The cold temperatures are keeping a lot of people bundled up inside and are a busy time for furnace technicians.
Temperatures this low can be the death of older furnaces and Home Comfort Experts said techs have been running non-stop today checking out failing furnaces.
They said during frigid temperatures that homeowners will either be thankful or wish they checked their furnace before the cold arrived.
Terry Taylor knew something wasn't right when the temperature in his home kept dropping.
“It ran but it never got higher than 67 degrees,” said Taylor. “Then today, it got a little higher, but then it started to go down again.”
That's why he ended up calling for help. Joe Walker has had a busy day of solving problems just like this.
“This is my fifth no-heat today,” said Walker, who’s a Home Comfort Service Technician.
He said when temperatures get bone-chillingly low that furnaces work overtime.
"As cold as it’s been out the past couple days, for sure furnaces have been running the better part of every day,” said Walker.
Constantly running can put too much stress on a furnace.
“If there is something there to break, that’s the time it’s going to break, they don’t break in June when they don’t run at all,” said Walker. “When you put it through the ringer like the weather is doing right now, that’s when you find out if your furnace is going to break or not.”
In Taylor's case, it was a dirty filter, an all-too-common find for Walker today.
“The majority have been preventable maintenance type issues -- plugged filters, clogged drain lines, dirty sensors,” said Walker.
Walker said something as simple as a dirty filter can cause something called short cycling, whereas homeowners may think everything is fine.
“It kicks on, the fire comes on, the fans come on, you hear it and feel it coming out of the vents, but then the temperature in the furnace will get too high,” said Walker. “The safety features kick in and it will shut the fire off, cool itself down and then try to recycle again.”
Taylor said he is relieved it was a simple fix, but both know waiting to solve the problem could be a major problem.
“You got a lot to lose if something goes wrong, I’ll tell you that,” said Taylor. “You don’t want anything to go wrong especially in this kind of weather.”
“It’s not safe for the people in the house, pets in the house, it’s not good for your plumbing,” said Walker. “Plumbing can freeze if you got a long time without heat. Your furnace is one of your most important things in your house. You have to have heat to survive.”
Walker said if people have not had their furnace checked this winter, they should make an appointment as soon as possible. That way they don't get stuck in line with everyone else waiting for a technician to come when something goes wrong.