Home Heating System Questions & Answers

A fix may be as simple as relighting a pilot light or changing an air filter; however, not all home heating system issues should be tackled DIY. Get some answers to common questions and learn what’s the best next step for you.

For emergencies call Berkeys now at (972) 464-2057.


Q: How can I save on my heating utility bill?

A: These tips can save you dollars:

  • Keep the thermostat at a constant temperature. Frequent changes will use more energy by causing unnecessary cycling on and off. Setting the temperature back at night is recommended.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed. Oil-fired and gas-fired equipment should be professionally cleaned and tuned once a year.
  • Clean air registers and baseboard heaters. Make sure they’re not blocked by anything (e.g., carpeting, draperies, and furniture).
  • Close the door to an unoccupied room and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heat for that room or area.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans off as soon as they are no longer needed. Fans can pull warm/cool air out of the home.
  • Check ducts for air leaks. Special tape is required to mend leaks. Do not use duct tape.

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Q: How often should I change my filter?

A: If you have a standard disposable filter, once a month will suffice. We recommend that you replace your filter every time you get your utility bill. Also, filters vary in thickness and efficiency. Consult a Berkeys technician to learn how often you should clean or replace your filter.
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Q: I have no heat and its midnight, what do I do?

A: Most heating problems arise from older systems, as parts age they are more suitable to failure. Turn the thermostat to off and contact Berkeys.
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Q: I smell gas, what should I do?

A: If you smell gas in your home, immediately open some windows and then call your local gas company and report the smell or call Berkeys. The gas company/Berkeys will turn off the gas. You can shut the gas off as well. Locate the gas meter which is usually located on the side of the house. The gas meter has two pipes connected to it; one comes from the ground and one goes into the home. The gas riser coming from the ground has a valve on it; the valve cannot be turned off by hand; you’ll need a pipe wrench to the turn the valve off. The valve is off when the lever is turned horizontal. Once the valve is off, you should immediately contact Berkeys to diagnose and repair the problem.
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Q: Is annual maintenance necessary?

A: Yes! Your heating system operates for 4-6 months every year and if any component does not work in harmony with the rest of the system, you’re losing money and efficiency. Technicians providing regular inspections can detect problems before they escalate. Additionally, regular maintenance can spot dangerous operating conditions that can lead to the production of carbon monoxide, which can produce a potentially deadly situation. Contact Berkeys to learn about heating system maintenance and the BAM Plan.
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Q: My pilot light has gone out, how do I safely light it?

A: Lighting a pilot can be a lengthy process for someone who never has done it. Additionally, it can be dangerous. A pilot light will go out if the gas supply fails, the gas control valve fails, or the thermocouple fails. You should shut the gas valve off to the heater and then contact Berkeys.
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