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Cold Weather and HVAC

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Jan 07, 2014, 05:46 PM
Jacob Hurwith
Cold Weather and HVAC
Does anyone know if cold weather can affect your furnace or boilder in the home?

Any help is much appreciated.

Thank you.

Jacob Hurwith
Jan 07, 2014, 08:08 PM
Since you indicated boiler, I gather that you distribute the heat in your house with hot water. Cold weather itself should not hamper the operation. However, if your system is marginal it may be that it cannot keep up with the demand required in cold weather. If, however, you have a heat pump cold weather would affect the heat output; heat pumps do not work well in cold weather, and typically use a back-up system (electric strips or gas) to supplement the heat.
Jan 07, 2014, 09:26 PM
oh, heck, yeah. that's what happened after the thermocouple failed on Nicole Curtis' house in Minneapolis the first subzero stretch this winter. froze everything out, busted, water, ice. going on two weeks with an uninhabitable home herself.

so first off, as the wife found out while we were still going together, you need to have a spare thermocouple, plastic envelope tacked to the wall next to the boiler, because they will burn through regularly and stop the gas to the burner. replacement is a DIY job to the same exact spot in the path of the flame.

you need enough combustion air for a blue flame at the burner, but not too much to cool the room below 50 degrees or so. we have local experts in the paper who say water pipes should never go below 50 degrees.

beyond these things, the only effect of cold weather is they cause more heat loss in the home, and thus make the call for heat more often and the boiler burn more.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jan 08, 2014, 10:31 AM
Jacob Hurwith
Thanks guys. Very helpful. Overall, form my research and what you said ****, it does sound like cold weather can the direct cause of boiler issues.

Any thoughts on how cold weather can affect furnaces or other heating systems?

Thank you so much again!

Jacob Hurwith
Jan 08, 2014, 11:23 AM
JH, are you thinking of installing a new HVAC system or replacing an existing one? Some more details on your needs and plans might help address your concerns. Also, it would be helpful t-o know the area in which you live, whether it's a frigid climate, consistently cold, or just occasionally cold.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jan 08, 2014, 11:27 AM
Jacob Hurwith
Hi Garden,

** be honest, I am a blogger and thought this would be a good **pic of discussion given the cold temps. going through the U.S.

On a side note, I live in Chicago so when we talk about cold, we mean really cold.

Jacob Hurwith
Jan 08, 2014, 12:57 PM
A really long extend cold spell will strain a marginal system and may cause it to fail due to the long running times trying to keep the house warm. A system in good working order should be able to run close to 7x24 without any issues.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Jan 09, 2014, 10:06 AM
Jacob Hurwith
Thanks everyone for all your help!

Jacob Hurwith