Heating failures can lead to emergencies, especially in the coldest months of winter or if you have vulnerable members in your household. Waiting several days to repair a problem with your heating can be potentially dangerous, so it's usually better to deal with the issue as quickly as you can. If you find yourself in this situation, follow these three steps to keep safe and restore your heat.
1. Check the Basics
Before assuming that you have a genuine emergency on your hand, start by checking a few simple potential causes. Gas furnaces will typically shut down in certain situations to protect the heat exchanger or other critical components. This situation may happen to your furnace if it's suffering from restricted airflow due to a clogged filter or blocked vent.
If you're comfortable with some straightforward maintenance, shut your furnace off and check the filter. You should also check near your vents and return ducts to ensure nothing is blocking them. Finally, confirm that your breaker isn't tripped and reset it if necessary. After taking these steps, turn your furnace back on. If it still doesn't work or shuts back down, turn it off and avoid using it.
2. Protect Yourself and Your Home
When you can't restore your heating with the above simple steps, you should take a few precautions to keep yourself, your family, and your home as warm as possible. If you have small space heaters, use these to keep one or two rooms at a comfortable temperature. It's especially critical to take this step if your household includes elderly family members or very young children.
You'll also want to avoid additional damage from burst pipes. To protect your plumbing, open cabinet doors to expose as much of your plumbing as you can. Opening your basement door is another way to help evenly distribute heat throughout your home. These steps won't protect you from burst pipes indefinitely, but they can help avoid damage while you wait for a technician.
3. Call for Help
Many modern homes lack the insulation necessary to stay warm for long once heating fails, and the temperature in your house may equalize with the outside temperature much more quickly than you'd expect. If the temperatures outside are cold, now is the time to take advantage of the emergency services offered by many heating contractors.
Calling for an emergency heating repair service during a heating outage on a cold winter night is nearly always a better option than waiting for morning or a more convenient time. Restoring your heat will help keep your family warm while also protecting your home from potentially expensive damage due to frozen plumbing.