It’s obvious that you need to keep your heating system in good repair during the winter months. It wouldn’t occur to most of us, but it makes good sense, and can even save you cents, to perform maintenance on your system during the summer months.
How can you save money tuning up your heating system in the middle of the summer? There are several ways:
Get educated about your system. At a minimum, understand the components and general operation of your heating system before cold weather comes to town. You should be able to easily find a description of the parts that make up your system on the Internet. If nothing else, this knowledge gives you confidence when you converse with service technicians and helps you make well informed decisions, saving you the cost of unnecessary repairs.
Determine which maintenance or repairs you can do yourself. If you are a do-it-yourself kinda guy or gal, figure out which of the standard maintenance items you might complete during the summer. For example, almost anyone can do a simple thing like change a filter to ensure that air flows freely through the heating system. Again, just like the list of system components, you can search the Internet for a list of maintenance tasks. Identifying and correcting issues yourself will reduce the number of times you need to hire a professional. However, you should be cautioned that if you use propane to heat your home, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re doing.
With propane, it’s especially important that you keep your system in good repair, because unlike heating oil, propane will burn at room temperature. Should a leak develop, the consequences could be devastating.
Don’t be at the mercy of heating vendors in your hour of need. If your system isn’t in good shape going into the fall and winter months and something goes wrong, you might have to scramble to get help. If you are caught without heat, you may not have the luxury of calling around for the best rates on repairs. You might have to pay higher than market rates, and if the vendor has a long queue of contracted customers, you could be put on the back burner for an indefinite period of time.
If your heating system stops working “after regular business hours” you could potentially pay double the normal hourly rate.
Research and compare maintenance contracts. If you don’t feel comfortable about inspecting and maintaining your heating system, think seriously about calling different vendors to understand what types of contracts they offer and at what cost. Each vendor has their own unique service contracts. There is no industry standard. Sometimes, more often than not, it is a wise investment to sign up for a yearly service contract. Vendors may even be offering summertime specials when business is slow.
The few hundred dollars you spend each year to ensure that you have safe and reliable heat can be well worth the investment. A service contract is a type of insurance, which, in this case, ensures that you have heat during cold weather.
Ensuring that your heating system is in good repair and operating optimally is not all about saving money, but also about peace of mind. You can’t put a price tag on your family’s safety and comfort.
Click here to find a comprehensive list of heating oil and propane vendors that also offer heating system maintenance and repairs.