Deep Freeze, Dead Furnace

Feb 23, 2019

This time of season, we’re all about Winnipeg heating repair. We just got through one of the deepest freezes we’ve had in years, with -50 wind chills affecting us for the first time in years. Some of the coldest weather on record happened during the cold snap in January, and that meant non-stop furnace repair and maintenance; there’s a lot of furnaces that just can’t handle that level of cold. Part of the reason is that your furnace may have to work overtime in order to heat your home in those conditions, especially if your home isn’t particularly well insulated. There are a few things you can try during a cold snap in order to keep your furnace running at optimal efficiency, or to keep warm while you hunker down and wait for repairs.

You probably have vents that lead to and from the furnace in your home to the outside world, both in exhaust and intake forms. These vents can get clogged up with snow and ice, especially during cold snaps. For older gas furnaces, this poses a significant risk, as carbon monoxide can accumulate, though newer models usually have security features that turn them off when vents are clogged. Obviously, your furnace turning off isn’t optimal either, so you’ll need to clean off those vents either way. Fortunately, this is usually a pretty simply process; simply brush off the snow from the outside, and carefully remove it from the inside of the vent with your gloved hands (or ungloved, if for some reason you want to risk frostbite).

Proper winter furnace maintenance includes regularly changing your filters. How often filters need to be changed depends on the type of filter you’re using, as well as the type of furnace you have installed. There are some that need to be changed yearly, and others that need to be changed monthly; for the smaller, monthly filters, be sure to stock up before winter, so you won’t have to go out in the cold to find a new filter when it’s time for a change. There are other filters designed to be cleaned instead of being replaced, as well. When filters are too dirty, it can cause the furnace to turn off and on before the house is fully heated, which can cause serious problems in the middle of a cold snap.

When you’ve checked the filter and the vents, and your house is still too cold, it might be time to call a furnace repair professional. There are other steps you can take at home, like checking your thermostat, but when it’s time to call a professional, there are a few steps you can take to keep warm. Use a space heater, but be sure not to have it positioned near anything flammable, and be sure to turn it off when not in use. Doing housework or other physical activity is another good way of keeping warm, and when you have hardwood or another conductive flooring, use blankets in order to insulate the area.


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