Keeping Warm During Extreme Winter Weather

Ten tips for keeping your family warm and safe at home during extreme weather conditions

Frigid weather and snow are here and can be dangerous. Here are ten tips for keeping your family warm and safe during extreme weather conditions.

1. Lower your expectations about what you can expect from your system. Your heating system was created based on 97.5% of the 100-year average winter temperatures for Houston. This allows it to run more efficiently during normal weather.  However, if we get extreme winter weather you won’t be able to maintain normal indoor temperatures until the outdoor temperatures moderate.

2.     2. Set your thermostat a few degrees warmer than normal prior to the extreme weather and keep it there.  If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure to place it in the ‘HOLD’ position to prevent it from setting back at night.  You can expect your unit to run non-stop until temperatures moderate.

3.     3. If you have a humidifier with a manual humidistat, turn down the humidity setting when the temperatures fall. Please note that you will have to maintain very low settings for this weather to keep your windows from sweating and doing damage to your home.

4.     4. If you operate a high efficiency furnace, keep snow away from the vent coming from the side of your house.

5.     5. Ensure wood burning fireplace dampers are closed when not in use. Some gas and wood burning fireplaces tend to heat one room while stealing heat from the rest of the home. Other types are designed to heat and will help you maintain heat.

6.      6. If you utilize a heat pump system do not switch your thermostat to the Emergency Heat setting.   Heat pumps (with electric furnaces) were designed to operate whatever the outdoor temperature may be. Switching to Emergency Heat will shut off the outdoor unit and reduce your system’s total heating capacity.

7.     7. Shut off registers to unused rooms that don’t have plumbing.

8.     8. For heat pump users, keep drifting snow away from your outdoor unit.

9.     9. Consider using supplemental electrical heating units, like space heaters, for occupied rooms but be sure to follow manufacturer safety recommendations. Explore all safety options before buying one that best fits your home.

10.   10. Protect your plumbing by letting faucets slowly run that are exposed to outside walls. If you plan a vacation make sure to turn off the main water supply to your home when you’re gone and have someone check on your house while you’re away.

Having heating issues? Contact the experts at Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve proudly provided HVAC services for Houston homeowners since 1971.

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