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Winterizing the Home Heat System

When looking to the home's heating system, perhaps the first place that could use improvement is the thermostat. A standard, old-style, thermostat does not use more energy per se. That is, it doesn't use more energy if you are constantly adjusting it for time of day, day of week, and the comfort level of company. Most houses can operate with lower temperatures at night and at certain times on weekends. A programmable thermometer makes this task simple and convenient. By doing this task for you - and remembering when you forget - the programmable thermostat can ultimately save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Units have become relatively inexpensive in recent years. If you have an old thermostat, you really should consider an upgrade.

You may have a built in humidifier in your central heating system. These usually have to be turned on manually. (You might also have a dehumidifier that should be turned off). If you do not have a central humidifier, you might wish to buy a portable one to make inside living more comfortable.

This is also a good time to clean filters or change them as necessary. Clean out vents and vacuum them as well as possible. Floor vents often collect dust and objects dropped by children.

If you have a boiler system installed, it is advisable to give the pumps a once-over. They should be oiled as per owner manual instructions. Fireplaces and wood stoves should be maintained and cleaned, especially the stacks to avoid creosote buildup (which can cause chimney fires).

Once your heat system is efficiently doing its job, look to your insulation.

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