La Crosse furnace technician explains how you can keep the cold out of your home during cold snaps

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — When it is this bitterly cold, people sometimes turn to unreliable or even unsafe ways to heat their homes.

This makes it that much more important to stay on top of your heating.

When the arctic blast comes through, heating companies have to step up their game.

“We’re on the ball,” said John Leisgang, a service technician at Bagniefski Heating & Air Conditioning. “When people call with no heat, we have to get there.”

Your heating system can break down at anytime, but failures can be preventable.

Leisgang recommends keeping an eye on all elements of your heating system.

Otherwise, gas meters can become covered in snow.

“If the bottom of the vent gets covered in snow or ice, then it can’t breathe,” Leisgang said.

And furnaces can break down.

“Furnace filters — I can’t preach that more,” said Leisgang, adding that a new furnace filter costs roughly $10.

Leisgang says to check on your furnace filter once a month. Otherwise, it could start to discolor, which could lead to more problems with your furnace.”

“Your furnace is actually working harder and getting hotter,” Leisgang said. “If they’re discolored, off-white, you probably want to change them.”

Space heaters can be convenient, too, as long as you use them properly.

Space heaters should be on a bare floor and not near anything flammable, said Pat Corran, community risk educator for the La Crosse Fire Department.

“We want to make sure that the space heaters are plugged directly into a wall,” Corran said.

When they’re not used correctly, it can lead to a tragedy.

Space heaters cause more than 80 percent of heating fire deaths, Corran said.

“It’s when they’re used improperly, or aren’t used for the manufacturer’s recommendations, that’s when you get into trouble,” Corran said.

It doesn’t take long to check your heating system.

“Just be observant. I mean, that’s the biggest thing.”

So that you can save money, and possibly, a loved one.

It is also important to make sure your space heater has the approval of an independent laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories, Corran said.

Turn space heater off at night, he said, noting that most fires related to space heaters happen during the nighttime hours.

Maintaining a constant temperature in the house also will save energy and money, Leisgang said.

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