Get ready for winter

Home comfort tips from CenterPoint Energy's Home Service Plus® (HSP)

Ready for WinterWhen the snow’s piling up and the temperature is dropping it is a bad time to discover your furnace or boiler isn’t working or your fireplace insert won’t produce a warm, glowing flame. CenterPoint Energy's Home Service Plus receives many calls for “help” during the winter that could be avoided with a few simple maintenance steps taken long before that first cold snap.

Furnaces and boilers

  • Check and change your furnace filter every month. A dirty filter only allows a house to maintain temperatures of 60°F – 65°F in sub-zero weather.

    Here's how to check your filter: 
    1. First, shut off the power to your furnace.
    2. Locate the blower compartment (where most filters are found)
    3. Slide out the old and slide in the new filter (be sure flow arrows point towards the furnace or blower).
  • Change the thermostat. Adjust the setting from cool to heat.
  • Schedule an annual furnace tune-up. Ideally, this should be months before the season changes, as fall is the busiest time to schedule a tune-up. Plus, if you schedule a furnace tune-up before it gets cold, you can have your natural gas fireplace tune-up done at the same time to save time and money.
  • Check damper positions. Improve air flow and indoor comfort by checking air ducts to ensure air is flowing to the proper portions of your house.
  • Inspect return vents. If these vents are dusty, have your duct work cleaned to ensure maximum energy efficiency and comfort. Schedule duct cleaning service today.
  • Check boiler pressure gauges. Be sure to check the gauges on your system annually. If the pressure reads low you should schedule a service appointment so an HSP technician can diagnose and make any necessary repairs. 
Energy-saving tip:   
If you set your thermostat back to 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, you’ll save about 5 to 15 percent per year on your heating bill, provided you turn it back 10 to 15 degrees for at least 8 hours each day.

Fireplaces and fireplace inserts

  • Keep the area around the hearth clear of debris, decorations and other flammable materials.
  • Be sure the flue is opened prior to enjoying that first fire of the season.
  • Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions for safe use of your fireplace.
  • Schedule an annual fireplace tune-up to keep your hearth providing years of safe and efficient warmth and beauty to your home.

Humidifiers

  • Clean the filter and drain hose annually.
  • Flush condensing lines once each year with fresh water, followed by a small amount (8 ounces) of 50/50 water and bleach solution. Pour this down the hose to keep bacteria from building up.

Leave major repairs to the professionals.
HSP service technicians are certified professionals who know how to correctly and safely repair your appliances.

Central air conditioners

  • Clear any obstructions from the outside unit.
  • Wash off any debris gently with a hose, being careful to not damage any fins. Be sure to turn the power to the unit off before washing
  • Do not cover the unit, as it may promote moisture build-up that can cause rust or provide a cozy home for small animals that may chew on electrical wires.
  • Schedule a central air conditioner tune-up. Save time and money by scheduling it with your annual furnace tune-up.
Schedule repair service!   
CenterPoint Energy's Home Service Plus repair and maintenance services are available to homeowners throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul Twin Cities Metro Area and in many parts of Greater Minnesota. To schedule service, access our online scheduling tool, or call 612-333-1664 in the metro area; toll-free 877-HSP-1664 in Greater Minnesota.