Punxsutawney Phil, famous prognosticating rodent, has cursed us again by seeing his shadow and sentencing us to 6 more weeks of winter and a need to keep our furnace on for 6 more weeks of heating. I say cursed because most of us in Kennewick, go into winter, ready for the cooler weather, loving that cool crisp air and after about the second cold spell creating a need to keep that furnace on, we want SUMMER back! Just an interesting little fact here about Phil’s accuracy, he’s like 7 in 30 being right. Sounds about like the odds of my local weatherman.
Phil vindicated in 2018
This year Phil is being vindicated by the weather service which is indicating he may actually be going for his 8th win, or is he? While there is rumor that February will be colder and wetter, so far that isn’t the case in Kennewick. So, will you need to keep that furnace on? In January 2017, temps ran from 43 degrees on January 1 to 17.1 by the end of the week; same time period this year we went from 34 degrees on the 1st to 45 degrees on the 7th.
In Kennewick this year we started February at temps of 48.9 and came in at 64 degrees on February 5th, (almost a heat wave); not in line with Phil or the Farmer’s Almanac. None the less, you need to keep that furnace on which means you need to protect your homes’ interior. Not balancing the humidity in your home and allows the air to become too dry with that furnace on and can lead to damage to your home such as caulking around doors and windows drying and leaking. Your local HVAC contractor can provide information on additions you can make to your current system that allow you to keep that furnace on without sacrificing your home interior.
Health concerns when we keep that furnace on
Many of us probably remember a time when our grandmothers or maybe even our own mother would open-up the house the minute the temperature was above 65 degrees; they had no intention to keep that furnace on, they were going to air out their house. In fact, a doctor once told me that I should keep that furnace on, but keep the windows cracked open in the winter to avoid dry skin and sinus infections. Can you say counter-productive to heating?
Today, keep that furnace on and still enjoy clean, conditioned air in your home. There are whole home humidifiers and add-ons like heat pumps, variable speed furnaces and smart thermostats for just about every type of HVAC system. Not only do they add to effiency, they help to control the humidity in your home as you spend another 6 weeks, keeping the furnace on. Many of these systems also filter the air for those pesky allergens that plague us all, allowing for less seasonal illness from dry conditions.
When to winterize
Don’t forget, if you keep that furnace on another 6 weeks, (and the forecast doesn’t really validate that), you might need to check with your HVAC company and see when you need to winterize your unit and get the AC ready.
If you happen to see Phil feel free to remind him, we’re, weather.com says wrong again. If you happen to be at his little den, maybe screw the lid on for next year.