Learning About Residential Furnaces

5 Tips for Staying Warm When the Furnace Goes Out

A broken-down furnace can leave you freezing in your own home, especially if it occurs on a weekend or in the evening, when it's harder to get professional help. The following tips can help you stay warm while you wait for a repair.

Tip #1: Check the Shut-Off

A lack of warm air doesn't necessarily mean a lack of airflow. In some instances, a furnace blower will continue to operate even if the air isn't being heated. This means it is simply circulating a cool breeze through all your rooms. Make sure the furnace is completely shut off so you aren't inadvertently cooling your home even further.

Tip #2: Seal Out Drafts

This is a good time to make sure there aren't any unwanted drafts in your home. Check the seals around all exterior doors and replace them if necessary. You can also place rolled-up towels along the bottom of the doors to block drafts. Heavy curtains can help insulate windows. You can also use special clear plastic, which is heat sealed to the window with a hair dryer, to keep drafts out.

Tip #3: Create a Warm Room

It's easier to warm a small space, so create a hub for the family in a single room until after the heat has been fixed. Hang heavy blankets in all the doorways to create a smaller and more insulated space to keep warm. A room with lower ceilings, plenty of entertainment, and carpeting or rugs to seal out drafts is a good option for the warm room. You may even want to add blankets and sleeping bags so everyone can sleep in this warmer spot until the furnace is fixed.

Tip #4: Bake Something

Your oven is an excellent source of heat. Plan to spend the time baking instead of ordering out. Roasts, cakes, and breads are just a few things that require long oven times and that can help warm the home. Keep a pot of warm cider or cocoa, or even a kettle for tea, brewing on the range top. Warm drinks can help everyone feel a bit warmer.

Tip #5: Consider Some Alternatives

The most common alternative heating methods are your fireplace or a space heater. Only use the fireplace if it has been cleaned and maintained, though, because you don't want to chance a chimney fire. Space heaters should only be used when someone is awake and home to monitor them. Place them away from all flammable objects, such as curtains.

If you can't bear the cold, call a local furnace repair service like United Heating & Air Conditioning to see if they make after-hours calls. While this service may come with a fee, it's a small price to pay for comfort and warmth in your own home.