This holiday season, it’s likely that the temperatures are going to be quite chilly.
As the December weather in Colorado gets frostier and frostier, more and more of a burden is placed on the thousands of furnaces that keep homes and businesses warm. Modern furnaces are designed to be able to manage most of this burden, but the older they get, the less reliable they can be.
So, it’s a very real possibility that your heater could go out on Christmas. If this unfortunate event does happen, what should you do? As Colorado’s resident experts in all things HVAC, the team at Front Range HVAC has quite a bit to say on this topic.
Therefore, we’re dedicating this week’s blog post to the worst-case scenario of losing heat on Christmas day. Keep the below-listed tips in mind if this happens to you!
First Things First: Prepare Now!
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to keeping your furnace operational, this holds especially true. Your chances of losing heat on Christmas will be significantly reduced if you are proactive in the weeks and months prior.
To prepare for the colder weather this holiday season, take the following steps to ensure that your heating system is up to snuff:
- Inspect your air vents and remove blockages or obstructions.
- Identify and remove all flammable objects from the furnaces vicinity—this includes piles of rags, old clothes, or combustible items in storage.
- Look for holes or broken seams in air ducts, and have them fixed sooner than later.
- Listen for any abnormal sounds coming from your furnace when it comes on. Things like clanging, banging, or chugging sounds are immediate causes for concern.
If you take these steps and your heating still goes out on Christmas, not to worry. It’s time to hunker down and ride this out!
Take These Actions When the Furnace is on the Fritz
Should disaster strike and you find yourself without heat this Christmas, run through this quick list of actions to take:
- If your furnace is gas-powered and it suddenly goes out on Christmas, the most important thing to remember is to stay safe by cutting the gas supply line to the unit. Most natural gas lines have a cutoff valve that can be actuated, effectively eliminating the transmission of this flammable substance.
- If your gas-powered furnace suddenly stops working and you detect a ‘rotten egg’ scent, vacate the building immediately and contact your local gas utility to report a potential leak.
- For electric furnace owners, be sure to check to see if a breaker was thrown or if there is an electrical fire risk that caused the unit to malfunction. If you see or smell smoke of any kind, take the appropriate measures to keep yourself safe.
- Check for snow or ice accumulation at air intake vents. Most high-efficiency furnaces have exhausts and intakes that terminate with a PVC pipe ported to the exterior of the building. One of the reasons why the furnace can appear to be malfunctioning could have to do with a buildup of ice or snow.
Check for this and remove whatever is obstructing air flow in either direction.
- Pack a sock with lavender and rice. Microwave it for 30 seconds, and you’ll have an instant heat source you can use to stay warm until your furnace can be assessed and repaired, if necessary.
Lastly, remember to contact Front Range HVAC as soon as you can, so we can schedule an on-site visit from one of our furnace experts. Call us as soon as your heat goes out and, if we don’t answer the phone immediately, leave us a message and we’ll do the best we can to get back to you at our earliest opportunity.
Even if the coming weeks turn out to be some of the coldest on record, it is our sincerest wish that you and your family stay warm and comfortable. By implementing the tips laid out above, you’ll be reducing the impact that a heating outage on Christmas might have.
As a final precaution: do not attempt to repair or disassemble your furnace, as tempting as that may be. Unless you’re a trained HVAC professional, chances are that you’ll end up doing more harm than good! Modern furnaces are not known for being especially user-serviceable, and specialized tools and equipment are often needed to adequately diagnose and repair them.
Stay warm and safe this Christmas, and we’ll see you in 2020!