Nothing is more frustrating than trying to be eco-friendly by putting off turning on your winter heat until you need it for the winter cold, and then it doesn't turn on. You're doing right to not use it until you need it, but you need to make sure it still works since last year before you need it again this year. Dust and moisture collect, the motor has parts which need lubrication, and your vents collect dust when not in use.
You need to prepare for this year's winter. When winter comes this year, it may be colder than you expect or perhaps have experienced in the past, and you need to be prepared for it.
Heat Source Styles and Functions
Your first source of heat is your home's built in oil, gas, or electric, and you need to assure that's going to work through the winter. You make such an assurance by having your heater go through a thorough inspection and routine maintenance early in the Fall season to confirm it is working well and is going to be reliable through the winter.
When the power goes out your regular heating system isn't going to work. Your fireplace will provide heat, but only for as long as you can feed it wood. There are options to set up a generator powered secondary heater, or a gas powered emergency heater. Keep in mind, any means of keeping your house warm is better than running to a hotel because your house will suffer structural damage when it freezes. With that said, stay safe. If your house is frozen there are going to be emergency services on your street to take your family to a library, church, or community center for immediate safety and deal with replacing things later.
Routine Maintenance instead of Routine Problems
When you prepare your house for the harsh winter weather, have your heating system inspected by a professional contractor who specializes in home HVAC systems and can take care of any repairs or maintenance you need. Make sure your emergency backup heating system remains as emergency backup rather than letting your house's heating system fail of its own accord. You're likely to be snowed in for at least a day or two, so make sure you're ready before the winter comes.
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