Keeping the kids and pets warm during winter is easy as long as your home’s heating system is well-maintained and working perfectly. However, if the furnace or the boiler starts having problems during the coldest days of the year, it could lead to an HVAC system emergency and a winter disaster that affects the health and well-being of the entire family.
During the winter, most home heating systems malfunction due to a power outage from a bad storm or a blown transformer. The other common reason that furnaces top working is due to old age, poor maintenance, or other issues that are far more preventable. Regardless of the reason, your first priority during a power outage or HVAC system malfunction is to call your local emergency heating repair company for help. A top-rated, high-quality company like Varsity Home Service knows how important it is to keep your family warm over the winter—which is why we offer round-the-clock services at any time of the day and night to help.
If your furnace has stopped working and you’re in need of fast and affordable assistance, make calling us your first priority. Your second priority, however, is to make sure your children and your pets stay warm and comfortable in the meantime. Take a look at these tips to help you keep your family warm while we work on getting your heating system up and running again.
Keeping Pets Warm in an Outage
Different animals have different needs when it comes to staying warm. What works for your dog won’t work for your fish, for obvious reasons. With that in mind, we’ve put together a brief look at what to do for some of the most common pet types in homes across Long Island.
Dogs and CatsThe main thing to do when the furnace stops working is to provide extra bedding. This lets the pets use their own body heat more efficiently, which in turn, warms up the immediate area they’re lying in. Blankets and old sweatshirts work great as temporary bedding. You can also place a few sheets of cardboard on the bottom of their beds for extra warmth, or cover their beds with a tent made out of towels or light blankets to keep drafts away in freezing cold weather.
BirdsThe birdcage needs to be covered with a sheet. This lets the bird use its own body heat to warm the area. Plus, the sheet prevents any warm air within the cage from escaping.
FishThe fish need a thick blanket put over the aquarium. This minimizes how much heat escapes from the water over time. This is especially important if your tank has a heater function that stops working in a power outage.
ReptilesThe easiest way to keep these pets warm is to place chemical heat packs inside their habitats. These should be wrapped securely inside three layers of fabric before being placed inside the corner of the terrarium to prevent scalding the animal. To play it safe, use pillowcases knotted tightly over the heat pack so that they’re sure to stay in place.
Keeping Children Warm
Depending on their age, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your children when the heating is out and the weather is below freezing. Babies and very young children can be incapable of warming up without your help. Make sure to see to it that everyone in your household has what they need to stay warm until help arrives.
As needed, be sure to utilize the following tips while you wait for the emergency heating service to be completed.
LayersOutfitting your family in layered clothing is the easiest way to ensure that everyone stays warm. Depending on how cold it is outside, you may want to start with thermal underwear underneath your normal clothing. When it’s really cold outside, consider adding a lot of layers on top—two or more pairs of socks, a few long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves. These layers help prevent heat from leaving your body.
Shut the DoorsCorral kids and pets into one room in the house and shut the rest of the doors surrounding that area. Staying close together will generate body heat and keep the room warmer, while shutting the doors will prevent the heat from escaping. At night, we recommend laying towels along the cracks at the bottom of the doors to trap in heat and prevent cold air from entering the rooms.
Cover WindowsIf your windows are old and drafty, use duct tape and plastic to seal them off. This will prevent even the smallest cracks of air from escaping. You can also close the curtains on top for double protection against drafts.
Light a FireLight a fire in the chimney for extra heat in the home. If you don’t have a chimney, burn candles or place a lamp in a safe place to take in some extra warmth. When doing this, make sure your kids and pets are kept at a distance to prevent injury.
Blanket FortsBlankets work wonders when it comes to keeping your children and pets warm in a cold house. Gather all of your blankets and make forts together in the living room for a fun night battling the cold together.
Staying on Top of Your Furnace’s Maintenance Needs
While unexpected outages can happen, most winter furnace issues are due to a lack of regular maintenance and upkeep throughout the rest of the year. Staying on top of the condition of your furnace is the simplest way to prevent unexpected heating emergencies over the winter season.
The most common signs of needing furnace repair or heating installation include the following:
- Your furnace is over 15 years old.
- Rising utility bills.
- Previous furnace repairs.
- The burner flame is yellow.
- Strange noises are coming from the furnace.
- Family members are suddenly sick—or have headaches, nausea, or seem disoriented.
- An unusually dry or dusty home.
Are you interested in furnace maintenance, repairs, or new furnace installation? Or are you in need of emergency heating service options from our team at Varsity Home Service? If you’re in the Long Island, New York area and would like to speak with someone from our team about your furnace needs, give us a call now. Or, to schedule a free, in-home estimate with one of our technicians today, just fill out our online form.
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