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Now is time to service your home heating system to improve safety, efficiency, and save money

9/20/2017 11:01:32 AM

Even though much of Minnesota has experienced a warm late summer, now is the time to make sure your heating system is working properly so you are prepared for the cold temperatures that are sure to come. 

A home furnace or boiler should be inspected and adjusted every year to ensure safe and efficient operation. It will help you save on your energy bill, too.

ENERGY STAR®, the government-backed program that certifies energy-efficient products, says dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating system inefficiency and failure.

The Minnesota Commerce Department and ENERGY STAR suggest the following measures to improve the efficiency and safety of your home heating system:

  • Change your furnace filter regularly. Check your filter every month, especially when in heavy use, and change it if it looks dirty. At a minimum, replace the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder and waste energy.
  • Tune up your heating equipment yearly. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve gas mileage, an annual tune-up of your heating system can improve efficiency and comfort. Schedule a tune-up now before the peak heating season arrives and heating professionals get too busy. Check out ENERGY STAR’s Maintenance Checklist and Ten Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor.
  • Install a programmable or smart thermostat. You can save both energy and money by automatically changing the temperature of your home based on the time of day and whether you are at home or asleep. 
  • Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Leaky ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your system by 20 percent or more. 
  • Consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment. If your system is not performing efficiently or seems to be near the end of its useful life, have it evaluated by a heating and cooling contractor and, if necessary, replace it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. It’s better to plan and replace your furnace or boiler now, before it fails in mid winter. 

For more information, see ENERGY STAR’s Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling. Also, check out the Home Heating and Home Cooling sections of the Home Energy Guide, a publication of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department's Energy Information Center at or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

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