LUBBOCK, Texas — It’s hard to believe winter is right around the corner. Since colder temperatures are headed to the Hub City, there’s some preparation to consider before switching the air conditioner off and the heater on. 

“The gas heater can be very dangerous if it’s not kept up with and service like it should be,” said Dennis Moore, owner of Bell Heating and Air. 

With the intense heat the last few months, getting your heater ready for winter may be the last thing on your mind. However, experts said it never hurts to give the heating unit a test run before it’s really needed. 

“We ask everyone or we just kind of recommend everyone check everything,” said Ed Espinosa, public affairs manager with Atmos Energy’s Lubbock location. “It’s not bad at all [to] get that licensed professional to come in to look at your heating unit. Maybe ask someone to come and also look at your appliances, make sure those are working properly as well.”

Jim Hamlin, who’s been a Comfort Consultant with Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning for years, said one of the easiest things to help get your heater fired up is something most people miss.

“The number one thing we see in the industry is not changing your filter,” said Hamlin. “That is absolutely number one, and dirt is the number one killer of heating and air conditioning systems.” 

According to Moore, changing out your filters not only keeps you safe, but it can help your wallet too.  

“That’s a big deal with the energy costs because when that filter gets dirty, the fan motor will actually pull higher amperage and it’ll actually cause your electric bills to start going up,” Moore said. 

Changing the air filters can make a difference, but the most important reason to check your heater is because of the gas it runs on. 

“Carbon monoxide is odorless and so you won’t smell it,” warned Moore. “It’s either going to be your stove, your water heater, your gas heater, something like that causing it”

Hamlin reminded folks that it’s important to take carbon monoxide leaks, big or small, seriously because it’s dangerous and potentially fatal, but doesn’t offer a warning outside of an alarm. 

While it may seem extreme to check on the heater when it’s still hot outside, Espinosa said there’s one main reason for all of these steps. 

“The bottom line is we want you and your families to be safe and warm and that is our biggest priority,” said Espinosa. 

If your carbon monoxide alarms sound, or you think there’s a gas-related emergency with a heater, water heater, stove and more, all of these folks said to call 911. However, they also strongly encourage you to call out a trusted HVAC professional to make sure everything is running safe and smoothly. 

If you’re without a heater for these upcoming winter months, experts also warn against trying to heat the home with a stove, or another gas-powered source. These folks said it can leak too much carbon monoxide into the air and become a safety hazard.

If you’re in need of a heating unit, or if you have experience in the HVAC industry, there’s a way you can help the community stay warm this winter. You can learn more about this opportunity at