Pre-Winter Prep for Heating Systems

Hey Everybody, it’s Gerry Hartley here again to remind you that… Winter is Coming, and Fast it appears!  (if you haven’t noticed already - Yikes!)

 So instead of putting it off and pretending that we’ll have plenty more warm days to come, I suggest you take a moment to review some of our handy tips for preparing your heating system for winter.

 First of all, let’s talk about inside your home:

1) Have your heating system inspected & serviced by a licensed heating technician. You’d be surprised what few service calls we get in July (LOL) ‘cos last I checked, no one was using their furnace last summer. And as luck typically has it, heating systems can often experience a breakdown when the demand for heat from your furnace is greatest (another words, when it’s really cold). So don’t get caught short!

 2) Have your chimney cleaned & inspected. This is especially important in terms of safety; plus you get the benefit of improved efficiency as well as a regular review of the overall condition of the flue, liner, cap, etc.

3) Make sure you have fresh batteries in your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Back to the safety focus: There have been an increase in the number of deaths from fire or CO poisoning complicated by inoperative smoke and CO detectors. I, for one, don’t want to suddenly find myself appearing before Saint Peter and having to explain why I arrived at the pearly gates: “Uh, well gee- I guess I shoulda checked my detectors, huh?” Now THAT would be a drag!

Now, for the outside of your home:

1) Keep your fuel tank fill pipe & vent pipe free of ice and snow. Give your favorite fuel delivery folks a break and help keep your system operating at maximum efficiency.

2) If you have an underground oil or propane tank place a grade stake by the fill or access dome and keep the area clear of snow & ice. An accident such as a vehicle bumping into it would be problematic and potentially dangerous.

3) If you're not on an automatic delivery schedule don't let your tank get below a 1/4 for fuel or 20% for propane. This is a good rule of thumb should extreme weather come up!

Do you have portable heating systems or a wood burning stove or a fireplace? Here are some safety tips from the folks at (National Fire Protection Association - the fire prevention people):

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Follow these simple steps to prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

  • Never use your oven to heat your home.

  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

If you recall, my Spring Blog Post talked a lot about the natural practice squirrels have of getting ready for winter by making preparations in the fall. But in that post I spoke of how advantageous it would be if you had service performed in the spring. Many, many of our customers followed our suggestion. But, for those of you who did not…. (Call us!)

So do as the squirrels do: take stock of your heating status, call for service and make ready for winter. It’s looking a lot like it’s going to be a cold and breezy one! 

Have a great Fall season and we’ll see (and/or talk with) you soon!

- Gerry