Heating Advice

This is Wisconsin. Heat is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  Buying a heating system is one of the most important decisions you will make as a homeowner.  Since the late 1940’s Harker Heating & Cooling has been helping the residents of the greater Madison area find the right solution to their heating needs. Whether you just want a basic heating unit, or something that will increase your comfort and well-being, Harker has your solution.

Heating Tips

Furnace and Boilers

  • Change your furnace filter once a month (or every 6-12 if you have a space-gard type filter). Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
  • Have your heating system inspected regularly, especially if it is natural gas. An annual tune-up can reduce your heating use by up to 5%
  •  If you have a forced air furnace do NOT close off heat registers in unused rooms. Your furnace is designed to heat a specific square footage of space and can’t sense if a register is closed – it will continue working at the same pace. Plus, the cold air from unheated rooms can escape into the rest of the house, and condensation can develop on windows and walls.
  • Install a clock-programmable thermostat. If you use it to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you will lower your heating use by up to 10%. A digital thermostat can pay itself off in less than a year.
  • Don’t set the thermostat higher than you actually want it. It won’t heat your house any faster, and it will keep your furnace running longer than necessary.

  • Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don’t let furniture and drapes block the air flow.

  • If your home has a boiler system, avoid covering radiators with screens or blocking them with furniture.

  • If your home has electric baseboard heating, be sure to keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters, and leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out, but open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.

  •  Avoid using supplemental space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they inefficient and expensive to operate, they are also very dangerous.

  •  If you have hardwood or tile floors, add area rugs to keep your feet warm.

  • If you’re going on vacation, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees. This will save energy while preventing water pipes from freezing.


  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully-dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
  • Check the seal on the damper by closing it off and holding a piece of tissue paper inside the firebox. If drafts blow the tissue around, repair or replace the damper.

  • When using the fireplace, turn the furnace to 55 degrees. If you don’t, all the warm air from the furnace will go right up the chimney, wasting energy and money.
  • Add fire-proof caulking where the chimney meets the wall, inside and outside.

  • When the fireplace is not in use, make sure fireplace dampers are sealed tight and keep the glass doors closed. If you never use your fireplace, plug the chimney with fiberglass insulation and seal the doors with silicone caulk.

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