Closings and delays

Fall chill a reminder to prepare for winter

The cool mornings we've been dealing with lately already have technicians like Eric Schroeder with Eanes Heating and Air visiting homes across the Piedmont.

"Anything could occur while the furnace has sat all summer," Schroeder said. "I've seen things crawl up in pipes, getting into burners, and there are a lot of things that could go wrong by you not using it, just sitting there."

Now heating systems are no longer sitting idle. Homeowners are turning on the heat for the first time this season. But some folks are still sitting in chilly homes.

"Some things we've found, igniters going bad, capacitors going bad, majority of what we find is cleaning," Schroeder said.

At a Thomasville home, Schroeder is cleaning and checking motors on the furnace to insure the heating system will continue to bring the heat.

"It's nice knowing I do help people when it's extremely cold and extremely hot," Schroeder said. "It's nice to know that I can provide a service so people can be comfortable in their own home."

To maintain that comfort, Schroeder says we can do some things on our own to save a few bucks. Checking your air filters once a month is a good idea. A clean air filter will help your system operate efficiently. Most homeowners are also upgrading their standard thermostats to programmable thermostats. Some studies say programmable thermostats can take 10 percent to 20 percent off of their utility bills. Plus Schroeder says if you know there's a problem, act fast.

"Another thing, if you hear some kind of strange noise, most people know what their system sounds like, that should be your first indicator to stop and call somebody," Schroeder said.

Plus it's easier to track down a technician now before the winter cold arrives.

"The key thing is as long as you get your system checked before it hits," Schroeder said. "Then you won't have the rush everybody trying to call at one time. So when the cold comes you are not stuck."