Cold weather is a good reason why you need fully functional and reliable heating components in your home. Nightly temperatures below freezing are common here in Indianapolis during five months of the year, with January averaging lows of 18 degrees. In the past 10 years, we’ve had winter temperatures that plunged as low as 15 degrees below zero.

Cold weather challenges your furnace and other HVAC system components. To stay comfortable and keep the heating system effective and efficient in cold weather, here are some tips:

  • Schedule annual maintenance. Seasonal preventive maintenance on your furnace components allows a qualified HVAC technician to inspect all heating functions for potential malfunctions, safety issues, or other incipient problems that could turn into a major heating interruption. If the furnace is still under warranty, annual preventative maintenance is typically required to keep the warranty valid.
  • Change the air filter. Low airflow due to a dirty filter is a frequent cause of substandard heating and higher operating costs. A clogged filter strangles airflow, potentially damaging critical furnace components like the heat exchanger and triggering a system shutdown. Inspect the filter monthly and replace it at least every other month.
  • Open all vents in all rooms. Closing HVAC air vents in unused rooms may seem like a money saver. However, this can unbalance airflow throughout the entire house, making temperature control inconsistent. Higher thermostat settings to compensate are common, in turn raising heating expenses. Keeping all rooms at a uniform temperature is best for comfort control and reduced HVAC wear and tear.
  • Get professional service. A heat pump normally develops frost on the external coil in heating mode. However, the unit’s defrost cycle melts it at regular intervals. In extreme cold, however — or if the heat pump has issues such as obstructed airflow or low refrigerant — thick ice accumulates and doesn’t melt away. This may cause an automatic system shutdown, interrupting heating. Professional service by a qualified HVAC technician is usually required to resolve this issue.

For more advice about staying comfortable and reducing costs in cold weather, talk to the HVAC professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.