If you haven't fired up the furnace yet you probably will by this weekend. Morning lows will be in the low 40s and highs will struggle to hit 60. Every year we have to report on accidental deaths that didn't have to happen. These accidents always break my heart so in that spirit I urge the following.
Get Your Heating System Inspected -Times are tight and it's easy to cut back on this very imortant item. You can't put a dollar value on the safety of yourself and your family. But beyond the safety issues you may actually save yourself some serious money with an early season service routine. Many times potential problems can be detected and avoided when you catch them early.
Consider A Programmable Thermostat - Many of us adhere to a fairly consistent schedule from week to week. A programmable thermostat can be set to warm up your home in the morning as you are getting ready to leave, automatically turn the temperature down during the day when the home is empty, warm it up in time for your return and cool it down while your asleep. This all adds up to very real savings on your utilities. The programmable units are relatively inexpensive and can easily pay for themselves in one season. If you're just a little bit handy you may be able to save even more by installing it yourself.
Change Your Filters - We've all done it. You find yourself walking around your furnace for a completely unrelated reason when you realize that you haven't changed your filter in months. Here's my suggestion. Turn your furnace on for the first time with the old filter still in place. Allow the furnace to cycle through a few times then change to a new filter. We've all smelled that "burnt" odor that accompanies your first heat of the season. As the furnace fires up it burns dust and other contaminates that have accumulated over the warm season. Let the old filter absorb all that ash before you change to the new one.
Space Heaters - People die every year as a result of accidents involving space heaters. If you choose, or are forced to use space heaters please follow all of the manufacturers safety precautions. For more information you can contact the Red Cross or your local Fire Department.
Stay warm this cold season but most importantly...stay safe!