Home Heating Tips
Conserve fuel if necessary by keeping your house cooler than normal.
Temporarily "close off" heat to some rooms.
blankets over windows at night (let the sun shine in during the day).
Stuff cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels, or other such
using kerosene heaters, maintain ventilation to avoid build-up of
toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least
three feet away from flammable objects.
you have a fireplace, stock an ample supply of wood that is easy to
get to during a storm. Use a screen. Do not leave unattended
especially at night.
you have a small camp stove, keep ample fuel. When in use ensure that
it is well ventilated.
Additional Home Heating Information
It's never a bad
time to tune up your furnace, especially if you do not have a routine
maintenance schedule in place, and it is also always a good time to protect
yourself against furnace-caused carbon monoxide poisoning. A routine maintenance
checkup takes only a few minutes once a month. That's enough to help
the heating system operated safely and efficiently all season long,
cut operating costs and protect your family against hazards of fire
and carbon monoxide poisoning. It also helps prevent your furnace from
quitting at the most inopportune time . . . like in the middle of a
Group offers the following suggestions to keep your heating system in
Turn off the
electricity to the furnace. If you haven't regularly cleaned or
replaced the filter or filters, do it now, and repeat this step
throughout the heating season. If you have a central air conditioning
system and it operates through the furnace blower, repeat this step
throughout the year.
accumulated dust from the blower blades and motor body and oil the
motor. Also check the fan belt. If it shows wear, replace it. Even if
it doesn't, lightly press it. If it doesn't give about one inch,
adjust it. Then, to maximize efficiency, seal the filter opening with
duct tape and make sure the blower cabinet's door closes firmly. If it
doesn't, adjust it.
grills and gently clean the thermostat monthly. At least once a year,
remove all of the heating system's grills, including the cold air
returns, and remove any obstruction in their ducts. Also check
ductwork for improper connections and tape the seams with duct tape if
important draft hood test for combustion air. If the furnace doesn't
get enough fresh air, combustion gases, including carbon monoxide, can
spill out of the draft hood and into the house rather than being drawn
up into the chimney. Here is how to perform the test:
all exterior and bedroom doors. Also close all of the windows and the
dampers on any fireplaces or wood stoves.
the interior door to the basement or furnace room. Also open any
interior doors standing between the furnace and the exhaust fans for
the kitchen, bathrooms, clothes dryer and other vented appliances like
the water heater.
on the furnace. Wait for a few minutes for the draft to stabilize,
then hold a smoking object, like a kitchen match or incense stick, two
inches from the draft hood opening. If the smoke draws into the draft
hood, the furnace is venting properly. If it blows away from the hood,
combustion gases are spilling into the house. Call a professional
heating contractor immediately. Until the contractor fixes the problem
open a furnace room window a crack and leave it open.
An oil furnace
should be serviced and cleaned by a qualified technician every year, a
gas furnace every two years. Furnace cleaning and servicing includes
you cannot easily do: check and adjust the thermostat's calibration; clean
and adjust the burners; clean and adjust all the safety, pilot
assembly and time controls; adjust the pressure regulator; inspect and
clean the heat exchanger; lubricate all moving parts; check the flue
pipe and diverter; replace the supply line filter in an oil furnace;
check for gas leaks and carbon monoxide emissions; monitor the
complete cycle for overall efficiency; and correct any problems.
Even if your
furnace is venting properly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission
recommends you install a carbon monoxide detector in your house. This
inexpensive, early warning device detects carbon monoxide levels as
low as one percent in a home's air, and sounds an alarm long before
anyone feels sick. It's the best protection against carbon monoxide
poisoning. Is it time for a new furnace? An old furnace, even in good
condition, may use only 60 percent of the available heat to warm the
That means forty
cents of every heating dollar goes out the chimney. The best
high-efficiency furnaces waste less than five cents of every heating
dollar. The general rule of thumb is if your furnace is over ten years
old and needs $600 or more in repairs, you probably want to replace
it. However, if it is in good working condition, you probably want to
live with it for awhile longer unless you have a large house, lots of
windows, high heating bills or a combination of all three.