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Preparing for the winter months

By ALLISON NORLIAN

YORKVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - The cold weather season is fast approaching, meaning time for "winter cleaning" -- specifically in regards to homeowners' furnaces and chimneys.

Furnace cleaning is probably the most important preparation for citizens as the temperatures begin to drop, according to Paul Collis, vice president of Fred F. Collis & Sons, a heating and cooling company located in Yorkville. He and John Lester, dealer territory manager for Hearth and Home Technologies, agree that preparation is key.

Collis said their phones have been ringing off the hook with homeowners asking for their furnaces to be cleaned and serviced. He advises to get it done early because once October and November hit, they are usually booked solid.

"If your system is running inefficiently, it's going to make your bills higher," said Collis. "... So what we do is go to people's home and make sure the filters are clean, check all the burners, make sure it is burning cleanly, no inefficiencies (are found) and make sure everything is safe in the upcoming season."

Lester has a similar opinion and said all individuals with a fireplace or stove should have a chimney sweep before the season.

"Be prepared for the winter season ahead," Lester said. "If you are going to be dealing with wood, you need to make sure your chimney is inspected, that it is clear of any debris or creosote -- which is a build up of burning wood -- and you also want to make sure that the clay liners in there haven't created cracks or (have) damages." He said that most chimney fires begin from improper maintenance.

Homeowners also have the option of servicing their furnaces themselves. Collis said a homeowner can change their own furnace filter and batteries and make sure their vents are clear. He does recommend using a professional in order to make sure gas pressure is accurate and that there is no carbon monoxide present.

Collis said servicing a furnace can be as cheap as $99. Both individuals recommend servicing sooner rather than later.

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