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Heating FAQs

What temperature should I set my thermostat?

It’s up to you. In the winter, most people are comfortable with a setting of 68° to 72°. At night, or when no-one is home, you’ll save energy if you turn your thermostat down to 55° - 60°. If your home isn’t comfortable - even with your thermostat as high as 72° - you may need an energy audit in order to figure out how to make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills.

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What are the benefits of an energy audit?

An energy audit will show you how to make your home more comfortable and where you’ll get the best returns on your investment in energy efficiency. Perhaps there are drafts that can be reduced? Or areas that need more insulation? An old furnace that can’t keep up with our cold winters any more? Or places where moisture is getting into your home? You’ll get solutions to these problems and many more with an energy audit.

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What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than the old familiar clock thermostats. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. You don’t have to remember to turn the thermostat down at night or when you leave. And if your schedule changes, you can easily override the programmed settings to keep your home warm and toasty.

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How often should I change the air filter in my furnace?

The Energy Co-op of Vermont recommends replacing or cleaning the air filter on your furnace once a month during the winter. This will help your heating system operate at peak efficiency, improve indoor air quality, ensure proper air flow and keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs.

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Where is my air filter located?

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall or ceiling of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, our service technician will be happy to show you where it is located and how to change it during your next annual tune-up.

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Where can I purchase air filters?

Most hardware stores carry a large selection. They are inexpensive, so buy several at a time to make sure you always have one on hand when needed.

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Is it OK to hit the re-set button to get my furnace up and running?

Only a couple of times. If this doesn’t start your furnace, call the Energy Co-op of Vermont and we’ll get a service technician out right away. If you keep hitting the re-set button over and over, your furnace may start eventually – with a loud bang from the accumulated fuel.

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What is priority service for Guardian Plan members?

It’s pretty simple. When it’s really cold, we get lots of “no heat” calls. Many Co-op members need our services. If you have signed up for the Co-op Guardian plan, however, and you call with a “no heat” emergency, you get bumped to the front of the line for service. It’s like walking into a crowded restaurant with a filled seating area, requesting the next open table – and getting it!

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How do I know whether to replace or repair my heating equipment?

We can’t give you a definite answer to this question. It’s a bit like trying to decide when to replace your car. Here are some things to consider:



  • How old is your furnace or boiler? If it’s more than 15 years old, you should think about replacement because new equipment is much mores efficient than old equipment.

  • What is the history of your heating equipment? Has it needed frequent repairs? Is it noisy? Has it been well maintained or somewhat neglected over the years?

  • Are there any rebates or tax credits available to help offset the cost of new equipment? Is attractive financing available? What is the payback from an investment in new high efficiency equipment?

  • Does your current system provide the level of comfort that you want in your home?

  • How much will repairs cost…and how many more will you need in the future? Is keeping an old system running worth the time, money and inconvenience?



Sometimes it's hard to know what to do. When you work with the Energy Co-op, however, we will guide you to the best solution for your home and your budget. Therre is no charge for site visits, estimates and recommendations. And no-one at the the Energy Co-op is on commission - so we won't sell you something you don't need.

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What should I look for when choosing a new heating system?

Here are some general things to keep in mind:

  • Choose an equipment manufacturer with a good reputation for quality and durability. Consumer Reports may be helpful.
  • Choose a high efficiency system for a more comfortable home and lower heating bills.
  • Make sure that your new equipment is correctly sized for your home and climate.
  • Ask if your money is best spent on new heating equipment or something like adding insulation, sealing air leaks or other efficiency improvements.
  • Finally, choose a reliable company for your installation. Talk to your friends and neighbors.

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How much does a new heating system cost?

We can only answer this question by visiting your home, learning about your needs and completing a thorough assessment of your existing heating equipment. The good news is that there’s no charge for this service. Simply contact Joe Cobb (802) 860-4090, joe@ecvt.net,  to schedule a site visit.

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Testimonials from Energy Co-op Members

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I want to thank you for the great service I received from you and those who installed my new furnace.

First, the proposal you presented was very clear and specific – there was no doubt concerning what would be done and the final cost. While your proposal was not the lowest price I received, I was certain there would be no surprises at the end.

Second, I was apprehensive about delay, noise, dirt, etc., but there was practically no sound, and the cellar was left in a very clean condition. The installers were very professional, answered all my questions, did the job quickly and quietly and were finished in one day.

Thanks for making a big job such a good experience.

–Joanne P., Milton

Member: Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Renewable Energy Vermont, Local First Vermont

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