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MT experts offer tips to protect furnaces and pipes during frigid winter

Posted at 1:27 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 15:27:11-05

BILLINGS — As the temperature continues to drop, Montanans are having trouble with their furnaces and plumbing.

Curt White, the owner of White Heating and Air Conditioning in Billings, says that the number one call he receives this time of year is heating going out. He says the main cause is the furnace filter.

"They get plugged up with dirt. They should be changed. Some houses need them monthly, some houses need them every three months but you definitely need to change your filters for that furnace to work correctly," White said.

He said if the filter is not changed, it can trip a high-temperature limit in the furnace and put it into lockout mode. This will cause the unit to stop working. White also says that it is important to have furnaces inspected regularly.

"There is a whole list of checks that are to make sure that little parts aren't going to fail throughout the year," White said.

He said these checks should be done yearly.

White notes that parts such as heat exchangers on furnaces can break, which can lead to the emission of harmful carbon monoxide levels. He said people should monitor their carbon monoxide levels or invest in a carbon monoxide detector.

Along with malfunctioning furnaces are frozen and broken pipes. As the temperature drops, less-used pipes can freeze, burst and leak.

Jared Lee of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing said Tuesday morning that if you notice a pipe is frozen or a faucet is not turning on, leave the faucet dripping to keep water flowing if possible. He says to then call a plumber.

He said to help prevent frozen pipes to insulate them well in areas where it is drafty and wind could reach them.

Lee said that it is important to remember not attempt to thaw out frozen pipes using a blow torch.