Expert offers tips for keeping the heat coming during winter months

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - As the temperatures drop outside, inside people are cranking up the heat. That means furnace repair companies are also work late nights to fix overworked heating systems.

Technicians with Same Day Heating and Air said they've received hundreds of calls in the past few days from people who turn on their thermostats, and they don't work. Technician Cleigh Thomas said it's caused him some late nights.

"The phones have been ringing off the hook, staying out until midnight," Thomas said.

Thomas isn't the only one working overtime. As homeowners turn up the heat, furnaces are also working overtime. Thomas said without proper maintenance, the furnaces are having a hard time keeping up.

"Just furnaces that are over temping," Thomas said. "Broken parts. Burnt out parts."

Thomas said he's taken close to 50 calls in the past few days. He's not alone; some companies are booked into January trying to schedule appointments. Unfortunately, Thomas said many of those calls could have been prevented with proper yearly maintenance.

"There's definitely some safety issues that need to be addressed every year," Thomas said. "Making sure your furnace is checked, so you don't have those issues like carbon monoxide, gas pressures, and just overall general inspection of efficiency for the furnace as well."

Thomas said one of the easiest and most important things homeowners can do is change the air filter routinely. Additionally, here are some other tips to keep your furnace from quitting during the coldest time of the year.

Check the thermostat: Thermostats may need to be replaced to ensure they're registering the proper temperature in the room. Also, be reasonable about the temperature you can obtain in your home, especially when it's very cold outside. Having energy-efficient windows and proper insulation will also help retain heat.

Clean the blower: Dust, dirt and debris can occasionally penetrate through the air filter into the blower. It can be accessed through panels by your air filter and be cleaned with a towel.

Clean or repair furnace ducts: Checking for leaks along ducts can help make sure your warm air isn't escaping. Repair cracks or holes and clean out dust to make sure air is flowing smoothly.

Clean the vents: Gas furnaces are hooked to an outside ventilation system. It can often get clogged with dirt and debris. A clogged vent can be dangerous.

Technicians also recommend a full system check up every year from a qualified repair technician.

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