WILMINGTON -- Now that you've got the heat turned on in your home you may be thinking about how to keep your gas or electric bills from skyrocketing. Wilmington resident Kim Bryan said, "We actually turned it on about a week ago, so when the evenings get bellow 60 we turn it on." Before Bryan turned on her heat, she got it checked out. "We have maintenance before we turn the heat on and before we turn the air-conditioning on so there won't be any problems and it goes on fine," Bryan said. Bryan says a check is a good idea for homeowners. "If their heat pump isn't working and your emergency heat comes on that could make your bill skyrocket," she said. Money aside, experts say malfunctioning heating systems could also be dangerous. Airmax Heating owner Stephen Beacham said, "[We] really want to make sure that we're not having any problems with the heat exchanger leaking on some of the older units, it could cause carbon monoxide to get into the home, we know what happens with carbon monoxide in the house." There are signs that your heat may not be working properly. "If your thermostat's not holding the temp for example you have it set on 75 and it's not reaching 72, then you've got a problem," Beacham said. If there's any type of odors or abnormal smells make sure there's not something going on, it could be an electrical problem or gas leak problem. "Home heating experts say one of the easiest ways for homeowners to keep their heating systems working is to check the air filter at least one a month and change it if it's dirty," Beacham said. These things needed to be cleaned so you'll have proper air flow which is going to affect your power bill if you don't have proper air flow." Beechum says the bottom line to save money and keep your heater running is to keep them maintained. The older your heating equipment is, the more often it should get checked out. If you have a newer system, you are advised to get a maintenance check twice a year, during the heating and cooling season.
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