Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE, Fellow PRSA (704) 927-8617 office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Southern Piedmont area was hit this week with record cold temperatures in early January. The "Polar Vortex" caused problems with heating units and may result in higher than normal utility bills.
The BBB has advice for how you can stay warm during the winter. "Heating units can be the most expensive equipment in your home," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. "Given the large number of contractors and companies that provide heating and air conditioning service, it is important to distinguish between the good and the bad."
“In the past 12 months, consumers have checked out heating and air conditioning services with the BBB more than 154,000 times,” Bartholomy said. “However, consumers have only filed 198 complaints during the same time period because they are doing their research to find a company they can trust.”
Emergency service - If your heating unit breaks and you need emergency service, the BBB has these tips:
- Check out heating and air conditioning contractors with the BBB. It only takes a few minutes to find a company with a good track record for service.
- Make sure that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers and high pressure sales pitches for heating systems, windows and roofing.
- Don't fall for devices and products that promise drastic reductions in home heating costs.
High utility bills – Low temperatures also mean high utility bills. "Many people go without heat because they can't afford it," said Bartholomy. "Unfortunately, extreme cold can be deadly."
Home maintenance - The BBB has these tips for making your home more energy-efficient year round:
- Have your heating and air conditioning system inspected and serviced each year.
- Check your attic, garage and basement to make sure your home is well-insulated.
- Clean or replace air conditioning and furnace filters on a regular basis.
- Install a programmable thermostat and keep your home at a set temperature.
For more information, please visit BBB or call the BBB toll-free in N.C. and S.C. at 1-877-317-7236.