No homeowner ever enjoys having to deal with an HVAC problem, but heating failures always seem to happen at the worst times. Suddenly losing your heat in the dead of winter isn't just unpleasant; it can potentially be dangerous for you and your family. Knowing what to do when your heat goes out is an essential part of dealing with the situation quickly and safely. This checklist will help you to approach an emergency heating failure calmly and systematically so that you can make your home warm and cozy again.
Step 1: Evaluate the Situation
Has your heat suddenly cut off? Is there still some heat, but not as much as you would expect? Were there any noises before the heat suddenly failed? This information will be vital for your HVAC technician to diagnose the problem accurately and efficiently. Emergency repair calls are often costly, so it is a good idea to provide the technician with as much help as possible.
While considering the circumstances of the failure, you should also determine if you are dealing with an actual emergency. Are temperatures outside dangerously low? If so, then making an emergency call is a good idea. If it's just a bit chilly, then it may be more cost-effective to bundle up for the night and call for help in the morning.
Step 2: Check Fuses and Pilot Lights
If your home uses an older gas furnace, then you may still have a pilot light. Your furnace should have instructions for relighting the pilot light printed on the casing. Read these instructions carefully so that you can check the status of the pilot light and relight it if necessary. If you use a newer gas furnace or an electric furnace, then you will not have a pilot light. In these cases, check the fuse or breaker for your furnace to confirm that it has not tripped. A heater that is regularly tripping circuit breakers requires service, but you may be able to avoid an emergency repair call.
Step 3: Replace the Filter
You do keep extra filters on hand, right? This fundamental piece of furnace maintenance is an essential part of keeping your furnace in good working condition. A clogged filter can cause your furnace to overheat, ultimately resulting in it shutting down to avoid damage to the heat exchanger. If the filter is especially soiled, try replacing it before making that emergency call. Make sure to give the furnace some time to cool down before expecting it to fire back up.
Step 4: Call a Trusted HVAC Repair Technician
If you can't find the problem and temperatures are too low to go without heat, then it's time to make that emergency heating repair call. It's a good idea to keep a list of 24/7 heating services on hand so that you do not have to waste time scouring the internet for reviews in an emergency. Having a reliable service technician that you can call at any hour is the best way to make sure that your family will not need to go without heat for long.