Winter-ready: West Salem heating service tech offers furnace maintenance tips

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) — As the cold months approach, heating costs are expected to rise this winter. A West Salem service technician has advice on how to save on those heating costs.

Keeping up on routine furnace maintenance could save you from an unexpected cold night.

The weather is getting colder, and service technicians, like BJ Newton at G&T Heating and Air Conditioning, are getting more calls.

“People are starting to turn their furnaces on,” Newton said. It “makes them think about winter. A few have turned it on and had nothing happen. So they come to realize, it’s probably time to have them checked.”

Newton has advice for how to hold down costs.

“All the money you put in for your gas bill ends up outside — every dollar of it,” he said. “So it’s a matter of how — the better you can keep it in the house, the less you have to keep adding more heat to stay warm. So seal the cracks, get insulated.”

He also said to make sure your furnace is up to date.

“Your money goes a little bit further with a newer furnace these days,” Newton said.

Clean furnace filters are paramount, he said, adding, “The number one things is keep that filter clean. When the filter’s plugged, it just can’t breathe. It runs hotter — the furnace runs a lot hotter, and that’s just harder on all the parts.”

And it can be harder on your wallet.

Newton advises to check the filter every two weeks, and replace it once every three to six months, depending on the filter and furnace types.

A standard filter costs $8, and can save you money down the road.

If your furnace goes out, pay attention to the why: It might be a problem you can fix.

“There’s a ton of safety switches on a gas furnace. Any one of them is designed there to catch problems. It doesn’t take much for a furnace to say ‘stop! Something’s not right.'” Newton said.

He has one more tip for homeowners: Don’t wrap your air conditioner in a tarp. it traps unwanted moisture in and could become a home for mice. If anything, he advised putting a board or brick over the unit.

He also recommends that people schedule a furnace maintenance appointment once a year to get ahead of problems. The best time to make that appointment is in August or September.

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