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What to Expect from Your Furnace in Subzero Temperatures
Your furnace works hard all winter long, but when temperatures dip below zero, what can you expect from it? Will it be able to keep your Omaha home warm enough. What’s normal? Should it run almost constantly? We answer these questions below so you know what to expect during a cold snap.
- Properly sized and installed furnaces are designed to maintain a 70-degree temperature difference. That means that if it’s 0 degrees outside, your furnace should be able to keep your home at 70 degrees.If it drops below zero, it may have trouble keeping your home at the desired temperature.
- Even when temperatures plunge below zero outside, the structure of a home has “thermal mass,” which resists temperature change. This means that in below-zero weather the heating system will often still be able to keep the desired temperature inside.
- When the outside temperature is in single digits your furnace will run close to 60 minutes per hour. It will either run continuously, or it will shut off for a short time period and then come back on for long cycles. This is normal, and it is okay.
- Because of thermal mass, if you know there is a cold spell coming, you can overheat your home by bumping up the temperature before it drops outside and it will help to keep your home warmer for a while.
- If you use supplemental heat (like an electric heater) don’t use it near the main system thermostat. This may cause the thermostat to assume the entire house is warmer than it is and it will shut off too soon.
- A fire in the fireplace sounds cozy and you might think it adds heat, but fireplaces are notoriously inefficient. It will actually draw a lot of heated air out of the house. Make sure your damper is shut when there is no fire burning to keep air from escaping through the flue.
- Don’t forget that your furnace can only provide so much heat, so if you have water pipes on outside walls, in attics, garages, or crawl spaces, make sure they are insulated or have electric heat tape on them. Also, you can open bathroom vanity doors and doors under the kitchen sink to allow room air to circulate near the water piping and keep it from freezing. You can leave your faucets on a slow drip overnight when temperatures are the coldest and the moving water will help keep it from freezing solid. This works for both cold and hot water taps.