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Get your home ready for winter heating

Well, winter came early in some parts of the state. Most of us have probably already had our furnaces turned on for about a month now, so it’s definitely time make sure your furnace or boiler will be in good working order all winter long. Here are a few pointers to help ensure you are set for the heating season.

Get your furnace or boiler serviced by a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning  (HVAC) professional.  Annual tune-ups are recommended.  If renting a house or unit with its own heating system, make sure you know who is responsible for the annual maintenance.

  • This is important as a safety check. A technician will make sure there is no carbon monoxide leakage. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an important concern and even small leaks cause problems. (In case you weren’t aware, in Minnesota, a carbon monoxide detector must be located within 10 feet each bedroom.)
  • Your annual maintenance check will ensure your heating equipment is running efficiently. A technician can also alert you to any concerns and do preventative maintenance/repairs so it doesn’t stop working. You do not want your heating system to break down on a Saturday night when its -20F!
  • Check if the utility that provides your heating fuel offers a rebate for this annual maintenance step and, if they do, take advantage of it to save money. CUB’s Rebates and Discounts Finder is an easy way to find out what your electric and natural gas utilities offer.

Change furnace filters. Changing filters is a basic and easy maintenance step to keep your furnace running well.

  • Filters also help reduce allergens in your home.
  • Talk to your technician if you have questions about how frequently to change the filters and the best type of filters for your furnace.

Adjust your thermostat throughout the day. Minnesotans use about 55% of their household energy to heat and cool their homes. Because of this, actively controlling the temperature in your home typically presents the biggest opportunity to save energy and money.

  • 68 degrees is the recommended setting when you are home, and you can adjust it down when you are away or while sleeping. Temperature is also a personal preference and comfort issue, so if 68 is too warm or cool, incrementally adjust by a degree or two at a time to find the best temperature for your household.  Every degree you lower the thermostat will save you money, but remember to stay comfortable, too.
  • To avoid frozen pipes in our cold climate, never have your thermostat set below 55.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat to make adjusting the thermostat throughout the day easy and automatic.

This is also a good time to seal up leaks and check for drafts. Heating can be expensive, so don’t let your home leak energy and money! Check out CUB’s energy efficiency tips for more information. Consider having a professional energy audit to find out if you have energy leaks and how to best address them. Contact your local utility to find out about discounted audit options.

CUB wishes your household a happy and warm heating season! If you have concerns about your heating bills this winter and want tips to bring your expenses down, reach out and request a free energy consultation.

Author: Carmen Carruthers

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