Forecast for Boston: Turn up the heat!

Weather forecasters are predicting that 2014 will be the coldest winter nationwide in three years. For homeowners in Boston, heating will become a high priority! Here are a few tips to help maintain your heating equipment, stay warm and save money at the same time!

Turn down your thermostat – to a point.
You’ve heard the advice – “Turn down your thermostat while you’re away.” – and if you do it right, it’s a good tip. You can save money by not keeping your home heated to your preferred temperature when you’re at work or gone for long periods of time. That doesn’t mean that you should let the temperature free-fall in your home, though. You’ll actually spend more money returning your home to your preferred temperature if you turn your thermostat down too far, or turn it off altogether. A good rule of thumb is to let the temperature in your home fall by no more than about 5°F. Beyond that, your furnace will be working harder and consuming more energy to warm your home on your return.

Your high efficiency furnace needs your help!
High-efficiency furnaces start out saving you a lot of money on operational costs, but if you don’t maintain them properly, they won’t work at peak performance. High efficiency furnaces should be cleaned, inspected and maintained by a professional at least once per year, and filters should be changed every month on a regular schedule. Thinking about skipping the maintenance? Don’t! High-efficiency furnaces can lose as much as 10%-15% in operational performance each year they’re not maintained. Not performing maintenance can also shorten the lifespan of critical components and the high-efficiency unit in general.

Watch snow and ice buildup around your high-efficiency exhaust ports.
If you have a high-efficiency furnace and your intake and exhaust ports exit the home through the foundation wall, make certain that your ports don’t become clogged with snow, frost or ice during the winter. Never allow the fresh-air intake port to become blocked by anything. (Your furnace will quit working!) Don’t store anything in front of the ports and don’t allow vegetation to grow or accumulate near these ports during the summer. Completely clear all snow within a 3-foot radius from around the ports.

Consider an oil-to-gas conversion.
If you use fuel oil to heat your home, your return on investment from switching to natural gas will be almost immediate. You’ll improve the efficiency of your heating equipment and significantly reduce the cost of heating your home in the winter. You’ll improve the safety of your home by eliminating the possibility of toxic oil spills in or around your living space. (You may also reduce your homeowner’s insurance bill by switching!) You’ll also avoid the risk of running low on fuel during a cold spell, or having to pay a large oil bill midway through the heating season.

If you would like more information about saving money on heating your home this winter, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 for a consultation. We can provide information about programs you may be eligible for to reduce your heating bills, making low-cost improvements to your heating and cooling equipment and keeping your home safe this winter.

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