Dean Heating and Cooling is located on 6430 Old Rte 33.

Heating company president shares how to make the most of home heating systems in the winter

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — As the days get shorter and nights get colder, many homeowners turn to heating systems to warm their homes. However, using more heat leads to higher bills.  

Ken Dean, president of Dean Heating and Cooling, has been in the industry for 40 years. He said heating companies often see an influx of people in the winter months because they wait until it is cold to turn on their furnaces. Then they find problems with the system and panic because it needs to be fixed when it’s already cold outside. 

He recommends making sure your heating system is running properly before the temperature drops. 

“I would encourage people now, turn your furnace on, run it for 30minutes, see that it’s working before it gets cold,” he said.

The lower the temperature the house is set to the less energy that is used, which will save homeowners money.

Dean said a properly sealed house is also key to saving money when it comes to heating. A professional test called a “blower door test” can expose where air is entering or escaping in the house. 

Additionally, electric space heaters are an alternative to using a heating system all the time. They may not reach every nook and cranny of a house like a furnace does, but they can be rather inexpensive to use and can focus heat on a specific area, Dean said.

Another important thing for homeowners to keep in mind during months of high-furnace usage is to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Exposure to the toxic gas can be prevented through a carbon monoxide detector and annual inspections of fuel burning appliances. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly if it goes unnoticed. Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled or heard.

The Corporation for Appalachian Development (COAD), is a local non-profit organization that provides resources for those in the area, like carbon monoxide testing and training for conducting it. 

There are many local resources to help local residents during the winter months. HAPCAP, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action has a winter crisis program. If someone has a disconnected heating source or one that is threatened to be disconnected, HAPCAP’s program can help. To be eligible for the program, households should have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. 

The Salvation Army on East State Street offers a utility assistance program as well. The Ohio Benefit Bank provides information and referrals to numerous government and public assistance programs such as the Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP.