Heating Emergency: How to Survive the Cold When Your Furnace Quits

couple bundling up in a heating emergency

As the frigid winds sweep through Wisconsin, the last thing you want is for your heating system to call it quits. A sudden loss of heat can be not only uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous, especially in the heart of winter. So, what do you do when your furnace decides to take an unscheduled vacation? Here’s a guide to help you navigate a heating emergency situation in the Badger State:

1. Check the Basics

Before panicking, ensure the basics are covered. Sometimes, the issue might be a simple fix.

  • Verify your thermostat is set correctly, the circuit breakers are not tripped, and the furnace switch is in the “on” position.
  • If all of those items are in the proper position, locate the emergency shut-off switch, typically located on the furnace itself. Ensure it’s turned on. If the switch is off, flipping it back on might resolve the problem.
  • Finally, for those who have older furnaces with a pilot light, check if it’s still burning. If it’s out, relight it following the manufacturer’s instructions. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, it might indicate a deeper issue that requires professional attention.

2. Contact the Professionals

In Wisconsin where winter can be harsh, it’s crucial to have a reliable heating professional on speed dial. At Hometown Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help you in a heating emergency. Keep our contact information close by, so if an emergency situation happens, you’re ready and can contact us right away. It’s worth having this information handy for unexpected situations.

How to Contact Hometown Heating, Air & Electric:

3. Utilize Temporary Heating Solutions

In an emergency, you need warmth, and fast. If your situation is dire, you may have to wait a short time for help to come your way. Consider these temporary heating solutions while you wait:

  • Blankets: While waiting for professional assistance, layer up in warm clothing and use blankets.
  • Fireplace: If you have a fireplace, now is the time to use it as it’s a quick way to bring heat into your home.
  • Oven: Bake something in your oven, and when finished, turn off your oven, but keep the door open to let in heat.
  • Space Heaters: If you have electric space heaters, use them to provide temporary warmth.
  • Sunshine: If it’s daytime and the sun is shining, open your blinds and curtains to let the sun in.
  • Towels: Seal drafts with weather stripping or towels to keep as much warmth inside as possible.

While these solutions can be helpful in a heating emergency, remember to follow safety guidelines and use these options only as temporary solutions.

4. Employ Preventative Maintenance to Avoid Another Heating Emergency

Once the emergency is resolved, schedule preventive maintenance for your heating system. Regular inspections and tune-ups can catch potential issues before they become emergencies. Maintaining your furnace won’t just help during emergencies — it will also help keep your bills down and extend the lifespan of your heating equipment.

Remember, when facing a heating emergency in Wisconsin, acting promptly and seeking professional help is key. Stay warm and safe during the winter months, and don’t let a heating hiccup put a freeze on your comfort.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a furnace tune-up, please contact us. Don’t just survive the cold — but beat it with Hometown Heating, Air & Electric.

Heat Smart, Spend Smart: 10 Ways To Save On Heating This Winter

woman sitting by the fire trying to save on heating this winter

Winter has a magical way of transforming our beautiful state into a snowy wonderland, but it can also turn your heating bill into a frosty nightmare. Fear not! Hometown Heating, Air & Electric is here to sprinkle some warmth and wisdom on how to keep your heating costs low without sacrificing comfort. So, let’s dive into the cozy world of energy efficiency and discover the secrets to save on your heating bill that won’t break the bank.

10 Ways to Save on Heating This Winter

Find out the secrets to a toasty home this winter:

1. Snuggle Up Your Home

No, we’re not suggesting you invest in an army of fluffy pets (although that sounds pretty tempting). Instead, make your home a snuggle sanctuary by sealing any drafts. Grab a tube of caulk and weatherstripping to plug gaps around windows and doors, preventing precious heat from escaping and cold drafts from sneaking in.

2. Embrace Your Smart Thermostat as a Warm Friend

Upgrade to a smart thermostat and let technology do the heavy lifting. These nifty devices learn your heating patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly. Program your thermostat to lower the heat when you’re away and crank it up before you return, ensuring comfort without wasting energy. Even lowering your thermostat by just a degree or two can make a world of difference in cost savings.

3. Let the Sun Shine In

Mother Nature provides a free and fabulous heating source – the sun! During the day, open curtains and blinds to let sunlight naturally warm your home. As the sun sets, close them to trap the heat and keep the winter chill at bay. While these ideas might seem obvious, it’s often the little things that can help you save on heating.

4. Bring Your Blankets into Your Living Spaces

Your blankets aren’t just for beds, so embrace the cozy vibes with blankets and bring them into your living spaces! Layer up with warm throws on couches and beds to create a snug atmosphere. When the temperature drops, reach for a blanket before adjusting the thermostat.

5. Mind Your Vents and Radiators

Don’t let furniture play hide-and-seek with your vents or radiators. Arrange your space so that heat can circulate freely. Move furniture away from these sources to ensure an unobstructed flow of warmth, making your heating system’s job a breeze.

6. Seize the Power of Layers to Save on Heating

While we understand that wearing layers are the key to staying warm, your home follows the same principle. Instead of cranking up the heat, throw on your favorite sweater or hoodie to stay warm and stylish inside.

7. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so does your furnace. Schedule a tune-up with Hometown Heating, Air & Electric to ensure your heating system is running at peak efficiency. A well-maintained furnace not only keeps your bills down but also extends the lifespan of your heating equipment.

8. Become a Draft Detective

Put on your detective hat and hunt down drafts. Check for gaps around windows, doors, and even electrical outlets. Sealing these openings is a simple yet effective way to prevent cold air from sneaking in.

9. Don’t Get Warm Alone

Engage the whole family in the quest for a lower heating bill. Encourage everyone to wear warm clothes indoors, close doors to unoccupied rooms, and remind them to turn down the thermostat when heading out. Teamwork makes the (warmth) dream work!

10. Cozy Cooking Counts

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and cooking can generate heat. On colder days, consider baking or cooking heartier meals to help warm up your space. Bonus: you get delicious food as a reward!

Remember, keeping your home warm doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With these creative and cost-effective tips, you’ll be sipping cocoa in a cozy home without worrying about your heating bill. Stay warm and wallet-wise this winter, courtesy of Hometown Heating, Air & Electric!

If you have any questions about any of these tips or want to schedule a furnace tune-up, please contact us. Let’s stay warm this winter.

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and the Vital Role of HVAC Maintenance

a Hometown Heating, Air & Electric HVAC van, representing how homeowners can protect their homes against carbon monoxide poisoning by regularly maintaining their HVAC system

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a silent menace that can infiltrate your home without warning, posing a grave threat to your family’s safety. Understanding the risks of CO poisoning is essential to prevent this potential hazard. HVAC maintenance plays a pivotal role in keeping your home CO-free, and we’re here to shed light on the importance of this critical aspect.

This post will define carbon monoxide poisoning, delve into the risks associated with it, and explain how HVAC maintenance can mitigate this potentially lethal threat.

How to Guard Your Home Against the Silent Threat of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Read on to learn how you can protect against your home from CO poisoning:

1. Understanding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be produced in your home when fuels like natural gas, oil, wood, or propane are not burned completely. Common household appliances can become sources of CO when they are inadequately maintained or malfunction. Some examples of these appliances include the following:

  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas stoves

The gas can escape into your living space, silently putting your family’s safety at risk.

2. Considering the Risks

The insidious nature of CO poisoning lies in its initial flu-like symptoms. Understanding what these symptoms may look like can be helpful in identifying a carbon monoxide leak. Some of the primary symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath

Prolonged exposure to elevated CO levels can lead to severe health complications, and in extreme cases, it can be fatal. Tragically, the invisible nature of this gas often means that its presence goes undetected until it’s too late.

3. Preventing CO Poisoning

One of the most effective ways to safeguard your home and family from the dangers of CO poisoning is through regular HVAC maintenance. Our certified technicians can inspect and service your heating systems, ensuring they operate safely and efficiently. This includes checking for leaks, ensuring proper ventilation, and addressing any issues that could potentially release CO into your living space.

Additionally, installing carbon monoxide detectors is a crucial preventive measure. These devices emit an alarm when they detect elevated CO levels, serving as an early warning system for your safety.

To protect your loved ones from this silent threat, it’s imperative to schedule routine HVAC maintenance. At Hometown Heating, Air & Electric, we’re dedicated to keeping your heating systems in top condition and ensuring your home remains a safe, CO-free environment. Take proactive measures to protect your home and health, and don’t wait until disaster strikes.

If you have any questions about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it, please contact us. We’re ready to help!

How to Extend the Lifecycle of Your Cedarburg, WI Heating System

If your heating system has been working overtime for years to keep your Cedarburg, WI house warm and comfortable, it may be time to get it serviced. Although standard furnaces have a lifetime of 15 years, they frequently fail due to improper maintenance. Attention and regular maintenance, on the other hand, can make your furnace survive longer than its actual lifecycle. The following provides a few pointers to help you extend the lifecycle of your heating system and keep it in good working order.

Replace Your Air Filters

A clogged filter will make your furnace work harder. Dust, dirt, and other indoor contaminants are held in your filter, so they don’t recirculate through the air in your house. If you don’t replace that clogged-up filter, your system will have to work harder to pull air through it, potentially resulting in costly furnace repairs.

So, how frequently should you change your HVAC filter? The general rule is to change it every two to three months. However, if you have pets or household members with allergies, try changing your filter each month.

Have Your Ducts Cleaned

Your ductwork, like any other equipment, requires frequent cleaning and maintenance. Because air ducts are the medium that allows the heated air to enter your home, they are easily polluted with dirt, allergens, and other particles that degrade your air quality. Furthermore, unclean air ducts make your furnace operate harder than it should, thus reducing its lifespan.

As a result, to enhance your home’s air quality, arrange professional HVAC ductwork cleaning. If your home has allergic members, pets, or smokers, you should get your ductwork cleaned more frequently.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

The lifespan of your Cedarburg, WI furnace is determined by how hard you push it. If you’re at the office for eight hours daily but keep your furnace on full blast, you’ll be overworking your system and overpaying on your electricity bills.

Invest in a smart thermostat instead of needing to recall setting your thermostat before going out. You may program your thermostat to alter the temperature of your house depending on the time of day. Set your programmable thermostat’s temperature back by 7-10 degrees for eight hours each day to save the most money. This method can save you up to 10% on your heating expenditures.

Insulate Your Home

If your home has any openings through which heated air might escape, you must seal those gaps immediately. The loss of heated air would significantly increase your utility costs and make your heating system work harder to achieve your desired temperature.

Ensure that no heated air is escaping from the gaps in your ductwork, windows, doors, or any other house components. Maintain your home’s insulation and seal all leaks and cracks as soon as possible.

Use Fans Clockwise

Have you ever seen the tiny switch on the back of your ceiling fan? This is where you may change the rotation of the fan blades. Most people believe that ceiling fans are exclusively used to cool space. However, this is only true if the rotors are turned counter-clockwise. Change the direction of your ceiling fan to clockwise to help warm a space. This draws cold air up and forces any heated air from the ceiling downwards along your walls and onto the flooring.

Using this tactic will make your spaces warmer without requiring you to turn on your heating system. In fact, homeowners who utilize ceiling fans during winter can save 15% on heating costs. This also means that you’re not running your furnace until it’s necessary, which considerably extends its lifespan.

Perform Regular Maintenance

The best way of showing that you care about your furnace is by giving it seasonal maintenance. Get expert maintenance on your system every autumn before turning up your heating system. Allowing an HVAC expert to fully examine and clean your entire system on a regular basis may significantly increase the lifespan of your furnace. A clean furnace will not only operate more effectively than a filthy one but having a maintenance check will also allow our experts to notice any possible repair issues and solve them immediately before they cause significant harm to your system.

We are a certified, experienced, and licensed company serving Cedarburg, WI residents. Our experts can service or perform annual maintenance to keep your furnace working properly. We also offer furnace installation, cooling services, electrical installation, and indoor air quality service. Call Hometown Heating & Air today to set up an appointment.

What Happens During Furnace Maintenance?

HVAC maintenance has grown prominent in the minds of homeowners over the years, and rightly so. Properly maintaining your system is the difference between burning money versus keeping an efficient unit. Here’s what you can expect during a routine maintenance visit and why it’s important.

Safety Checks

Furnaces are so common in our homes that most of us forget there are risks with running them. You see the occasional warning about carbon monoxide poisoning, but you seldom see that risk connected to your furnace. There’s also the occasional story about a gas leak that leads to a house fire or an explosion.

Fortunately, these kinds of incidents are relatively rare, so we easily forget about them. However, when we neglect to take care of mitigating these risks, that’s where you see them start to crop up.

Further, you want to make sure the safety systems built into your heating system are working properly. These might include your gas shut-off switch as well as the heat safety switches.

Your annual furnace maintenance appointment will include the necessary checks to ensure your system will be safe this winter as it runs. Your technician will check for carbon monoxide levels around the furnace while it’s running. They’ll also look for any signs of gas leaks and test each of the safety components so that you can resolve problems before they become catastrophic.

Deep Cleaning

As air moves through your heating system, it deposits small particles that slip through your air filter onto your heat exchanger and circulating fan. As these collect, it inhibits your furnace’s ability to transfer heat and restricts the system’s airflow.

Your technician will gently clean both of these areas during your annual maintenance appointment. Care must be given to ensure they don’t damage either component, which can happen just by using the wrong cleaning products. This task is a major part of keeping your furnace operating at peak efficiency.

Function Testing

The only way to know whether your system is working properly is to objectively test its performance. This means running a full cycle to ensure the thermostat is sending the signal and that all the components engage at the right time.

Additionally, you want to make sure that your system is producing the right amount of heat. This is called the temperature rise, or how much warmer it makes the air than the ambient room temperature.

Your technician will run your system through an entire heating cycle to ensure that it works properly. While it’s running, they’ll double-check your heat rise to ensure it’s optimal. If anything comes up, you can get the needed repairs done without relying on an emergency repair before jeopardizing your family’s safety.

Component Inspection

Beyond testing, some of your components need a visual inspection to ensure they’re operating safely. This is especially true for your heat exchanger, which may crack over time. Your circulating fan motor, burner, and igniter may all show visible signs of problems and will be inspected during routine maintenance.

Tightening and Balancing

Your system creates vibration as it runs, which loosens some components’ mounting screws and electrical connections. Loose mounting bolts and screws lead to additional movement while your system runs, causing excessive strain on those components. Loose electrical connections create additional electrical resistance, which increases heat in electrical wiring and components.

Your circulating fan must also maintain balance to prevent damage to the motor and spindle. Dust collecting on the fan wheel and loose mounting bolts may cause the fan to go out of balance. All of these connections are tightened during your maintenance visit, and your circulating fan will be balanced to reduce the strain put on your system.

Why Maintenance Matters

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you of how important furnace maintenance is, consider your system’s warranty. Manufacturers understand all of what is described above and recognize that without proper maintenance, your furnace will experience preventable repairs. To reduce the risk of these warranty claims, they often require regular maintenance as a term of the warranty.

Even if your unit is no longer under warranty, attending to these areas reduces your overall operating costs. Keeping your system running efficiently lowers your utility costs, reduces preventable repairs, and extends the lifespan of your appliance. There’s little you can do for your system that’s as reasonably priced as annual maintenance.

People throughout Cedarburg have trusted Hometown Heating & Air to keep their homes warm since 2016. Our NATE-certified technicians provide heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repairs as well as indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance appointment with one of our expert technicians today.