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Heating FAQs

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What should I set my thermostat at to save the most money?

This question depends largely on what you feel most comfortable with in your home. Most families will set their thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter. Businesses often set theirs as high as 72 degrees to make customers who have been out in the cold more comfortable. Keep in mind that maintaining good humidity can reduce the need for heat and allow you to maintain a lower thermostat setting.

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My heat isn't working. Can I use an electric burner or my oven to heat the house?

Never use a non-heating appliance to heat your home. If you have electric heat, the risk of someone getting burned or a fire starting is high. If you have gas, you may even risk a gas leak or the possibility of a fire. If you do not have heat, call a professional immediately for emergency service on your heating system. If your lack of heat is due to electricity or gas outage, call your utility provider and then leave your home to find somewhere safe with heat.

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What should I do with my windows in the winter?

It depends on how they are maintained throughout the year. If you have screens on your window throughout the summer, remove the screens and replace them with storm windows to help prevent heat loss. Sealant tape or insulation can help to block any loss as well. If you have an air conditioner or fan unit in your window, remove it during the winter and seal up the space.

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What is the difference between furnace and boiler heat?

A furnace operates by heating air within the furnace unit and then circulating it through your home through a blower via ducts. The warm air is transported through vents in the rooms of your house to keep you warm.
A boiler is different in that it heats water to just short of boiling (about 180 degrees) and then circulates the hot water throughout your home through pipes in radiators or baseboard heaters. There are also steam boilers that will heat the water beyond boiling and use the resulting steam to heat your home via radiators.

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How many years will my boiler or furnace last?

It will vary depending on the type of system, the amount it's used and the environment where you live. However, most heating systems will last for 15 years and if well maintained, they will often last between 20-25 years. High quality equipment that has been well maintained and cared for over the years may even last longer than that.

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Can I use a wood stove or fireplace to supplement my heating?

If you have a stove or fireplace, in a den or living room, it can help to reduce your heating costs in that room. However, it will only work if the thermostat reading is taken in the vicinity of the fireplace. If there are thermostats in bedrooms or the kitchen where the heat is not fully circulated, your heater may still turn on and use energy.
If you use a fireplace in the winter, make sure you have it properly cleaned and maintained at least once a year. A dirty fireplace or clogged flue can result in carbon monoxide buildup or the spread of fire in your home.

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The Sound Heating Maintenance Program

Planned maintenance to help your HVAC performance.

  • A plan to meet your budget
  • Comprehensive, multi-point inspections
  • Better peace of mind
  • Better system operation and efficiency

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