It’s an unfortunate inevitability: Someday, your heater will break down eventually. When that happens, you may need to find some ways to stay warm when your furnace is broken.
Now, maybe in some place that’s just a minor inconvenience. Not in Minnesota, though. Suburbs such as Burnsville, New Brighton, and Medicine Lake can expect snow on the ground for almost a third of the year. Minneapolis and St. Paul will see sub-zero temperatures for most of the winter. That makes even a day without heat a potential health hazard. And when it’s this cold out, heaters start breaking down left and right. After all, that’s when they’re working the hardest.
That’s why routine maintenance is necessary. Annual inspection and tune-ups help your heater make it all the way through winter. You can also head off any problems before they start.
But, once your unit goes down for the count, it may be a few days before you’re up and running again.
And, we offer 24-hour emergency service. That gets a tech out to you quickly as possible. We’ll make sure to get you out of the cold as soon as possible.
In the meantime, however, we want to make sure you can stay warm and safe when the temps really dip.
This is probably the obvious one. But, it’s worth mentioning. And, we’ve got a few ideas you may not have considered.
Anyway, the first thing to do is bundle up! Now, we’re not saying go straight for your winter parka. But, layers are definitely your friend.
Put on a thermal shirt and a sweater, and keep your shoes on. Wrap yourself in a blanket or duvet if you want.
Now, if you’ve got extra blankets put them on your sofa. That conserves heat when you’re sitting down. And, you’ll be able to move around a little more than if you were wrapped up.
Seal off one room to stay warm when your furnace is broken
A good way to stay warm when your furnace is broken is to seal off one room and stay in there as much as possible. In this case, you’re using people’s body heat to your advantage.
Choose a room where you can remain for as long as possible. Maybe load it up with some books, a laptop, your TV, whatever. Then, seal it off. Put towels under the doors and cover doors and windows with bedding or blankets.
If you’ve got hardwood floors, cover them up! You don’t want the heat to escape through there. And, you’ll want to keep your feet warm. Put down an area rug if you have one. In a pinch, some towels or a blanket will do.
This way, all the heat you and your family generates remains in that room. The smaller the space, the better. That way, the warmth doesn’t travel as far away from you as when it would in a larger area.
In an extreme case, go with an interior bathroom. Those usually have the least amount of heat loss or air leakage. Another option is a basement. The earth around it acts as insulation.
Finally, limit the number of times you leave the room. Every time you open the door, you lose heat. And, you’ll be back out in the cold.
If you have to leave, open the door as little as possible. And, close it right away to stop any more heat from escaping.
Eat, drink and stay toasty
You know, your heater is not the only appliance in your house that generates heat. Cooking is another way you can stay warm when your furnace is broken.
OK, hard stop for a sec: Do NOT just turn on the oven for heat. That’s a good way to start a fire. And, if you’ve got a gas stove, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when it’s left on, empty and unattended for a very long time.
However, using your oven for cooking helps out in more ways than one. To start off, go with something that takes a while, like a chili or a stew. You’ll move around a bit while preparing it. That will keep your blood circulating, as they say. Then, the oven generates heat while it’s cooking.
Finally, you’ll warm yourself up a little more when you’re eating hot food. And, don’t stop after your meal is done! Coffee, tea, hot chocolate or any warm drink helps keep your body temperature up.
Space heaters, electric blankets, and heating pads
This one seems obvious. But, it comes with a few caveats. Sure, these will keep you warm. That’s what they’re made to do. But, they’re also risky if you don’t use them properly.
Really, the big problem is leaving these on too long or letting them go unattended. A space heater, for instance, is only made to warm a small area. You can’t expect it to warm the whole house.
One of these works best if you’re keeping to just one area of your home. But, you can’t leave them unattended. It’s a fire hazard. And, pets or small children can get burned if they get too close.
You can run into similar problems with heating pads or electric blankets. As with any electrical appliances, there’s a fire risk. And, if you fall asleep and have them on too high, you can also get burned.
Of course, if your heat is out in the dead of winter, we’re not going to tell you not to plug these in. However, we will ask you to be very careful with them. Make sure you follow the instruction to a T. And, exercise a little extra caution.