Depending on outside temperatures, a broken heater can be a minor inconvenience or a major danger. Until you can get a heater repair technician to fix your device, you are often stuck with chillier temperatures. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to stay safe and potentially solve your problem. If you suspect that your heat is going out, follow these steps to address the problem as smoothly as possible.
Turn Off Your Gas
This rule only applies to those who are using a gas furnace, but it is absolutely essential. If you use gas for your heat, you need to turn off the gas as soon as the heater fails. This is important because the heater may have failed due to a gas leak or valve malfunction. You do not want toxic gas to leak into your home, where it can cause breathing problems or start a fire. To shut off the gas, locate your home’s main gas service valve. It is usually a large lever next to the gas meter. Rotate this lever until it is crosswise to the pipe to shut off your gas.
Check to See if There Are Any Simple Solutions
Next up, do a few basic checks to see if you can identify the problem. In many cases, a heater just goes out because your electricity is out. Before you panic, flip a light switch and see if your house has power. You may be able to just call your utility company, report the outage, and get your heat running again fairly soon. Your broken heater might also be due to a tripped breaker, so check to see if you can restore power. There are also a few basic thermostat problems that can affect your heat. Make sure your thermostat is not disconnected or out of batteries. Take a look at the settings to see if someone has accidentally turned your HVAC system to AC or fan-only.
Schedule Your Heater Repair
After dealing with basic safety and common-sense fixes, it is time to call the professionals. Heater repair companies are fairly busy during the winter, so calling as soon as possible will help you ensure you get prompt service. If it is particularly cold, you might want to call a company with emergency repair services. They may be able to get someone to check your heater even on weekends or at night. When the weather is chilly but not dangerously cold, you may be able to wait and just schedule a repair for some time in the next couple of days. While you wait, there are a few things you can do to live comfortably without your heater.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
If you had any windows or exterior doors closed when the heat went out, now is the time to close them. Until your heater can be repaired, your goal will be to trap as much existing heat inside the house as possible. If you have heavy drapes, pulling them over your windows can help block drafts. However, when the sun is shining directly on a window, you may find that opening the drapes lets you bring a little heat into the home. You might also want to adjust your interior doors. If there are parts of the house you never use, go ahead and shut these doors as well. This will help keep your body heat and other heat sources trapped in the areas of the home you do use.
Use a Fireplace or Portable Heater Safely
Even when your central heat is out, there are other ways to warm your home. If you have a fireplace, you are in luck. Adjust the flue and ensure the fireplace is venting properly, and then go ahead and light a fire to add warmth. You can also use a small, portable space heater to add warmth to your house. Electric ones are the safest option. You can also find some propane heaters, but make sure the product is indoor-safe before using it. Keep in mind that trying to replace your heat with something like a grill or camping stove can be risky. Anything that produces heat by burning fuel or gas needs a dedicated exhaust vent. Otherwise you can end up poisoning yourself with carbon monoxide. Many propane heaters and camping heaters are only safe to use outdoors.
Bundle Up With Sweaters and Blankets
Dressing for cold weather will make your home a lot more tolerable without a heater running. When you are on a couch or in bed, a few heavy blankets will be a huge help. As you move around the house, sweaters and jackets can make it easier to stay warm. A key part of staying warm in cold weather is dressing in layers. This helps to trap more heat on your body. Try starting with some tights, leggings, or long underwear and adding a few shirts and thick pants on top. Remember that a lot of your body heat escapes through your head, hands, and feet as well. Make sure you have thick socks, fuzzy gloves, and a warm hat.
Warm Up With Food
As long as you still have power, your kitchen can make it easy to stay warm with a broken heater. First of all, start looking up recipes for slowly simmered soups, slow baking cakes, and other similar things. Running your stove and your oven will add a lot of heat to your environment. Next, make sure you are eating and drinking warm things as well. Doing something like sipping a cup of hot tea can boost your internal body temperature. Remember that the body uses more calories when it is cold, so make sure you are eating enough to help your body generate heat.
Know When Temperatures Get Dangerous
Many people think that they are safe in the cold as long as temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the reality is that you can get hypothermia even if the temperature is not below freezing. Being in the cold for longer periods of time can cause health problems. If your house is less than 50 degrees, it probably is not safe to stay there for days at a time. If you have pets, children, or elderly people in your home, temperatures below 64 degrees can be unsafe for them. Use your thermostat or a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature in your home. If it gets too cold, consider going to stay with a friend or renting a hotel room. Until you can fix your heater, your safety is a top priority.
At White Mechanical, Inc., we provide emergency heater repairs to the residents of Foothill Ranch and nearby areas. Our team can help diagnose the problem, fix any issues, or install a new heater. We also provide a variety of other HVAC services, including AC maintenance, repair, and installation. Give us a call now to learn more.