Dangerously cold temperatures have some industries working overtime

CARMEL, Ind. — You may have stayed home for the holidays, but for some, the dangerously cold weather meant working overtime.

Two of the busiest places in central Indiana through the holiday weekend were emergency rooms and heating companies.

Matt Patrick, an on-call technician for Homesense Heating and Cooling, rang in the new year at work. Patrick was working on a broken furnace until after midnight Monday, then back at work by 8:00 a.m.

“Crazy, that’s the best word I can (use to) describe it,” Patrick said.

Patrick and his fellow technicians have been moving call-to-call since temperatures started plummeting last week.

CBS4 met him on a call in Carmel, where a homeowner had not yet returned from the holidays.

“He actually has a smart thermostat that alerts him when there’s a problem and that’s the only reason why he knew,” Patrick said.

Patrick went to work figuring out what was wrong, and told CBS4 that many of the issues he’s seeing come down to the temperatures.

“Furnaces are not designed here in Indiana to heat a house when it’s negative 10, negative 12 degrees,” Patrick said. “Normally they’re designed to heat at most when it’s three degrees outside.”

Patrick suggested that if your heat turns off, you first change your filter and re-set your furnace.

“If you are questioning whether it’s dirty or not, change it anyway. That’s probably 90 percent of the problems we’re coming across right now,” Patrick said.

Not too far away, at the IU Health Methodist Hospital emergency room, resident Ashley Satorius-Rutz was also working on the holiday.

“We are seeing more patients come in just to get out of the cold,” Satorius-Rutz said.

Satorius-Rutz said she’d seen a rise in patients with frostbite and hypothermia, particularly those who didn’t realize they’d spend too long outside.

“You can get problems with your heart, with your lungs, and then also a lot of confusion,” Satorius-Rutz said. “If you get outside and you get to the point where you are confused, then you might not realize that your body is saying go inside.”

She suggested that this week, as people get back into their regular schedules and the temperatures remain below freezing, you be careful about spending any time outside.

“If you absolutely have to be, make sure you’re covering up: hats, scarves, gloves, good socks, good shoes,” Satorius-Rutz said.

As for Patrick, he said don’t be surprised if your furnace doesn’t keep your home as warm as you want it to during the negative temperatures. He also said he expected to see calls rise on Tuesday as normal business hours resume.

“Patience right now until the weather breaks is really going to be key,” Patrick said.

For more tips on handling this frigid weather, go to the link here.

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