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4 Easy Ways to Prevent a Cold Weather HVAC Breakdown

(And an Emergency Service Call to Us)

If you’ve lived in Michigan your whole life like we have, you were waiting for it to come: Those frigid, icicles-in-your-eyelashes, single-digit temperatures.  Just last month, you may have heard people say, “It’s been a mild winter so far – Hope it stays that way!”  All of us in Southwest Michigan, know that’s the equivalent of a character saying, “Be right back!” in a horror film when danger is looming.  We can hope for a mild winter, but eventually winter weather wakes up and delivers the snow and bitter-cold temperatures.

With the frosty weather outside, it’s the perfect time to stay warm and cozy indoors.  However, when the weather is cold like this, your furnace actually has to work harder than ever to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.  In addition, chilly weather can cause other issues for your heating system.  

If you want worry-free warmth when it’s bitterly cold outside, follow these 4 tips to prevent a furnace breakdown!

1. Check Your Air Filter and Air Vents

Check your system’s air filter to make sure it’s not dirty.  A clogged air filter not only brings contaminants into the air, but it also forces your HVAC system to work harder than necessary, which increases your energy bill since it needs to use more fuel to heat your home. Generally, you should change your replaceable filter every 1-2 months to be safe and maintain efficiency.

Similarly, look at your air vents and registers and make sure they are free of dust and dirt.  Simply use your vacuum to clean them out, and this will also will help maintain clean air and allow warm air to flow throughout your home better.

2. Keep Outside Exhaust Vents Clear

It’s important to always keep your outside vents, intake valves and chimneys clear. Unfortunately, these are all susceptible to snow and ice buildup that will block the exhaust if it’s not kept clear during the winter, which can lead to your furnace not working properly.  Worse yet, this can also cause carbon monoxide build-up in your home, a poisonous health hazard.

Also, while you’re outside, make sure your AC Unit is still covered up and protected from potential snow and ice damage. 

3. Don’t Crank Up Your Thermostat

We know, it’s intensely cold outside so you want your home to be as warm as possible so it’s tempting to turn up the thermostat.  However, our advice is to resist this urge and keep your thermostat between 68-72 degrees. When it’s frigid outside, your heating system works harder than ever to keep your home warm, especially when temperatures drop to single digits.  It’s actually ideal if you can turn your thermostat down 2-4 degrees below your normal temperature (trust us, you’ll barely notice) to make sure your furnace isn’t working too hard and avoid a breakdown. 

4. Move Items Away From Your Furnace or Heat Pump

One quick tip: If you use your basement for storage and have items like boxes or other clutter blocking your heating system, it can’t draw in warm air as easily and has to work harder to distribute warmth throughout your home.  It’s the perfect excuse to clear clutter out of that area or at least move it farther away to ensure your furnace doesn’t have to work any harder than it has to this time of year.

Last but not least….

As you can see, when it’s freezing outside, it’s important to prevent your heating system from breaking down due to the additional effort needed to maintain a warm home under the duress of icy temperatures.  Our last piece of advice is to schedule a maintenance call with your local HVAC company (hopefully BOSS Services!) if you are unsure if your heating system will survive the cold temperatures.  Especially if your system is 15 years or older, it’s always good to have a technician check to make sure it’s operating effectively before frosty weather hits and challenges it even more.  

We hope you stay warm and cozy indoors while Michigan brings the winter weather our way, but if something should happen that your heat stops working, BOSS Services provides 24/7 emergency service, with real people answering the phones and a team of technicians working around the clock to keep Southwest Michigan residents warm, even under the coldest circumstances. 

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