Contractors offer tips for heating systems as central NC cold snap approaches

Wake County News

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — Is your heating system ready for the cold weather coming our way?

The last thing you want to worry about when the temps drop is how to keep warm and there are some things to do to keep a system running smoothly.

By the time snow starts to settle on the ground no one has to say that you need heat, but even when the temperature spikes, service calls to HVAC contractors also increase.

“We are very weather-driven in our industry,” said Clay Ewing, who is a field supervisor with Allen Kelly & Company.

On Monday, consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia caught up with service technician Tim Gallatta. At noon, he was already on his fifth service call.

When the temperatures drop, any problems with a heating system are likely to show up —- like at an Apex home Gallatta visited.

John Murray had problems with his heating unit.

“It broke Tuesday and didn’t work and it was getting cold, so it was time to call somebody,” Murray said.

In Murray’s case, the motor for his outside heating unit malfunctioned and required a replacement.

“It’s something that needs to be done or the motor will eventually let loose and stop heating,” said Galletta.

But, some heating problems can be prevented by homeowners doing simple things like changing the air filters in their system.

“What happens is it starves the system for airflow and it can actually overheat the system — airflow is essential to making the systems work,” explained Ewing.

Gas-operated heating systems also have a fan that pulls dangerous carbon monoxide out of a home, and the furnace is supposed to stop working if the fan fails to operate.

But, Ewing says, don’t rely solely on that. Systems need to have a safety backup.

“You need to have CO2 detectors in your home and make sure your batteries are good,” said Ewing.

When winter brings its worst – the “no heat” calls grow critical — so companies like Allen Kelly work to prioritize.

“With the elderly, and with people with only one system, we bend over backwards to get to those folks,” said Ewing.

One other bit of advice to keep furnaces running: don’t crank the thermostat way up when it gets frigid.

By doing that, it’ll make your furnace run constantly, putting a strain on the unit and that’s more likely to cause a breakdown.

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