Your Home Heating Emergency Action Guide
Whether you’re returning from running errands or from working long hours, nothing beats the feeling of coming home to warmth and comfort. Your home is your haven and the place where important life events happen. While you’re making cherished memories, your home heating system quietly works in the background to keep your family comfortable.
When your heating system stops working in the middle of winter, you lose this sense of comfort. Living without a working heating system is also hazardous to your health. When you’re without heat, you need to act quickly. Our team has prepared the following guide to help you during a home heating emergency.
Home Heating Basics
While suddenly losing your heat can be stressful, panic won’t help the situation. The first thing you need to do is remain calm. Sometimes, there are simple solutions to heating issues. Perhaps your pilot light needs to be relit, or your electronic ignition needs to be restarted. Either of these fixes can restore your system within minutes if you’ve found the cause of the problem.
Relight Your Pilot Light
If you have an older gas furnace, you have a pilot light. Open the access panel and see if it is lit. If there is no flame, you can try to relight it. We recommend you use kitchen matches or a long-handled utility lighter to avoid getting burned.
Reset Your Electronic Ignition
If you have electric heating, you probably have an electronic ignition. To reset it, you first need to locate your furnace’s power switch. Once you’ve found it, turn off your furnace. After your furnace is turned off for at least 10 seconds, turn it back on. Once you’ve turned your furnace back on, press the reset button once. This button is usually red or yellow, and t restarts your furnace.
If your system has restarted, congratulations. Enjoy your warm home, monitor your heating system for additional issues and call a professional for general maintenance. If you’re still without heat, you need to call a heating professional for an emergency repair immediately. Going without heat puts your health and safety at risk.
Emergency Heating Safety
A home heating outage is not a good time to bring your camping stove or grill inside. In fact, you should never use these outdoor heating products indoors or anywhere else that doesn’t have excellent ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning still kills. In a similar vein, turning up the oven and leaving the door open is also a horrible idea that can cause severe illness or death.
Consider Staying Somewhere Else
If your heat is out, one of the safest moves you can make is to stay somewhere else until your heat is repaired. At least one of your family members, friends or neighbors has been in your current situation and might let you stay in their home while your heat is being repaired. Another alternative is to stay at a local hotel or motel until any repairs are complete.
General Principles for Staying Warm
The first step to staying as warm as possible is to keep the cold air out of your home. The second step is to retain as much heat as you can. Both measures will help you stay as comfortable as possible if you decide to remain in your home during a heating emergency.
Keep Cold Air Out
Begin by closing your doors, windows and drapes. If there are drafty areas in your home, block them with old clothing, towels or other rags. You can also put cardboard on the floor for additional insulation.
Another method of blocking cold air is to winterize your home. Although the middle of a heating crisis is not an ideal time for such work, preparing for cold weather is an excellent project for next fall. Add insulation to your attic, walls or other draft-prone areas to keep the cold air outdoors.
Covering windows with clear plastic sheeting will also help you dodge any drafts. You can purchase a window-covering kit that contains the sheeting and adhesive needed to seal your windows for the winter.
Designate a Home Base
While you shouldn’t use outdoor camping equipment to heat your home, you can use some of the essential health and safety principles from winter camping to stay warm.
Designate one room for everyone to share. This will maximize the body heat you can generate. It can also make sharing heating supplies more convenient.
If you still have electricity, you can use one or more electric space heaters to heat one room. This will allow you to get the most heat from the least number of heaters. It will also help you use the least amount of electricity.
If you have children or if you’re young at heart, consider setting up your tent. A tent can provide additional insulation. It’s also a way to have a little fun with your kids during an otherwise challenging time.
Wear Warm Clothing
Finding warm clothing might seem challenging in Houston, Texas. After all, the temperature only sinks to freezing on an average of ten nights each year. Unfortunately, experience has taught us that your heat is much more likely to go out during one of these ten nights.
If you only have one heavy jacket or winter coat, don’t worry. Layering clothing can help keep you nice and toasty. Wear multiple long sleeve shirts and pants. If you don’t have many full-length sleeved shirts, T-shirts and garments with three-quarter length sleeves can also be layered.
Since extremities such as your fingers and toes tend to cool down faster than the rest of your body, keep some chemical hand warmer packets on hand. These are available where camping supplies are sold and can provide some very welcome warming for such susceptible body parts. Use them according to the directions printed on the package.
One area people forget to cover is the head. Wearing a hat will help you stay much warmer because approximately 40% of the body’s heat loss occurs in the head and neck. If you don’t have a hat, you can tie a shirt over your head.
Resting Without Heat
When you’re waiting to get your heat back, it can be challenging to sleep, but even if you don’t have children, you should still try to get some rest. Sleeping inside a tent in a sleeping bag or wrapped in multiple blankets can maximize your warmth, boost the camping atmosphere and help you get a few hours of shut-eye.
We hope your heat never goes out in the middle of winter, but we want you to be prepared for this emergency. A few carefully chosen items will help you stay warm until your home heating system is repaired.
For safety, invest in flashlights, extra batteries and a space heater with a nonelectric fuel source for unexpected power outages. Chemical hand warmer packets, sleeping bags and blankets will keep you warm. A tent and cardboard will provide even more insulation until your heat is restored.
Don’t Go It Alone
When your heat goes out, you might be tempted to go it alone. Home heating repair is not a weekend DIY project. Just reach out to our team at Custom Comfort Air, and we’ll restore your comfort. We have locations in Rosenberg and Sugar Land to serve the entire Houston area, and we’ve been doing it since 1969. You can rely on us for heating, cooling and indoor air quality repair, installation and maintenance. Call us today.