Keeping Your Heat Going in the Cold

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some Stateline families are having problems keeping their homes heated in these frigid temperatures. In fact, one heating company we tagged along with, got at least 176 calls today alone, from people without heat. But there are some things we can do to make sure our homes stay heated.

The warm air feels good on Billie Spatafora's hands. The heat in his house is finally back on after it completely shut off this morning, on one of the coldest days in Rockford.

"I woke up cold and I didn't know what was going on and I didn't think to check (the furnace), and it just kept getting colder and colder, finally I checked it and it was under 50 degrees," said Spatafora.

That's when he called Allen Heating and Cooling in Rockford to check his furnace.

"In this case we're in the basement with a dryer in the same room with the furnace, which gives off lint and stuff like that, and just over time that flame sensor is always in the flame pattern so it gets build-up on it, it gets dirty," explained Zach Miller, service technician with Allen Heating and Cooling.

Miller says the most important thing homeowners can do to make sure their heat doesn't go out, is to maintain their furnace. Experts say if you have a high-efficient furnace you should get it cleaned once a year, but if you have a non-high-efficient furnace, you can probably wait a couple years for a cleaning.

However Mills said, "The 80 percenters and stuff like that, you might be able to get by, but therein lies the problem of waking up to a 50 degree house."

If you're handy, you might be able to tackle the cleaning yourself, but Miller says most people don't know enough about it.

"We're cleaning flame sensors, we're cleaning burners if they need them, we're vacuuming stuff out, wiping it down, checking gas pressures," explained Miller.

On cold days like today, heat is pumping more often which could magnify all the little problems that already exist in a furnace.

If you hear strange noises in your house on really cold days, Miller says a "popping" sound could be the heat-cold transfer or even the start of a blower motor bearing going bad, so he says to just monitor the noise and if it continues get it checked out.

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