It’s no secret that winters in New Jersey can be quite harsh and unforgiving; in fact, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to drop well below freezing, which can create a dangerous situation in the event of a furnace failure or even a power outage. For this reason, we encourage area homeowners to stay prepared for an HVAC outage at any time so they can stay warm and get the help they need as soon as possible.
Consider the Cause: HVAC or Power?
If you notice that your furnace isn’t working, it’s best to begin by determining whether you’re dealing with an HVAC issue or a power outage. If the rest of your appliances and electronics are out, you’re probably dealing with an area outage. Confirm this by looking outside; are street lights illuminated? What about the lights at your neighbors’ homes? If everything appears dark, you’re likely dealing with an outage. On the other hand, if it’s just your house, you may be dealing with a blown fuse or circuit problem.
If it’s just your furnace that’s on the fritz, then of course, the rest of your home’s appliances and electronics will function as normal.
Contact the Appropriate Sources
If it turns out you’re dealing with a power outage or similar issue, you’ll want to contact your power company as soon as possible. Never assume that your neighbors will call the power company; even if they do, some power companies will prioritize service in neighborhoods where they’re received the most calls.
If you’re dealing with an HVAC problem, such as a furnace that won’t turn on, we offer 24/7 emergency service and can readily assist you. We never want any home or family to go without heat during the bitter cold winter.
Close Drapes for Better Insulation
In the meantime, it’s a good idea to close any drapes, curtains, or other window treatments around your home. This will help to improve insulation and prevent warm air from getting out and cool air from getting in. If you don’t have window treatments on all your windows, consider temporarily hanging up a blanket or towels.
If you have drafts under any of your home’s exterior doors, now is also a good time to place some towels or other obstructions around them so as to reduce heat loss.
Plug in an Electric Blanket or Space Heater
If you still have power, consider plugging in an electric blanket or space heater to heat a small area of your home until you’re able to receive help. Electric blankets, when used properly, can keep individuals warm for extended periods of time.
If you choose to plug in a space heater, make sure you keep it away from flammable materials, such as window treatments and nearby furniture. Furthermore, to maximize and centralize heat, consider plugging the space heater in one room of your home and shutting the door.
Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide Risks
One of the worst mistakes you can make to keep warm while your furnace is out is that of bringing in a grill from outside or otherwise using a non-approved appliance (such as a gas stove) for emergency heat. These appliances can generate dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly–especially in poorly circulated areas.
These are just a few key tips to keep in mind when it comes to staying warm and comfortable in the event of a furnace outage. Should you find yourself in such a situation, be sure to contact us to have your furnace repaired as soon as possible.