6 Tips to Help Your Furnace Keep Up With the Extreme Cold


It’s cold outside. But we don’t have to tell you that! Every winter we expect extremely cold temperatures, but when the high temp drops to the single digits or below zero it can be even more difficult to keep our homes warm. 

When the weather is this extreme we’re asking (and expecting) a lot of our heating systems. Trying to keep your home at a nice warm temperature when it’s well below freezing outside means that your furnace or boiler is working hard all day long. And even then it may not be able to keep up.

6 tips for keeping the heat in & the extreme cold out

1. Hold off on setting back your programmable thermostat.

Normally, it’s a great idea to lower your thermostat’s temperature setting during the hours that you’re away from home in order to conserve energy. However, this can cause more trouble than it’s worth when it’s excessively cold outside because it will be harder for your furnace to bring your home back up to your desired at-home temperature. During the frigid cold temperatures, set your thermostat on a permanent HOLD around 70 degrees until the weather warms back up to normal temperatures for this season.

When temperatures drop below zero or even below freezing for extended periods of time, sometimes your furnace can’t keep up. If your home is not heating up to the temperature you’ve set, try lowering it a few degrees. The temperature of the air coming out of your vents doesn’t get warmer by turning up your thermostat. Similarly, cranking your heat up will not heat faster. You’re better off choosing a temperature that your HVAC system can realistically reach even if lower than you normally prefer.

2. Keep the air moving with ceiling fans.

In order to ensure energy-efficient heating, make sure you don’t turn those ceiling fans off! Most fans have the capability to reverse the direction on the fan. By reversing the direction, you will not feel a breeze, but it will circulate the warm air that collects close to the ceiling. This will distribute that warm air to the lower parts of the room where it will help to warm the room. When the room warms up, it will register on the thermostat and require the heating system to run less.

3. Change out your air filter regularly.

When it’s freezing cold outside, your furnace needs all the help it can get in order to keep your home warm. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that you have a clean air filter installed during extreme cold weather in order to prevent your furnace from working harder than it needs to. A clogged air filter can decrease efficiency and lead to restricted airflow. If left for long periods of time, a dirty filter can cause wear and tear that leads to premature unit failure.

4. Make sure your air vents are not blocked or obstructed.

The vents that lead outside of your home are often located near the ground level. This leaves them vulnerable to getting clogged with ice and snow. When it’s extremely cold out, check to ensure that those vents stay clear so that your system doesn’t develop performance or safety issues, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.

5. Consider better insulation to seal windows and door gaps.

Seal window and door gaps to block drafts of cold air. You can try an insulation kit, heavy drapes, or even weather stripping and caulking to stop any leaks in your windows. Make sure to keep your curtains closed – it may be dark but those drapes will give you extra insulation.

6. Schedule a furnace tune-up.

In order to achieve the most energy-efficient heating, make sure your system itself is properly maintained so that it can operate properly and longer. Having it routinely serviced is a great idea. Scheduling a routine furnace tune-up can help avoid future issues. Our highly skilled and trained technicians can help your unit run more efficiently and diagnose potential problems before they arise. 

If you have any questions on how to achieve energy-efficient heating during our Iowa winters, please contact Service Legends. We can guide you through these steps to help you get the most out of your furnace, especially when the temps drop to such extremes this winter.

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