The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


September 29, 2013

Fall heating inspections make for warmer winters

ATHENS — Last Sunday was the first day of fall, which means that cooler weather and the heating season are not that far away.

The North Alabama Better Business Bureau recommends having central heating systems, wood-burning appliances and components inspected before they are fired up for daily use in cooler weather.

A qualified heating contractor should inspect home heating systems annually, the Consumer Product and Safety Commission recommends.

Sometimes overlooked, chimneys, flues and venting systems should also be checked for possible blockage. Birds’ nests and loose mortar are materials commonly found clogging passages.

Make sure the flue, all joints and connectors fit together tightly and are rust or crack free to prevent a back-up of toxic gases. Rust and cracks can cause toxic fumes to leak into homes, resulting in possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

If the inspection reveals an accumulation of soot on chimney walls, a chimney sweep should be hired to clean it. Chimneys should be checked and cleaned, if necessary, on an annual basis. Also, the BBB advises it's a good idea to check out chimney sweeps before hiring one.

For owners of wood stoves, be sure the stove and stovepipe were installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and local codes. If there is any doubt, a building inspector or fire official can determine whether it has been properly vented and installed an appropriate distance away from any combustible surfaces.

Always operate the stove within the manufacturer’s recommended temperature limits. Too low a temperature increases creosote buildup which could cause a chimney fire. Too high a temperature may eventually cause damage to the chimney and may also result in a fire.

If work is needed on the heating system, hire a contractor with a good reputation for dependable, reasonably priced work. Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations and check out any company being considered with your the BBB.

Get at least two estimates for the work. The bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used.

The U.S. Department of Energy also offers a free checklist of home heating and other energy-related measures that can be taken to improve efficiency that may also help save money.

For more information, visit


Text Only


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee