Experts provide safety and efficiency tips for heating your hous -

Experts provide safety and efficiency tips for heating your house

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As temperatures drop, heating bills and dangers have the tendency to rise.

But there are ways to make sure your heating system is working at it's peak efficiency, and as Bob McAllister, of McAllister The Service Company, says, it starts with the filter.

"Change your filters. If you filters look like this, please go out and buy a new one and that saves on your costs, that saves on your heat going through your house," said McAllister.

McAllister also recommends switching from propane to gas heating to also help lower costs.

In order to conserve electricity during this cold weather, it is suggested you lower your thermostat a few degrees. But experts warn against lowering it too much, as your heating system may never be able to catch up.

"If you set it back too far, on cold nights, its going to have a hard time catching up,” said McAllister. “People tell us they can’t catch up, it’s ten in the morning and still only 68 degrees. Well the heating is running as hard as it can and it just can’t maintain the temperature. It can’t come back from where they set it before."

And it’s not just about keeping warm, special attention also needs to be given to pipes that may be exposed to cold air.

"Your vents, make sure they're closed. You got pipes down there; cold air causes the pipes to freeze. We've seen a lot of freezing pipes this year," said McAllister.

During the last streak of cold weather, Chief Dennis Brooks of the Atlantic City Fire Department says there were roughly 42 calls for broken pipes in a 24–hour period.

As people also look towards their household fireplace for warmth, the chief is asking residents to be cautious.

"You should make sure first of all, the flue is safe and it doesn't cause a fire anywhere else in the house. If the flue is not in tact, you could have a fire spread through to house," said Brooks.

Chief Brooks says fireplaces as well as space heaters should not be left unattended, and residents should make sure pets, children and combustible objects are kept away from the heating sources.

And while things may get chilly, experts say it's not safe to use non–conventional heat sources.

"Don’t take the vent on your dryer trying to heat the house, don't take and turn the stove on trying to heat the house, use your heater to heat the house,” said McAllister.

Atlantic City Electric is asking customers to conserve electricity tonight from five to nine p.m. Customers are also asked to use major electrical appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers hours during off-peak hours.

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