Freezing temperatures break furnaces and cause propane shortages

The freezing temperatures have led to a propane shortage and that’s driving prices higher. Propane costs as much as $7 a gallon. Just 2 months ago the same amount cost about $2 dollars.

Employees at Strine’s Heating & Air have been working as much as 14 hours a day fixing heating system problems as well as propane tanks damaged by the cold. “Liquid propane itself, storage tanks outside when it gets colder, there’s issues with the actual propane and of course right now we’re in a propane drought so it’s expensive and harder to get propane” said Stephen Wilt who has works at Strine’s Heating & Air.

Wilt said that he’s seeing many people that previously used propane turning to wood burning stoves to heat their homes. But it’s not just propane tanks that experience problems in the cold. The freezing temperatures also can cause furnaces that run on natural gas to break.

On really cold days Wilt will visit up to a dozen homes with broken furnaces. He said the most common problem that stops a furnace is ice and snow that clogs the vents. He also said that with the freezing temperatures the furnaces are working so hard that they can experience electrical failures.

“Keep your filters clean. Try and get regular maintenance service so we can see what’s going on. If you keep your equipment serviced it’s just like your car. You have to have an inspection done on your car every year. Might as well have an inspection done on your furnace every year” said Wilt.

Wilt also said that if your furnace has a cracked tube, known as a heat exchanger, that could stop it as well as cause carbon monoxide poisoning. He said it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector outside your furnace room and bedroom to monitor the levels within your home.