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What to Do If Your Heater Goes Out This Winter


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Having your heater break during winter is more than uncomfortable.  It can be dangerous.  While our winters here in the Tennessee Valley are mild compared to most of the U.S., we still have days cold enough to warrant concern. It is important to keep your family and home safe and warm while you find a fix for this issue. Here are some things you can do to determine what went wrong, fix it or at least contact someone who can, and things to do to stay warm while you wait.

See Also: Service Technician

Things you Should Do First To Determine What Caused the Breakdown

  • Check for a blown fuse.
  • Make sure it is turned on.
  • Make sure it is set to heat.
  • Check for any gas leaks.
  • Look for blockage from recent snow or fallen debris.
  • Check the pilot light.

If you have done all of these steps and still the heater is not working it is best to contact a licensed technician.  It is important to have regular maintenance as most of the problems in an HVAC can be prevented.  This also will keep you in contact with a local HVAC company.  An established relationship will make it easier and faster to find a technician to come out immediately.

See Also: Surge Protection For Your HVAC Unit

Now, How Do I Keep Warm?

The heat is out and a technician is on their way.  Here are some steps you can do to help keep your family warm.  These steps can also help prevent any damage from occurring to your home.  Whether it take a few hours or a day or two, these are immediate ways to stay warm.

  • Conserve the heat by blocking drafts with rolled up towels.
  • Hang a blanket over the exterior doors to help insulate these drafty areas.
  • Keep the windows covered with curtains or shades to help insulate these areas.
  • If you must open a door to leave or enter, use a door attached to a garage or enclosed porch.
  • Open curtains in south facing windows when its sunny.
  • Eat. It will keep your body working well and keep your metabolism going.
  • Keep all interior doors shut.
  • Move everyone into one central room to conserve heat.
  • If you have a fireplace, use it and move into that room.
  • Use a portable heater but if it uses gas, make sure you keep the room ventilated to the outside.
  • Use rugs and carpets to help insulate your floors.
  • Bring in a tent to help trap your body’s natural heat in an even smaller space.
  • Move all blankets, covers, flashlights, sleeping bags and extra clothing into the central room.
  • Wear hats, scarves and layer your clothing.
  • If you have a generator, use it. Just make sure it is placed in a well ventilated area

What Can You Do If You Can’t Get It Fixed Immediately?


  • If weather permits, move your family to a hotel or another home.
  • Turn off your main water valve and drain your pipes to prevent them rupturing.
  • If it is a total loss of power, turn off all electronics and unplug those you are able to prevent a power serge when the power comes back on. 
  • Leave one light on so you or your neighbors can visibly see when your power returns.

See Also: HVAC frozen in the Winter 

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