Although the temperature in Mesa rarely falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, losing heat during winter can still be dangerous. Knowing how to stay warm when your furnace stops working will allow you to safely shelter in place until the power comes back on or until HVAC technicians arrive. Following are several tips for creating a toasty environment that everyone can feel comfortable in.
See If You Can Troubleshoot the Problem
If you experience a widespread power outage, you’ll have to wait the problem out. However, if the heater is the only appliance in your home no longer working, you may be able to solve the problem on your own. Check the setting on your furnace and make sure that it’s set on “HEAT.” If it isn’t, change this setting and then wait several minutes to see whether the furnace comes back on.
You can also check your thermostat batteries. The thermostat is the brain of your heating system. It reads indoor temperatures and then tells your heater when to kick into action. If your thermostat isn’t showing any signs of life, try replacing its batteries. Then, reset it and check your heater once more. If these two steps don’t work, schedule an appointment for furnace repair service.
Know What You Can and Cannot Use Indoors to Stay Warm
Using alternate sources of heat during a power outage or when your furnace goes down is often risky business. Any fuel-burning heat source that you use needs to be properly vented. This will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Before setting up any alternative heat sources, take a minute to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t use generators, camping stoves, or any appliances with running engines indoors unless they’re vented.
You can, however, take advantage of space heaters and candles. If the electricity is working, a single space heater can effectively warm one or two rooms up. However, once you plug a space heater in, never leave it unattended. You should also make sure that it’s on a flat, stable surface and that it’s kept sufficiently far away from small pets and children. When using candles for light and warmth during a power outage, place them on an elevated surface in properly sized holders. Just like space heaters, candles should only be used in rooms that are occupied.
Cook a Hot Meal
If you have the option of doing so, cook a hot meal. When the heater goes out but the power remains on, your oven and stove can make a world of difference in your overall home comfort. Cooking projects that produce steam heat can also help heat up your living environment. Hearty pasta dishes, soups, and stews will warm you and your family up from the inside. They’ll also release hot condensation into the air while cooking, which makes the entire building feel less chilly. When your furnace is out, this is a great time to bake cookies, make bread, and practice your other culinary skills.
Serve Warm Beverages
Sipping on a hot beverage will also help stave the cold off. Not only will coffee, cocoa, or tea warm your insides, but cradling your cup is also a great way to keep your hands from growing too cold. Put your kettle on and let it simmer throughout the daytime and early evening. This way, you can refresh everyone’s drink with ease. Letting the kettle simmer will also release steam heat that makes your home’s interior feel a bit warmer.
Gather Everyone Into a Single Room
If you’re able to generate heat by using your oven, turning on a portable heater, or lighting candles, you’ll want to conserve as much of this precious commodity as you possibly can. The best way to do this is by having everyone gather in a single room. Then, make sure that all windows and doors throughout the home are tightly shut. You’ll have less space to heat up, and less heat loss to worry about. If it’s especially cold outside and your heater will be out all night, encourage everyone to sleep in the same room as well. If you have a fireplace in your living room or den, throw a few logs on and huddle up there.
Use Your Window Coverings Strategically
During the daytime, you can throw your curtains and blinds wide open to let the sunlight shine in. Direct sun exposure can raise the temperature of your living environment by as much as 10 degrees. When the sun is no longer shining on your windows, close your window treatments right away. This will prevent heat loss and keep cold outdoor air from seeping in.
Exercise to Get Your Heart Rate Up
You can generate your own warmth by moving around. During the coldest portion of the day, plan a few high-energy activities. You can stage an impromptu dance party, hold foot races down the hallways, or play a few active, high-energy games. The best time to encourage exercise is right before bed.
Prepare for a Temperature Drop at Night
Weathering the daylight hours without heat can be infinitely easier than making it through the night. With everyone sleeping in the warmest room of the home and all other rooms shut tight, you should be able to do so safely. Pass out extra blankets and fill a few hot water bottles if you have them. Hot water bottles can be placed at the foot of your makeshift sleeping areas to keep everyone’s toes nice and warm.
Everyone should put on a few extra layers when the heat goes out. Layering sweaters over shirts and putting thermals on beneath pants is actually the first and most important defense against cold indoor temperatures. Body heat is lost the fastest through the feet and the head. You and your loved ones should have on extra socks and slippers, and thick winter hats. You can even put your scarves and mittens on. When it’s extremely cold inside, you never want to forget to keep your extremities warm.
Check on the Most Vulnerable People in Your Household
Small infants and elderly adults will have the hardest time staying warm when the heat is off. Make sure to regularly check on the most vulnerable people in your household. Verify that elderly adults are always protecting their extremities with extra socks and mittens and that they always have a warm beverage and a warm blanket on hand. With infants and toddlers, body heat is an excellent way to stay warm in excessively cold temperatures. Snuggle up with your little ones or use a carrier or wrap to keep them close to your body.
At Reliable Air Conditioning, we know just how hard it can be to have the heat go out during an especially cold spell. Fortunately, we also know how to resolve this problem. We’ve been providing fast and friendly heating system repairs throughout the greater Mesa, Arizona, area for more than 15 years. We also provide cooling, ductless mini-split, indoor air quality, and radiant heating services. If your heater goes out this winter, call us right away.