SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Keeping your home warm this winter is going to be a bit more costly. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating a home with natural gas will rise by nearly $200 on average, or by 28%.
The cost will only continue to rise depending on how cold the winter is.
The EIA says a winter that is 10% colder than the base forecast would raise the cost by $370 instead of $200, and a 51% jump.
In order to cut costs, the Operations Manager at Home Comfort Experts, James Oleson, says the best way to save money this winter is to learn how to make sure your furnace is clean and running efficiently yourself.
“The cleaner it is, the better chance you have of making it through winter without failure,” advises James Oleson, Operations Manager at Home Comfort Experts. “Over 80% of furnace failures are caused by dirt in some way, shape, or form.”
The first step in ensuring a working furnace is simple; making sure the filter is clean and regularly changed. It’s something you can do yourself or have done by the experts themselves.
“Having a professional maintenance done on this equipment, doesn’t matter if it’s one year old or 40 years old, it needs to be broken down, cleaned, put back together and inspected,” says Oleson.
Experts say it’s normal to smell a bit of burning dust for the first 15 minutes to one hour when you crank the heat on for the first time, but anything other than that may be a cause for concern.
“If it smells like electrical burning smell, like rubber, greasy, something like that, there’s something wrong, shut it off right away,” Oleson warns. “That’s not going to work itself out, electrical fires don’t put themselves out.”
Along with the smells, if your furnace is making some questionable noises and you’re just not sure, it doesn’t hurt to have a professional come and check it out so you’re not stuck without heat in the frigid temperatures.
“You’d rather call and have us come out and say ‘It’s nothing, it’s not a big deal, it’s a little pop in the duct work’, then have it go out at 2:00 in the morning and be without heat, or have it happen on the busiest day of the year where we can’t get to you cause there’s so many calls.”