- Check and/or replace your air filter - A dirty air filter restricts airflow and can prevent your furnace from providing it's full heating capacity your home. Replacing the air filter prior to an extended cold spell gives your furnace it's best chance to keep you warm.
- Bleed/purge the air from your radiators - Every homeowner with a boiler and cast iron radiators should own a small $2 tool that helps bleed the air from their radiators and boiler piping. When air is entrapped in the system it can prevent hot water from circulating through the entire system and reduces effective heat transfer.
- Set and forget your thermostat - When outdoor temperatures are extreme, setting the temperature back a few degrees in the evening or while you are away will cause your system to work much harder upon your return (i.e. not saving money). In fact, when outdoor temperatures dip below 0°F, your home may not ever be able to recover the extra 2 or 3 degrees it was set back if the heating system has been sized appropriately.
- Speaking of sizing, when we experience temperatures well below 0°F your heating system will likely seems like it never turns off and may not be able to sustain a toasty 72° throughout your home. Most heating systems in our area have been sized for 6°F with a small factor of safety to prevent paying for more furnace than is necessary and system short cycling. If your furnace or boiler seems to be running and is producing warm air/water, chances are you don't need a service call...even if the temperature in your house is a few degrees cooler than you have the thermostat set for.
- Check and confirm the PVC intake and flue pipes for your furnace and boiler are clear of obstructions and have not developed a "snow ball", causing your system to shut itself down. If you find this to be the case, clear the obstruction and cycle the power to return your system to operation.
- If you have an alternate heat source such as a fireplace, gas longs, insert or wood burner make sure it is in good working order prior to the cold spell and plan to use it throughout to help the primary heating system keep up with the increased demand.
- For people with heat pumps and all electric heating systems, don't be afraid to drop the temperature setpoint on your thermostat a few degrees to help keep your electric bill in check. With sub-zero temperatures the heat pump will be unable to provide the full heating capacity required for your home and the emergency resistance heat strips and their increased energy consumption will be necessary to maintain the temperature of the home.
These tips and tricks are not meant to be all inclusive, but are a good start for ensuring your home remains warm for yourself and your family. Not only can these tips be used throughout the upcoming cold spell, but in future winters as well. As always, should your home's heating system experience difficulties at any time Comfort Control has NATE Certified HVAC technicians on-call 24/7/365 to help get your system back into operation.