Here at Black Hills Heating & Air Conditioning, we want you to be ready for whatever the elements throw at you. In the fall and winter seasons, that means ensuring that your furnace is running smoothly, efficiently, and saving you money. Black Hills Heating & Air Conditioning can assess your water heater, tankless water heater, heat pump, and/or furnace for optimum success, and make sure you’re ready to tackle Old Man Winter. Don’t hesitate to give us a call with questions about your system or to schedule an appointment! If you have already had us take a look or are confident in your system, then read below for some wise tips from the American Red Cross that could potentially help with heating your home!

“Heating the home is expensive and one of the leading causes of home fires,” said Scott Conner, Red Cross Senior Vice President for Preparedness and Health and Safety Services. “We have steps people can follow to cut their risk of starting a fire in their home and to cut down on their heating bills.”Use Alternative Heaters Safely: First, never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave alternative heaters unattended—turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home. Keep all flammable materials and potential fuel sources—including but not limited to newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs—at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves. Place your space heater on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a space heater model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Keep the fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs. Never leave fireplaces unattended. Be sure to have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected once a year.Be Prepared:  Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Check them once a month by pressing the test button, and replace batteries as necessary. Make sure both your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly, and practice your home fire escape plan so every member of your family, including young children and elderly, can get out quickly and safely. Your escape plan should include at least two routes out for every room in the home, and a meeting place outside your home.

Reduce Your Heating Bills: Some experts are predicting that most of the country will see temperatures below normal this winter. The Red Cross offers these suggestions on how to get your home ready for the cold weather.

Simple solutions: Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater. You’ll be surprised at the savings on your heating bill. Close off any rooms you aren’t using and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms.  Make sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture. If you can, buy heavy curtains to help keep cold air out of your home, even in the kitchen. Open them during the day to let the sun help warm your house, and close them at night. Use “fabric snakes,” or old rugs in front of windows and doors to help eliminate drafts.  If you have a wood burning fireplace, use it to cut down on your heating bill. Make sure you close the damper when not in use or heat will escape through it. If you can seal off the fireplace when not in use, do so. Turn off vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom as soon as the job is done.  Set your ceiling fans to blow air down.Insulate: Drafts mean cold air is leaking into your home. Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround your windows and door moldings. You can also cover windows with plastic sheeting. If you have storm windows or storm doors, get them up to keep the cold out. Cold air can even seep into the house through outlets, so insulate your light switch and outlet plates with foam pads.”With more than 18 years in the air conditioning and heating repair business, Black Hills, Inc. Air Conditioning and Heating has become a leading indoor comfort specialist serving Olympia, Tumwater, Chehalis, Tacoma, Puyallup, and Spanaway in Washington state.