This time of year can be challenging for your heating system so here are some tips to keep it running and prevent an emergency service call.
- If you have a high efficiency gas furnace, make sure your plastic flues are free of ice and snow. If they get blocked, your furnaces safety controls will prevent it from running.
- In the case of a heat pump, freezing rain or a drippy gutter can overcome your outdoor unit with ice. If ice builds up on your heat pump condenser fan, it can be out of balance and cause the blades to crack. Should you experience this, just pour warm (not boiling) water over the fan area to melt the ice.
- Some digital thermostats take batteries, so if you have a blank screen check to see if your batteries need changed.
- If you have an oil furnace, and moisture has entered your fuel oil system, and the temperature drops far enough, that moisture will freeze and block the flow of oil. Be sure your fill cap is in place and tight and that your gauge glass isn’t cracked. Those are the two most common places water enters a system. As well, you are better off to keep your tank full in the summer so that the tank doesn’t condensate, which causes rust, which flakes off and can also block your fuel line, filter, and/or nozzle. When you have oil delivered it often stirs up sediment and can clog the oil line filter and nozzle so have extra on hand.
- Ensure all inside drains are not blocked by mold. This can cause water to run into your furnace or your safety may engage to shut down your system . Flush with a bleach/water solution.
- Check your air filters. Keeping them changed or cleaned goes a long way toward preventing overload of components.
- Power fluctuations often occur during extreme weather so check fuses and breakers to make sure they haven’t blown or been tripped.
- If you have the old type standing pilot furnace, make sure to have an extra thermocouple on hand.
- Since oil and gas has hit the area, many people have free or reduced priced gas from wells on their property. These well supplied systems can also freeze, so check to be sure that hasn’t happened before assuming you have a furnace problem.
- Have a secondary source of heat available whether that be an electric heater, kerosene heater, or vented or unvented natural or propane gas heater. Follow manufacturer safety instructions for their use. They won’t heat your entire house but may prevent water lines from freezing.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful in resolving or preventing simple issues and thereby save you money.