Essential Tips For Surviving A Home Heating Emergency

image of a girl feeling chilly due to a home heating emergency and furnace failure

Imagine this: It’s wintertime, and the ground is covered in deep snow. You notice that your house is cooling down. You are starting to feel cold. Is there something wrong with your heating system? If so, what do you do about it? This is what a home heating emergency feels like. Having a heating system break down when you need it the most is terrifying. This kind of heating emergency without heat is dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable.

If this happens to you, you need to know how to keep yourself warm until your HVAC contractor performs a boiler or furnace repair. In this article, we will discuss some good ways to keep warm during a home heating emergency.

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What Is A Home Heating Emergency?

When your furnace or boiler stops working when it is most needed, that’s an emergency. Thankfully in some cases, the heating issue is simple to resolve. You probably don’t need professional help to fix the problems in these situations.

For example, since heating systems use electricity, make sure the power is still on. Also, check the circuit breaker. Check the fuel supply as well. If you’re out of fuel, call for immediate delivery. The sooner you can figure out what’s wrong, the sooner the problem is solved.

Home heating emergencies are extremely unpleasant. Not only is your comfort at stake, but your safety as well.

If you don’t have heat, here are some things you will experience.

  • Discomfort: If it’s cold and you don’t have heat, you are going to be uncomfortable. Being inside is going to be difficult for you and your family. Without heat, you risk health issues and respiratory problems. You could catch a cold or flu. Sleeping becomes highly uncomfortable or impossible.
  • Health Risks: When temperatures drop to very low levels, hypothermia is a real risk. Low body temperatures will affect your ability and mobility. You may have trouble thinking. You also could get frostbite or have respiratory issues from the cold air. If you have heart disease or arthritis, low temperatures are a problem. Infants, elderly and young children are at especially increased risk when it’s cold inside your home.
  • Frozen Pipes: When the heat is off, your risk of frozen pipes increases. If the water in the pipes freezes, the pipes can burst when the water expands. When the water thaws, this will be a major catastrophe. Not to mention it will be an expensive repair.
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Staying Warm Until HVAC Contractor Gets There

If the problem is much bigger than you can handle, call for emergency HVAC assistance. The HVAC contractor will have to do a system checkup and repair. This will get your system up and running again. Meanwhile, what do you do to keep warm? Here are some suggestions:

Turn Off Your Heating System

If your heating system is not working, turn it off. Turn off both the thermostat and power as well. For gas furnaces, make sure the supply lines are turned off. This is mostly for safety reasons.

Use A Space Heater

image of homeowner using a space heater for heat during heater malfunction

Space heaters are portable heat systems that warm up ambient air. Most have a small fan that circulates heated air. A modest 2 to 3 kW power space heater can provide sufficient heat to a small room.

Larger heaters with up to 30 kW power can warm medium-sized and large buildings. If you decide to use a space heater, be mindful of the safety risks. Don’t leave it unattended. Follow all of the manufacturer’s safety recommendations.

Also, keep everyone huddled in one room. Shut the doors to rooms that are not being actively used. Keep all the heat in the one room that everyone is in.

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Consume Warm Drinks

Warm drinks will keep your hands and face warm. They also are comforting when you need it. Make sure to choose drink that actually helps to maintain warmth. For example, drink coffee and herbal teas. The caffeine in coffee stimulates body heat by boosting metabolism. Ginger tea helps stimulate blood flow. This keeps blood flowing to your extremities. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help. Stay away from it in this situation. A warm bowl of soup works much better.


image of a homeowner exercising at home to stay warm while waiting for emergency heating repair service

Keeping active helps boost your heart rate. This keeps your blood circulating. Light exercise keeps you flexible. The exercise provides blood flow to your hands and feet. This will help keep out the cold.

Bundle Up & Add Layers

Wear layers of clothing to maintain body heat. Wear jackets, coats, gloves, and other heavy clothing to keep warm. Very young children and the elderly need special attention to make sure that they stay warm. Do not wear tight or heavy clothing that constricts any part of the body.

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How To Avoid Home Heating Emergency Situations

You can prevent heating emergencies by being prepared. Being one step ahead goes a long way. Do these things to help prevent problems:

An Annual Heating System Maintenance Check

furnace tune-up

Schedule a yearly HVAC checkup for your heating system. This is probably the best way of preventing heating system emergencies. Regular maintenance will spot problems before your heating system fails. Be sure to have any problems fixed right away.

Call A Professional HVAC Contractor

When there’s trouble, be sure to call a professional HVAC specialist as soon as possible. You may be able to troubleshoot some issues. However, more serious problems require the expertise of a trained and licensed heating technician. Address them without delay.

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Replace HVAC Air Filters

image of a furnace filter replacement

You have probably been reminded to clean or replace your air filters on a regular basis. This is important. Proper flow of air depends on clean, unclogged filters. This optimizes the function of your heating system.

When the distribution of air is disturbed, the heating system consumes more fuel or energy than needed. This also reduces the efficiency of the heating system. These issues can lead to unnecessary repair work. Check your filters at least once a month. Replace them if necessary.


Furnace malfunctions not only compromise your comfort when it’s cold but also your safety. You can prevent this with some simple actions. With some practical solutions, you will reduce the chances that a heating emergency will become something serious.

You and your family will be much better protected. Ensure that you use a trusted HVAC service provider to make sure your heating system is in the best possible working order. You want your heating system to be there when you need it most.

Call Townsend Energy for Trusted Furnace Services

te logoTownsend Energy is one of the top HVAC service providers in the region. Our team is made up of certified technicians with the skills and knowledge to complete all jobs to your satisfaction. You can depend on them for repairs, maintenance, replacements, or installations in northeastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Maine.

Give Townsend Energy a call if you need assistance with your heating or cooling system. We offer competitive rates so you don’t need to go elsewhere. Schedule an appointment today and get a free, in-home estimate.

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