As the forecast begins to finally relent with the cold, many folks will have encountered problems caused by the cold, the snow, and the ice.
These issues can vary from a simple thing like apilot light going out, to the more extreme cases of burst and broken pipes.
Through all these issues, Service Master has plenty of experience in helping to resolve, repair, and remedy the situation. Larry Empey, an owner at Service Master in Swift Current, has been helping folks navigate extreme cold and other natural-born domicile disasters.
His advice can go a long way to helping ensure the safety of a home when the weather hovers around -40 C.
"The first thing that we would want to make sure is our furnace filters have been changed and are in peak performance," began Empey. "Next is the thermostat batteries; always check those. It seems like most people nowadays have digital ones, so we want to make sure your batteries are good so we don't have a problem with that."
Ensuring adequate airflow with clean filters means that the fire won't be snuffed out as it burns hotter during cold events. This helps to stave off a snuffed pilot light, or even a weaker burning flame that wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand for heat.
Empey suggests that folks also ensure good air circulation by making sure that vents are uncovered and unobstructed. If a vent normally has a couch or other furniture placed in front, it may be prudent to inch it forward half a foot or more to let the air pass freely.
"A lot of times we get calls for ice on the bottoms of the windows," said Empey. "Typically, it's because the blinds are down too far. So if you can get those blinds up a little bit so there's some warm air hitting those windows, that will eliminate some of the condensation."
Another big thing people have to worry about in extreme cold is frozen pipes. Especially in some older homes, pipes will need to be monitored for freezing. Things like space heaters can help, where the pipes are adjacent to exterior walls. Another big help is heat tape, which can be applied to the pipes to insulate them against the cold.
"We've got some homes in town that have frozen in the past," said Empey. "So we always tell people to leave the tap, your cold tap and your hot tap on, just enough so you get a little trickle of water coming through there. That'll help ensure they won't freeze."
Empey also reminds everyone that if they are using a space heater, keep them clear of any blankets, curtains, pillows, furniture, or anything else that could catch fire. They make heat, and most often do not have sensors that tell them to stop when things get too hot.
Door seals are another big cold conundrum. If they are letting in cold air, they are actually letting out the warm air your furnace is working double time to heat. They can also become filled with snow, or even ice, making a door difficult to open.
"[If] the door seal wears out a little, even if you can use a rolled up towel or some form of an air block in front of your door on the floor there, that'll help a lot."
In the event that a furnace goes out, or pipes burst, calling the repair man as quickly as possible can help ensure your home is warm and safe again as soon as possible. In the meantime, ensuring you have warm clothes, blankets, and space heaters can make all the difference in the world.