Failing Furnaces Keep Heating Businesses Hopping

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OLD FORGE -- The record cold has been keeping plumbers and heating repair businesses busy. There are pipes frozen all over our area and furnaces that just can't keep with the cold.

Wayne Pisanchyn has been a busy guy since the temperatures fell below zero. We were with him as he diagnosed problems with a boiler at a home in Old Forge, just one of many house calls for little or no heat.

"We were quite busy, even overnight. We had 23 calls overnight. We can't do 23 calls. That's impossible. We're trying to get to as many as we can,” Pisanchyn said.

At one house, the thermostat was set for 72 degrees, but the temperature was in the 50s.

"We see a lot of breakdowns where it's just not working at all or situations like this one here where it's just not working up to its full potential."

"It was the worst.  I can't imagine anything worse happening to me, since I just got out of the hospital,” said Marie Cofield of Old Forge.

Marie and Lenny Cofield couldn't believe their furnace started struggling on the coldest day in years.

"Yesterday was a slight problem. I knew it was heading for something, then today it never got any better,” Lenny said.

And then they found remotes to run their backup heat - two fireplaces - were dead. So they were one of the emergency calls to Pisanchyn.

"He's always (come) when I called. I know how busy he is because this is the worst time of the year.  He's probably swamped,” Lenny said.

Pisanchyn says it is better to have the heating experts show up at your house in the nice weather and do routine maintenance so they don't have to show up on a day like this.

"We had some that would have prevented. They had no heat. They would have been caught in a preventative maintenance situation."

Few think of furnace repairs on a warm day but on the coldest day, the timing for trouble couldn't be worse.

"I told my wife, we'll never win a lottery, never, we have a cloud over our head,” Lenny said.

If your furnace fails during the cold, call for help immediately, but experts say be very careful trying to use alternative methods to heat your home.

Fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are serious dangers if you use other heating sources.