Cold weather coming, heating companies expect to be busy - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Cold weather coming, heating companies expect to be busy

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MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) -

Rain started falling in the foothills Monday evening. It's a sign of what's to come in the next few days. The warm weather of the past week and a half will disappear as a cold front cross the mountains and entrenches itself in the Carolinas.

It means daytime high temperatures will drops from the 70's to the 50's and have many people scrambling to find ways to heat their homes. "We're gonna be busy once it turns cold," said fuel oil delivery driver Alan Barrier.

Fuel oil is at $3.69 a gallon and many people have waited to refill their tanks hoping the price would come down but Barrier says there is no way to predict what will happen with the price. "Ten years ago we could make a guess but we don't even try anymore.

Dee Dee Surratt got an oil delivery Monday and said it has been expensive the past few years to heat with oil but said "I like the warmth it gives." Still, she and others use payment plans to be able to afford the oil.

Some people have switched to all electric or other fuels for heat including wood. "It's a very good heat and can save money," said Martin Keys who cuts and sells wood in Morganton. Keys said the past week has seen steady business but he expects business to pick up dramatically once the cold temperatures arrive.

"We could see triple the business," he said Monday afternoon.

The price of wood will vary depending on the type of wood, type of delivery and the amount. Some folks like David Johnson cut and split their own logs. "It's a lot of work but the exercise is good," he said. 

Experts say no matter what source of heat you use it is advisable to have your system checked out. In the case of wood stoves and fireplaces, they recommend a chimney sweep look at the system to be sure it is not a fire hazard.

In the case oil and kerosene customers, it is recommended that the system not be turned on for at least three hours after a delivery to allow the fuel and the sediment in the tanks to settle. Otherwise, they say, nozzles and other critical parts to the system could clog and expensive repairs could result.

Both suppliers and repair companies urge people to call early. Once the weather changes, they say, customers will have to wait their turn.

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