Home Heating Tips

Fall is the ideal time for homeowners to have a trained, qualified professional — such as an HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) technician or a gas company representative — perform a comprehensive checkup of their home heating systems. But according to a September 2010 survey conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), just one in four homeowners has a professional inspection every year, and one in five has never had a home heating inspection.

Here are top four tips for fall:

  • Give your home its annual checkup. An annual checkup by a home heating professional helps ensure that your heating system is operating efficiently and is properly maintained. The investment in a yearly professional inspection is worth it and could save your family money in the long run. According to the PERC survey, homeowners who rely on regular inspections find that efficient heating system performance, avoidance of major repairs, and peace of mind are significant benefits. Important maintenance steps you can take on your own include regularly changing or cleaning furnace filters and checking vents to make sure they are free from obstructions.
  • Leave it to the pros. Only a trained and qualified service technician has the proper training to install, service, maintain, and repair gas appliances. Don’t try to modify or repair valves, regulators, or other cylinder or appliance parts. Leave this to the pros.
  • Have monitoring in place. United Laboratories-listed carbon monoxide (CO) detectors help reduce the risk of CO poisoning and, along with gas and smoke detectors, are an important part of home safety; yet one in three homes is without one or more of these important devices, according to the PERC homeowner survey. Installing monitors is one item on your list that you shouldn’t put off. If you already have them installed, use this time to ensure that they are working properly. Household gas leaks are rare, but knowing what to do in the event of a leak is important. Should you or a family member smell gas from an unknown source (both natural gas and propane have a distinct rotten egg odor), leave the house immediately — and then call emergency services and youre gas company.
  • Leave space when storing. When moving items indoors for storage, don’t put anything — boxes, paint, clothing, furniture, and so on — near gas appliances. Read the instruction manual that comes with your gas appliance for details about safe storage.