How to Stay Warm While You Wait for the Furnace Technician
You run to your thermostat, where you see that your house's temperature has dropped to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). You try to turn up the heat, only to discover that your furnace won't work.
Don't panic. Give your local furnace technician a call, and use the tips below to keep your pipes and your house mates warm while you wait.
How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing
If your furnace breaks, you have to worry about more than your own comfort. As your home's temperature dips below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), your pipes risk freezing. And when your pipes freeze, the water inside them expands, which can make them burst.
So, when your furnace stops working, you need to protect your pipes any way you can. Common strategies include:
Wrapping the pipes in hot, wet cloths: If you use this strategy, you don't have to open up all the walls and wrap your pipes.
Simply wrap the exposed ones around your home's exterior walls. Remember to switch out the cloths after they cool.
Wrapping the pipes in insulation or heat tape: If you have time to go to your local home improvement store, this option might also work for you.
Putting a space heater next to your pipes: A space heater can take your furnace's place until the technician arrives. Just remember to place it away from flammable materials.
Letting faucets run or drip: Running water has kinetic energy, which keeps the water from forming the bonds that turn it into ice. Kinetic energy also creates friction, which keeps the water warmer. Let the water drip or run until the repair person arrives.
Turning off the water: You only need to use this strategy as a last resort. If the technician can't come for a couple of days or if you have a particularly severe cold spell ahead of you, consider turning your water off. This way, if your pipes burst, only a little water will run out of them.
Once you've taken care of your pipes, you can relax and focus on your own comfort.
How to Keep Yourself and Your Housemates Comfortable
If the technician won't arrive for a long time, consider staying at a friend's or family member's home until repairs have finished.
But if you'll only spend a few minutes or hours without heat, you can use the tips below to keep warm.
1. Close and Insulate All Windows
A lot of heat can escape through your windows, so before you do anything else, go around and make sure you've shut and latched them all. Also, check the seals for drafts. If you feel any, block them with duct tape or a cloth.
If your windows have curtains on them, draw the curtains as well. Curtains will keep heat from escaping through the glass.
However, you should still leave a sliver of sunlight shining through-the sunlight will keep your house warmer.
2. Shut Doors to Unused Rooms
You can use your body to heat a small space. Choose a room in your home and gather your house mates there. Close the doors to all unused rooms, including bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, etc. The more doors you close, the less air will move around. Your body will heat the air, and since the air won't move, you and your house mates can keep the room warm.
3. Turn on Your Fireplace or Space Heater
While a fireplace or a space heater can't compare to a furnace, they can keep a room quite toasty. If you have one, turn it on and lounge around until the technician arrives.
4. Bundle Up
You'll also stay warmer if you put on a few pairs of socks, a hat, a jacket, and some gloves. Don't forget to wrap yourself in blankets as well.
5. Cook or Make Hot Drinks
Your oven or stovetop can heat up your home. Bake bread or cookies, and make soup or hot chocolate. Digestion can also help you keep your body warmer, so if you've needed an excuse to make treats, this qualifies.
If you have a good relationship with your roommates or family members, you can also cuddle to keep warm. Wrap the entire group in a blanket to maximize the effect.
As you exercise, your body burns energy, which produces heat. Put on a workout video or two while you wait for the repair technician. You'll stay toasty and burn hundreds of calories at the same time.
When your furnace fails, you don't have to consign yourself to Alberta's miserable winter temperatures. Call your local furnace repair professionals, and use these tips to keep your home and loved ones warm in the meantime.