Posted: January 25, 2016
From Clinton and Fayetteville to Smithfield, Newton Grove and Wilmington, everyone wants to save money on heat, but sometimes, people go to extremes, putting their safety in jeopardy. With that in mind, the heating experts at Parker Gas offer some advice so you can avoid dangerous and costly situations such as frozen pipes and electrical and heating fires.
Use space heaters and wood stoves with great caution
In an effort to save money, some people may shut off their central heating system and use electric space heaters in the most commonly used rooms. But leaving some rooms completely unheated vastly increases the risk of pipes freezing. Using electric space heaters instead of propane heat can also make your utility bill soar. If you do need to use a space heater, always turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep. And always keep pets and children away from space heaters.
Some people also use pellet or wood stoves as a substitute heat source. Stoves need constant maintenance to work safely. Improperly installed stoves increase the risk of a fire. Please take a lot of caution when using stoves!
Don’t close your heating vents
Another common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money but we do not recommend this!
Closing some vents disrupts normal air flow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway. It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program it to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.
If you have a zoned system, you already have the power to vary the temperature in different rooms, eliminating the temptation of shutting the heat off completely in parts of your home.
Never set your thermostat below 60 degrees
When your thermostat setting is too low, you also risk frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.
Keep your heating system clear
Keep any combustible materials away from heating sources, including furnaces, fireplaces and space heaters. In addition, you should never try to block your heating system from view by “boxing it in.” (Some people make this mistake when they’re remodeling their home). If a heating system is improperly vented, airflow will be restricted and create negative pressure. If not corrected, the pressure could lead to combustion gases “back drafting” into the home.
Combustion gases usually exit the home through a naturally drafting chimney/vent. Pressures inside the home can interfere with this process and draw the gases into your home.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions about heating your home this winter. All of us at Parker Gas want you to be safe and comfortable all year long!