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If your home or business experiences a heating system failure, the most prudent course of action is to reach out to HVAC specialists for assistance. However, there are some things you can do in the meantime before the experts arrive. Let’s take a look at what to do in the event of a heating system failure.

Initial Steps

If your furnace breaks down, it will likely happen at the worst possible time: smack dab in the middle of the winter. Do not panic. There are ways to keep yourself and your loved ones warm while you wait for the repairman to arrive. If you smell natural gas, it is imperative that you leave the home right away. Any sort of strange odor in the aftermath of a heating system failure is cause for concern. While it is uncomfortable to leave a warm home and head outdoors, doing so just might save your life.

Though you can’t actually smell natural gas itself, your nose will pick up on mercaptan. This is a substance added to natural gas that smells like rotten eggs. Such a smell indicates that there is a dangerous gas leak in the house. If you hear any sort of hissing from the heating system, it is also an indication that gas is leaking into your living/working space. When exiting the home, avoid turning on/off the lights as such a seemingly minor action can cause the leaking gas to ignite. Do not turn on the stove, open the garage or start your car either. If possible, open a few windows on your way out of the building so the gas can seep outside. Head on over to a neighbor’s place or a friend’s house and call for help.

Find a Safe Source of Alternate Heat

If there is no leak in the home, you can stay inside yet you must find a way to warm up your living/working space with another method. Use an electric heater, turn on the fireplace and dress in layers. If you lack these means of alternate heat, do not hesitate to stay elsewhere. Those who decide to stay in the home should keep all the doors shut, close the curtains and put the storm windows down. These actions help the warmth stay in the home for as long as possible.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

A heating system failure can cause your pipes to freeze, resulting in a whole new set of problems. If you lose heat, drain your building’s water pipes and/or keep the primary plumbing line warm with a portable heater until the repairman arrives to fix the furnace. Ideally, you will be able to keep the building’s main plumbing line above 32 degrees in the meantime.

Do not Attempt to Save Money by Performing Repairs Yourself

Though it is tempting to save money by trying to perform heating system repairs on your own, this is almost always a mistake. Only the most minor of problems should be tended to by an individual with little HVAC knowledge and experience. Reach out to those who are trained for such emergencies and your system will be back up and running in little time. Leaning on the professionals also might save you money as a repair you attempt could cause even more damage than already exists.

Remain Calm During This Emergency

A heating system failure is certainly a nasty surprise. When in doubt, lean on the HVAC experts to handle this potentially dangerous situation. Those who remain calm and follow the precautions and advice listed above will make it through the crisis without a major problem.