SALISBURY, Md. - With frigid winter temperatures the heat is on across Delmarva. But, how can you keep from paying an arm and a leg - just to keep them warm?
"People lose money by not having the air filter changed, it makes the system have to work too hard," said Frank Tobat, owner of H.V.A.C. Services.
Those systems should be checked annually - whether it's oil, gas or electric heat - as well as inspecting ducts for leaks.
He suggests changing filters at least twice a year, and more often if you have pets. Oil customers should also have the oil nozzle checked annually, too, so that customers get all the heat out of the oil they've purchased.
Also, listen to your heat pump. If something starts to sound unusual, that means something could be wrong. Running it, instead of fixing it, could cost more to heat your home.
"Don't wait until it's too late and it's ten degrees outside and think oh, I should have had this fixed before," Tobat said.
Programmable thermostats will help regulate the temperature throughout the day, but don't drop the numbers too far below 70 degrees just to save a few dollars. That's when things may start to freeze.
If you're thinking about using appliances for heat - don't. That can be a fire hazard. And it may seem like common sense, but Tobat has one last suggestion.
"We see people who have their windows open and complain that they're cold, so try to keep the windows and doors closed and sealed up as tight as you can."
If you've done all you can to make sure the heat stays inside, you should install a carbon monoxide detector if you have oil, gas or wood burning heat.
"When you have a really tight house, leakage even small leakages of carbon monoxide, have a tendency to stay in the house. It's always dangerous, but it's worse in those situations."
The odorless, colorless gas can cause sudden illness and death. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness and nausea. More than 20,000 people visit the emergency room, and more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year.
Consider choosing an alarm with a digital display so that there's a more accurate read on the gas levels inside the home.
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