Zeus, the god of lightning. Ares, the god of war. Athena, the goddess of wisdom. These were just three of the 12 deities the ancient Greeks considered most important. But did you know that the Greek pantheon also included Hestia, the goddess of the hearth? That’s right! Those wine-chugging philosophers regarded central heating with the same reverence they reserved for the sun and the moon.

You’re no ancient Greek, but if you live in the Midwest then you probably value central heat just as highly. That’s because you know a furnace breakdown won’t just leave you and your family in the cold. An inoperable furnace will also let the cold invade your home until your plumbing freezes and bursts – a catastrophic problem that will make your home uninhabitable until you spend thousands of dollars on repairs.

Naturally, maintaining your furnace so it doesn’t break down at an inopportune time (i.e. any time) is vastly preferable to paying for emergency furnace services. But just in case your furnace does fail this winter, you should know which steps to take.

1. Smell for Gas

Natural gas has no odor. That’s why processing plants add mercaptan – a sulphuric chemical which smells like rotting eggs – to natural gas. It lets people know if an area contains otherwise imperceptible natural gas so they can immediately evacuate it.

If your furnace breaks down and you smell a gas leak, leave your home immediately. Once you and your family have arrived at a safe area, contact your gas company to inform them of the leak. Doing so can prevent your home from exploding, and may just spare your neighbors’ homes from the same fiery fate.


2. Attempt to Fix the Problem Yourself

If you do not smell natural gas inside your home, then you can try to resolve the problem on your own. A furnace may stop working for a number of easy-to-fix reasons:

  1. Pilot light is out – Turn off furnace, locate and turn off gas valve, press red button to push gas into pilot light, carefully ignite pilot light while continually pressing red button, release red button, turn gas back on, and finally turn furnace back on
  2. Fuse has blown out – Replace fuse
  3. Circuit breaker tripped – Reset circuit breaker
  4. Thermostat battery is dead – Replace battery
  5. Thermostat is set too low – Raise thermostat setting


3. Use Alternative Heat Sources

If your limited understanding of HVAC technology has prevented you from fixing your furnace by yourself, then it is time to take emergency compensatory measures. If your home has a fireplace or woodstove, then it is time to fill it with wood and light a match. And if you don’t own any electric space heaters, then now is a great time to make a quick trip to the store and buy some.


4. Keep Your Plumbing Warm

You’ll definitely want space heaters handy if you intend to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting. Place your most powerful space heater right next to your main water pipe, as well as any others you can make due without upstairs. Next, turn on all of your faucets so they continually drip water – moving water will help to prevent the pipes from freezing. Finally, open all the cabinets beneath your sinks so heat will have an easier time accessing the plumbing.


5. Contact PrairieSons Right Away

If you live in the frequently frigid greater Sioux Falls, SD area, then you deserve prompt heating repairs you can trust. Count on PrairieSons when you need reliable heating solutions! Our team has industry-leading experience addressing all kinds of furnace issues, and our dedication to outstanding customer service includes responding to emergency calls with all due speed.

Beyond emergency repairs, our winter heating services cover year-round furnace issues. Call us at (605) 582-8611, and our local HVAC tech will be on the way!