Winter proofing is more than preventing slips and falls.

According to Steve Smylie, president of Smylie One Heating, Cooling & Plumbing Co. in Bedford Heights and Chesterland, and Paul Wadsworth, president of P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling in Solon, safeguarding the home can also protect one’s wallet.

Both professionals suggested some weatherproofing exercises. But, it’s most important to have professional do a system check.

“I suggest first having a furnace tune-up done to make sure your furnace is operating correctly,” Smylie noted. “Most people don’t realize that furnaces also run during the AC months as well. So, we go into winter, and people don’t plan ahead and then they have no heat.”

Wadsworth added, “The biggest thing I would tell people is to turn on your heat well before you need it. If you wait for the first cold day and it doesn’t work when you turn it on, you’re now calling the same time as the other people who are having a problem. Make sure it runs, and then have a professional come in and do a system check and tune-up.”

Smylie also suggested homeowners also make sure their windows are locked and sealed, that all the registers are open and that furniture isn’t blocking the registers Wadsworth also suggests people change their heating and cooling filters and perform regular preventative maintenance.

Starting winterproofing earlier in the season can prove to be beneficial.

“It is important to get started early because every heating and cooling company gets busy as the season gets closer,” Smylie noted. “Booking and doing all the work should be done as soon as possible because it’s going to start getting cold, and colder, sooner than you think.”

Wadsworth added getting started early is good, but not too early.

“You want to test early on yes, but the true tests should be done in January and February so you can see your system under stress instead of when it’s not regularly operating,” he said. “It’s like a stress test at the doctor.”

If winter proofing isn’t completed before the season, homeowners could see expenses go up.

“If you don’t do maintenance, a couple of things could happen,” Wadsworth began. “The system gets dirty and will have more wear and tear. That will reduce the life expectancy and the cost of repair then goes up. You’re then, again, standing in line for repairs with everyone else who waited.”

Smylie said, “The worst thing that could happen is homeowners find out they can’t heat their house to the temperature they want, and then they could have extremely high utility bills. You want to make sure everything is safe. It’s about comfort level, operating costs and safety.”

Both professionals offered a final piece of advice for homeowners.

“You know your own home and when something feels wrong, 80 percent of the time, there is,” Wadsworth said. “If you approach that quickly, the repair is always easier and cheaper. Ask your friends and neighbors whom they consult and who they are comfortable with. And it’s also best to be there with your technician when they are going through your potential problems and system. They could even teach you things. A picture is worth a 1,000 words, but seeing something is worth 10,000.”

Smylie added, “With the internet today, you can go online and get information. Professionals are more than happy to send you in the right direction. Start with a furnace tune-up and inspection. It’s a small amount of money for a great investment.”

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