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Severe Winter Weather

I feel the need to talk about the winter super storm that we experienced at Christmas time and what that storm meant to your heating system and your home comfort.

We received hundreds of calls from customers with no heat and with homes that would just not maintain temperature even if the furnace seemed to be running ok.

The cause of most of the no heat calls were determined to be the extreme high winds we experienced which were sustained at 30+ mph and gusted in excess of 60 mph. This caused snow to drift and sometimes block the exhaust systems of a furnace that has the piping installed through the side wall of a home. Plus, just the wind pressure on the exhaust pipes was more than the units were designed for.

Should we see another storm like this in the future, making sure to keep the piping termination clear of snow drifts is super important. Also, there should be no obstructions in front of the exhaust system so the flue gases are able to flow away from the home easily.

In regard to homes that were struggling to maintain a desired temperature inside, this was most likely a combination of the extreme wind and the sub-zero degree temperatures. A properly sized furnace system is designed to maintain about 70 degrees inside when the outdoor temperature is at 0 degrees. With the wind and temperatures we experienced, it may have struggled to keep up during the storm. Why not install a bigger furnace that will handle even 20 below zero temperatures and still keep up? The fact is, on average we see temperatures at or below design for only a few hours per year. Most of the year we are in the teens as lows and around 30s for highs. It is much more efficient and comfortable to have a properly sized furnace 99% of the year. Cheaper to run, quieter, less expensive to buy and will certainly last longer.

Your air filter is the most important item with regards to your furnace running at peak output. Make sure it is clean. Also, do not ever use the 1” pleated filters. 1” pleated filters are very restrictive even when clean and can severely hurt the performance of your furnace. You should have the furnace serviced at least every other year to make sure it is safe and operating as new.