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Submitted by Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing

January often spells C-O-L-D for much of the country, and this year was no different. Our recent mid-month cold snap brought temperatures down to the single digits, followed by wind and snow. A bitter mix that makes for tough conditions not just on us, but on the comfort systems we rely on.

So, how’s your heating system holding up? Prolonged freezing temperatures put your equipment in overdrive, demanding it work harder and longer. That kind of strain on your system leaves it practically begging for a little TLC.

Your heating and air conditioning equipment operates over 3,000 hours per year, through hot and smoky summers, cold snaps (like this one!), and everything in between. Putting this into perspective, a car driven for 3,000 hours at 60mph would travel 180,000 miles. That kind of road trip requires oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups to ensure the efficiency, safety, and reliability of your vehicle. And just the same, the efficiency, safety, and reliability of your home’s most important systems matter too.

Wear and tear is inevitable, but a thorough tune-up with Barron focuses on returning your system to its operating specifications originally engineered, catching any problem areas before they become bigger issues. Our experienced technicians comprehensively clean and adjust the interior components of your HVAC equipment, check for performance decline, change out your air filters, and more, improving both your indoor air quality and equipment performance.

Regular HVAC maintenance is said to reduce unexpected breakdowns by a whopping 95% (iaqa.org), extending the life of your investment and often keeping it under warranty, should it apply. Maintenance also prioritizes the safety of your home — such as preventing the domino effect of burst pipes, water damage, and leaks that could result from a failed system. Leaks from a cracked or failed heat exchanger, for example, is one such hazard that could be disastrous, as it can cause carbon monoxide to escape into your home.

What else can you do to support your comfort system when temps drop? We recommend utilizing the “set it and forget it” philosophy with any heating or cooling system — that means leaving your thermostat at one set point as much as possible. And while many people prefer their house to be cooler at night, it’s even more imperative that your inside stays at a consistent temperature when outdoor temps drop below freezing. Your house and all the furniture, countertops, and appliances are like a big heat absorber. If you typically keep your thermostat set to a comfortable 70°F but set it back to 60°F at night, your house and everything in it cool to 60°F. When your furnace or heat pump comes back on in the morning, it then has to work extra hard to get that temperature back up to 70° F — because it’s not just heating the air in your home, but all of the contents inside as well. 

Another tip during a cold snap is to check the condensate line on your furnace. Condensate is a byproduct of the high efficiency heating process that needs to be expelled (or drained) for your furnace to function properly. It is most often drained to the exterior, but in cases of extreme cold, that drain can become frozen and blocked. And if it does, it’s important to melt the blockage to allow for the condensate to flow. Warming the pipe with a hair dryer or heat gun works well, and insulating the exterior portion of the PVC piping with weatherproof materials can help reduce the chances of your line refreezing. Ice melt can also be spread underneath the drain line exit point to prevent ice from building up on the ground. 

Finally, when snow hits, it’s important to clear it or other debris that may restrict airflow to your outdoor equipment. This allows your heat pump to operate as efficiently as possible, alleviating unnecessary strain (barronheating.com/faqs).

While we can all be proactive in taking small steps to protect our home, a Performance Maintenance is a big step in protecting your comfort system while keeping operating costs down and lowering your risk for repair — especially after weather extremes. For a limited time, Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing is offering a Performance Maintenance for just $144 for a gas or electric furnace or single-head Ductless with Silver Shield Membership. OR, $180 for a Full HVAC System Performance Maintenance with Silver Shield Membership. You’ll get top-to-bottom service to ensure your investment is running safely, efficiently, and reliably when you need it most.

With energy costs rising, a check-up for your home is just as important as a check-up for your health (or car!). So, as you’re cleaning up from this winter’s aftermath, we invite you to give our team at Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing a try — giving your hardworking system the attention it deserves. As your Pacific Northwest home and building performance experts since 1972, we stand by Our Mission: Improving Lives™.

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