Skip to Content
Serving North Side of Chicago, Northshore, North & Northwest Suburbs

How to Manage Your Heating System in Very Cold Weather


It’s not uncommon for the Chicagoland area to experience bitter cold snaps. These temps are typical for this time of year. It’s also normal for heating systems to be on high all day and night. However, many local homeowners are discovering that their furnaces and boilers just can’t meet demand, and that’s a big problem.

Heating systems are commonly designed for 5-degree outdoor temperatures. When the temperatures drop below zero, you are beyond the scope of the conditions for which your system was designed. Even when your heater is working right, it may not be able to keep your house at the temperature you set your thermostat. Also, when demand is high, the gas pressure can be reduced in your home. This can also prevent your furnace or boiler from working at full capacity. Below we share some valuable home and heating maintenance tips to help you keep your furnace in shape before the cold weather strikes!

  • Don’t test the boundaries of your furnace. Customers will tell us they turned their thermostat higher, but their furnace or boiler is still not keeping up. That’s not how a heating system works. If the heater is struggling to maintain a specific temperature, turning it higher won’t help.
  • If you usually set your thermostat back to conserve energy, don’t do that during really cold weather. Your furnace is probably working hard enough to keep up with demand, and it doesn’t have enough bandwidth to warm up after being set back. Wait until the temperatures return to the 20s or 30s to turn your thermostat higher.
  • Monitor your humidity. Here’s an old tip–when it’s chilly in your home, put a large pot of water on the stove to simmer to add some additional humidity to the air. It doesn’t make the air warmer, but you will feel more comfortable with more humidity. This also helps reduce dry skin. Also, never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Watch your windows. When temps get really cold, windows can get condensation or frost on the inside, which causes damage. If you see this happening in your home, turn down your humidifier and avoid adding more humidity to the air.
  • Stop air leaks. Get in front of energy-wasting drafts by closing drapes or putting a rolled towel at the base of a leaky door and special tape or weather-stripping around window edges, which can be found at any hardware store.
  • Use safe space heaters. They can help pick up the slack for a heating system that can’t quite keep up. Use a newer brand and keep it away from flammable objects and out of the reach of kids and pets.
  • Keep your furnace maintained to avoid an unexpected heating repair service. To get the most out of your furnace or boiler, you need to keep it in its best shape year ‘round to avoid making emergency calls to us in the middle of a frosty Chicago January night. A simple heater tune-up can do wonders for your unit and improve the efficiency of your overall system.

Heater Tune-Up and Heating Repair Service by American Weathermakers 

If your furnace isn’t working, remember we’re the 60-Minute Men; if we’re not there in an hour, we’ll give you a $60 gift card towards service! If you ever experience a heating system emergency, we’re located in the Northwest suburbs and North Shore area of Chicago. Live in Wilmette, Arlington Heights, or Northbrook? We’re your neighbors! We service all kinds of HVAC brands like American Standard, Lennox, and Trane. Contact us at (847) 503-9497 if you need assistance with your furnace this winter.


Share To: