LUBBOCK, Texas — The cold weather has arrived here on the South Plains, and one Lubbock company has already noticed an uptick in customers reaching out to say their heaters are out.

“Most people plan to get ready for summer because they don’t want to be hot, but they don’t seem to do nearly as much planning to get ready for winter,” said Jim Hamlin, comfort consultant at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning. “So, when it hits, it’s a lot more devastating because you can freeze to death.”

Hamlin said winter is the time when your furnace has to work hardest to heat your home, but many just aren’t taking good enough care of their equipment. He said the average life of a furnace is 12 years, but if it’s well-maintained, it’s not uncommon to see it running for up to 30 years.

Hamlin said the increase in demand for furnace repairs has been rather difficult due to the shortage of parts to fix those AC units. 

“Rather than being able to do the repair that day, we’re having to find stuff from other towns, and have it shipped in and we’re getting people up and running,” Hamlin said. “I would say we’re having 99.9% success finding the part, but it may take a few days longer than it normally used to.”

On top of that, Hamlin said the pandemic didn’t help things either. 

“Because we went for a couple of years where people weren’t letting service techs in their house, I think there’s a bigger demand right now for service,” Hamlin said. “People feel a little bit better about having service techs come into their house to do things.”

Hamlin recommends having a trusted company come out to do a ‘tune up’ before the temperatures drop even lower this winter. 

“You’d be amazed at how many times we go out and people just don’t change their filter,” Hamlin said. “It’s cheap insurance. That filter is there to protect the equipment and keep the dust off the equipment so it will run better.”

Hamlin said dirt is the number one killer of HVAC systems, so keeping your furnace filter clean is of the utmost importance. He suggests replacing the filter monthly.

“If the filter is not capturing the dirt and dust, it’s going through your system and blowing out into your home,” Hamlin said. “If it gets clogged up, it’s going to pull a certain amount of that dirt through your system and it’s going out into your home. You can’t totally cut down on dust here, but you can help it with a good clean filter. That will help with allergies, less dusting and extend the life of your equipment.”

Hamlin’s advice is to just set the thermostat where you are comfortable and leave it alone. He explains that if you keep changing the temperature, it ruins the equipment and will only cost you more when you go to pay your utility bill.