It has been a harsh Wisconsin winter and, as a result, one of the casualties from it is my 25-year-old furnace. It still works. But, thanks to the cold weather, it is starting to show its age and we’ve been told it will need to be replaced in the near future.
However, I’m not overly anxious to replace my furnace right away. Winter is almost over (hopefully) and, both so I have time to shop around and save up some money for a new one, I’ve been doing everything I can to help my current furnace make it through the final few weeks. This includes three major changes in how we use it.
First, we have a strict temperature limit. My wife and oldest daughter get cold easily and, as a result of that, we normally keep the thermostat set around 75 degrees. However, once the furnace started to limp a bit, we agreed to keep the maximum temperature at 70 and dress warmer instead. That 5-degree difference means the furnace kicks in less often, giving it a bit of a break. We also turn it down a couple degrees more when we know we aren’t going to be home.
Second, we won’t turn it up by more than a couple degrees at a time. Our furnace actually prevents us from doing this already by tripping the circuit breaker whenever we try to change the temperature by three or more degrees. So, whenever we’ve had the heat turned down, we reheat our house gradually. This keeps the furnace from having to work harder than it needs to and, just as important, saves me from having to reset the circuit breaker.
The last thing we are doing is using alternative heat sources. I’m careful not to use anything that would pose a major safety hazard (such as a charcoal grill). But, when it is really cold outside (usually at night), our small space heater can take some of the chill out of the room so the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with grabbing a blanket and cuddling close together on the couch while watching a movie.
While these changes have resulted in some sacrifice on our parts, taking these steps has helped to extend the life of our furnace just a little bit longer. And, with spring just around the corner, we should hopefully be able to hold off purchasing a new furnace until next fall.