recommends replacing it. However, if the furnace is in good working condition, you may want to live with it for a while longer unless you have a large house, lots of windows, high heating bills or a combination of all three. High-efficiency furnaces are 15 percent more efficient than conventional furnaces.

We’re Here to Help

Just as you would schedule a professional furnace inspection each year, you should also meet with your local ERIE Agent for an annual insurance review. Your Agent will help ensure that your home is insured properly and your family is well protected. Contact your ERIE Agent today.

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