Heating systems – even modern ones – can only do so much to keep a home warm in extreme weather scenarios. But how cold is too cold? Here’s what to know about how your HVAC system works in the winter and what you can do to stay comfortable even on the coldest New York nights with the help of Jones Services.
Most heating systems, with the exception of wood stoves and ductless heat pumps, are really only designed to efficiently heat a house at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
For example, when temps drop to -20 degrees with windchill during a snowstorm, your heater probably isn’t going to be able to keep your house a toasty 70 degrees. You might notice that even with your system running at full capacity, your house doesn’t get warmer than 55 or 60 degrees.
Heating systems were generally designed before climate change became a commonly accepted concept, meaning they weren’t engineered to be able to withstand extremely cold temperatures. As the weather gets more unpredictable, you need to be ready to give your heating system a helping hand when temps turn frigid.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping your home warm when your heating system is already doing the most:
Your oven generates a lot of heat, especially if you have a gas stove. Cook food with a skillet, pot, or in the oven to take advantage of the extra heat instead of using cooking methods that don’t generate much extra heat, like microwaves and toaster ovens.
Every time you go in and out of your house in the winter, the temperature inside your home dips and your heating system has to work harder to bring it back up. And the more you do this, the colder your house will get and the more difficult it will be for your heater to work effectively.
Ceiling fans are designed to turn clockwise or counterclockwise and which way they turn can either lift air up or push it down. In the summer, your fans should turn counterclockwise to create a cooling downdraft, and set to turn clockwise on the lowest setting to redistribute warm air more evenly throughout a room.
Your windows and doors are a big source of heat leakage in your house. Like heating systems, windows weren’t made with double-digit below-zero temperatures in mind. While good sealing and insulation around your windows can cut heat leakage substantially, it has a harder time doing so when the cold is that brutal.
Covering them with blankets or heavy drapes can add another lawyer between the outdoors and the inside of your home, helping to keep warm air in and cold air out. You can also use specially designed shrink plastic or vinyl to make a clear covering that still allows sunlight to enter your house.
If your heating system is having a particularly hard time on a very cold night, consider putting everyone in your house in the warmest room in the home. This works really well if you have a space heater or mini split heat pump in the room, but is still effective with central heat or a wood stove.
Then, cover the doors to other rooms or to the outside with blankets to help keep warm air concentrated in that area of the house. This is usually only necessary in the event of an emergency, like if there’s a cold snap or heat just isn’t getting from your furnace to the outer rooms in your house.
With winter quickly approaching, it’s time to prepare your heating system and put a couple contingency plans in place. With each season bringing new, unpredictable, and often never-before-seen weather patterns, you need to be ready to find creative ways to maintain your home comfort.
At Jones Services, we provide comprehensive heating installation, maintenance, and repair, so you can stay warm no matter what the weather is like outside. A ductless heater is a great way to add reliable supplemental heating to any existing system you already have. You can either augment your current system with ductless or primarily use your ductless unit and only turn on your central or baseboard heat when it’s more than -30 below zero. Contact us now for more info about ductless heating at (845) 286-9603.