For the last few weeks, Minnesota and the Midwest have been hit hard by extreme winter weather conditions. Minnesota is no stranger to extremely cold weather. The polar vortex gave us extremely cold temperatures that shocked the nation. After that, humidity built up and we got over 30″ of snow in February alone!
Highways, cities, neighbors and business were all shut down. Schools were cancelled in a state where we are no stranger to life in cold conditions and heavy snows. Civilization as we know it came to a standstill as Minnesotans dug themselves out. Those who suffered the worst were those left without heat or electricity. We even ran out of natural gas in some areas. The elderly have been especially susceptible to these conditions as well, having diminished support systems or family who live elsewhere. Minnesotans have done what they have always done, which is to pull together in times of difficulty and adversity.
Thinking ahead With Your Furnace and Water Heater
There isn’t much you can do about the weather other than hunkering down and waiting until it passes. But as the poet says, when sorrows come, they come not in single spies, but in battalions! If something is going to go wrong with your heating system, you don’t want it to happen on the week when a blizzard is testing the weak links in everyone else’s homes too. If something is about to break in your heating system, a big storm is almost certain to test the limits of just about every part on your furnace or water heater due to the added strain that continuous use is going to create. When heating and plumbing crews are racing around town trying to fix everything that has gone wrong, as well as fighting the weather to get there, you will be looking at some serious delays to an ever-growing problem. When it comes to a furnace or water heater, your only alternative might be to leave your home and seek refuge somewhere else!
This can be especially taxing on the elderly, people with small children, those with compromised immune systems, or people without reliable transportation to leave home in these kinds of conditions. Wouldn’t a checklist of some things to look at before you are looking at a complete breakdown of your furnace happens?
Preventative Care & Maintenance
Just like going to the doctor, you can often find indications that something is potentially dangerous just by having a furnace or water heater inspection. One of our service technicians can check the output of your furnace, as well as how well a forced air system is moving air throughout your home. Here are some of the things an inspection will look for to preserve the health of your furnace.
- Replacing dirty filters
- Testing thermostats for proper functioning
- Inspect glowplugs and thermocouples
- Look for corrosion and damage to metal parts
- Leaks in fuel lines
- Holes or pitting in exhaust system
- Install updated thermostats which all for wifi or remote access
Remember to check out our maintenance plan for all your heating and air conditioning needs.
Some things you can do yourself:
- Make sure chimneys and smoke stacks are clear of deep snow
- Drip faucets throughout the day and night to keep pipes from freezing
- Monitor your furnace and water heater for strange sounds, leaks, or smells
- Make sure batteries on smoke detectors and fire alarms are replaced regularly
Carbon monoxide is a serious threat to the health and safety of you and your family. Anytime a carbon-based fuel is burned, Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion–this applies to kerosene, charcoal, coal, natural gas, propane, and even wood to name but a few. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. It bonds with red blood cells, preventing oxygen from being carried through the blood stream to other parts of the body, resulting in death in the event of prolonged exposure. If the Heat exchanger on your furnace or boiler has cracks, carbon monoxide could leak into your home. It’s important to get your furnace inspected yearly to ensure your safety.
Without a functioning Carbon Monoxide detector, symptoms of CO poisoning are the first signs of knowing you are exposed to this deadly gas.
- Difficulty in staying awake or unable to roust if asleep
- Difficulty in breathing
If your carbon monoxide detector alerts you to the presence of this gas, you must get to fresh air immediately and call 911. Opening doors and windows to your home and waiting outside until help arrives could save your life. Medical treatment may be necessary for those exhibiting these symptoms, and if left untreated, may have an adverse affect on your health for a long time.
If your furnace breaks down, this may cause a chain reaction of other problems in your home. Pipes may freeze and burst, causing flooding, water damage, and even mold outbreaks. In sub-zero temperatures, if you are left without heat, your home will quickly begin to cool down to unsafe temperatures. To become hypothermic, the human body needs to only drop down to a core temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t take much, and so it is much better to be prepared and take care of problems before they arise.
People you can trust
It doesn’t take much to make sure your heating and water heater systems are in good working condition. Just having spacial awareness of your home, checking on these often-forgotten devices, and scheduling for regular service can mean the difference between a catastrophe and a few days off from work because of snow.
Disasters do happen, and even though pre-emptive care can eliminate a lot of these problems, we want you to know you can count on Metro Heating and Cooling for when things do get serious. Contact us today to schedule your next inspection, or to replace outdated or damaged furnaces and water heaters in your home. That way the next time a blizzard hits the only thing you’ll be worrying about is shoveling the sidewalk.