While there are plenty of places where having your furnace go out is little more than an inconvenience, Champaign, IL, certainly isn’t one of them. Temperatures can regularly dip below 10°F, making keeping warm not just a matter of comfort but one of survival.
If your furnace stops working in the dead of winter, don’t panic. There are some steps you can follow to get through this difficult situation.
What to Do If Your Furnace Stops Working
The first thing you should do when you find yourself without a working furnace is to reach out to a reputable HVAC company for furnace repair. There’s little sense in hoping that your furnace will fix itself, and you could find yourself in a worse situation than when you started if you don’t get professional help quickly.
Professional HVAC services are your best bet for resolving the issue. Keep in mind that whatever is wrong with your furnace might not be an easy fix, so contacting a professional early is the best way to deal with the situation properly and efficiently.
Put Safety First
If your furnace isn’t working, your first thoughts will likely be how to stay warm. But there’s one other thing you should tend to first. The reason for your furnace breakdown could be a gas leak, which would mean that you’re in a very serious situation.
If your furnace isn’t working, close the gas supply valve just in case. If you notice the distinct rotten egg smell of a gas leak, you should call emergency services right away and leave the area immediately. You’ll still need heating services to get everything running again, but your safety is a much greater concern.
Avoid Frozen Pipes
One of the most serious consequences of an extended furnace failure can be frozen pipes in your home. When the water inside your pipes freezes, it expands and can quickly rupture the pipes. This can lead to immediate flooding if pipes aren’t completely blocked or flooding later on once the ice blockage thaws.
If your pipes burst, shut off your water supply immediately to mitigate water damage to your home.
Ideally, your pipes won’t run through exterior walls where they’re susceptible to the cold from outside. For most homes, exposed pipes in crawl spaces and basements are the most significant concern. Exposed pipes should already be insulated, and if yours aren’t, they’re at risk.
If you’re currently dealing with a broken furnace and want to do everything you can to avoid frozen pipes, you can take a few simple steps such as these:
- Open cabinet doors in bathrooms and kitchens to allow warm air to circulate
- Leave your faucets on at a slow drip to continuously run water through the system
- Use electric space heaters in vulnerable areas like exposed piping in basements
These measures can help, but the most reliable way to avoid frozen pipes is to get professional heating services as soon as possible.
Keep You and Your Family Warm
Your house will start to cool down as soon as your furnace stops working. This is a gradual process that will vary in speed depending on the size of your home, its construction, and how well insulated it is.
You can generally expect your home to stay comfortable for 8 to 12 hours, but beyond that point, you’re going to start seriously feeling the cold. Your house can stay livable for some time depending on individual factors, but it surely won’t be pleasant if you don’t have heat.
While it could take days for your home to reach freezing temperatures, you won’t be enjoying much comfort. Staying warm is important for you and your family, especially the very young, the elderly, and the ill.
Dress Warmly When Your Heating Is Broken
There are many different things you can do to stay warm without heat indoors. The first is to wear more clothing. You can add sweaters, jackets, and other layers to your outfit as your needs necessitate.
Make sure to consider your head, hands, and feet as well. If the temperature in your home has dropped significantly, you should dress just like you would outside.
Wool is generally considered one of the most effective materials for keeping warm, but most materials that you wear outside in winter will be fine. One to avoid is cotton, which doesn’t provide effective insulation when it gets wet.
Make Effective Use of Space Heaters
If your heating issue isn’t related to a power outage, you can rely on electric space heaters for warmth. Ideally, you should have one on hand for emergencies. Keep in mind that you cannot plug these into power bars or extension cords. The high amount of power they use can melt the cords and even cause fires.
There are portable heaters that run on propane, butane, or by burning other fuels. Do not use these indoors–they are an extreme carbon monoxide risk.
When your furnace burns gas, it safely releases the exhaust through an exterior vent. Burning fuel inside your home with a portable heater can directly release poisonous carbon monoxide into your house.
It’s best to choose one room to keep warm if your furnace is out for an extended period. Set up your space heaters in that room and keep doors closed as much as possible. If the room has a draft, you can try blocking the space at the bottom of the doors with blankets or towels.
Throughout your home, you should cover windows with blinds or drapes wherever possible. This can provide an additional layer of insulation where your home is most likely to lose heat quickly.
Prepare for an Emergency
One of the things that makes losing heat in your home so dangerous is that it often happens during other emergency conditions. If you lose heat because of a power failure, you won’t be able to run any electric space heaters or have hot water.
If a storm has caused the power disruption, you might not be able to go out for supplies because of blocked roads or bad weather conditions. It makes good sense to keep some emergency supplies in your home at all times.
You should have flashlights with working batteries on hand, in addition to blankets to stay warm. Candles should be used carefully and sparingly.
If your water is still running, fill containers with tap water for drinking and washing up. It’s also important to have food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or cooked. A first-aid kit is valuable as well.
Being prepared is the best way to ensure that you can get through a furnace failure and the inconveniences it brings.
Professional Furnace Repair in Champaign, IL
When your heating does go down, you need reliable HVAC services to get it running again as quickly as possible.
Castle Home Comfort heating and air services are available 24/7 for emergency heating repair. Our skilled technicians can determine what’s wrong with your furnace and get it running again as soon as possible.
Our home comfort experts have years of experience repairing all types of furnaces, and our team can ensure that you have safe and reliable heat when you need it most. You don’t have to wait until your furnace is down entirely to call us. Reach out as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right.