What do I do when my furnace stops working?
First, don’t panic. When furnaces fail, especially in the middle of a particularly cold winter, many people respond with fear – and understandably so. Many people worry about frozen pipes, chilly family members, and a long wait before they can get their furnace fixed.
Luckily, it takes a while for a home to, shall we say, “equalize” with ambient temperatures. Your home is not likely to freeze in a few hours, but typically takes a few days to achieve the same temperatures as the outdoors. Therefore, if your furnace does go out, you have some time to prepare with some backup heating measures while you wait for a technician to arrive.
First, we suggest that you try to have at least three oil-filled electric heaters already in stock in your home. A 1500-watt radiant heater produces over 5,000 BTU of heat, and can easily heat a large bedroom. Place one of these heaters in your basement to prevent your pipes from freezing, and another one in a living room – preferably near a bathroom. These measures should keep you and your family warm and safe until the technician arrives.
If you have a larger home that is over 2,000 square feet, you may need more heaters to keep the home at a safe temperature. Some people use their fireplaces to keep warm in these circumstances, which is a great idea as well. Sometimes, I even recommend that this is a good time to put a roast in the oven! The heat from the oven will help to keep the house warm for a few hours.
Please make sure to take all the necessary safety measures when using these alternative methods to heat your home. Never put more than one heater on the same circuit, and please follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Keep children and pets away from the heaters, as they can become extremely hot and prove dangerous to little hands and paws. If you use your fireplace, take the necessary precautions by ensuring that your chimney is venting properly, and remove flammable objects from the area.
Of course, the most important step you can take when your furnace fails is to call us here at RCM Heating and Cooling. We accept emergency calls anytime of the day or night, and will do our best to get to your house in a timely manner. Your family’s comfort and safety are very important to us.
In the event that your furnace does fail, please call us at 815-458-5425, and we’ll send one of our excellent technicians to your home as soon as possible. RCM Heating is located in New Lenox, Illinois.