As winter’s icy fingers close in, staying warm and cozy indoors becomes increasingly important. But what to do when your furnace conks out, leaving your home uncomfortably chilly? Fear not, because with a few simple tricks up your sleeve, you can keep your house warmer without relying on heating appliances. From creative insulation solutions to smart changes in your daily routine, in this article, we’ll explore some effective ways to keep your home toasty, even when your furnace is out of commission. So, let’s get started!

1. The Importance of Assessing the Problem

When the furnace is broken, it is important to assess the problem before seeking alternative heating solutions. The first step in assessing the furnace’s problem is to try and identify the source of the issue. Are there any sparks or flames visible? Is the furnace making strange noises or not producing heat?

For safety reasons, if there are any visible sparks or flames, turn off the furnace immediately and call for professional help. It is crucial not to attempt to fix any issues regarding the furnace yourself, as this can pose severe risks to yourself and your family.

If the furnace is not producing heat due to a mechanical issue, assess how long the furnace has been running for, and when the last maintenance check-up was conducted. If the furnace has been running non-stop, it may be the cause of overheating. Meanwhile, if the furnace has not been checked up in a long time, it may be time to contact a professional technician for maintenance checks.

For minor issues, check if the furnace’s thermostat is properly set to the desired temperature. If the thermostat is working correctly, try resetting the circuit breaker. If none of these solutions work, then it is best to contact a furnace technician to inspect the problem and provide a feasible solution.

Remember, assessing the problem before doing anything else is crucial to avoid any further damage to the furnace and potential harm to yourself and your family.

2. Alternative Heating Methods to Consider

In colder months, a broken furnace can be a major inconvenience, but there are alternative heating methods that can keep your home warm while waiting for repairs.

Electric space heaters

Electric space heaters are portable and versatile, and they’re an efficient way to warm up specific areas of your home. They’re easy to use and can be set to different temperature settings, allowing you to adjust the heat as needed. It’s important to note, however, that they can be energy-intensive and increase your electricity bill.

Wood stoves and fireplaces

If you live in a home with a fireplace or wood stove, they can provide a comforting heat source for your home. You’ll need to have a good supply of wood/logs on hand and ensure the chimney is clean and in good order. Take extra precautions, too, to ensure the safety of your family and home by installing stable barriers around stoves and keeping smaller objects and furniture items away from the heat source.

Propane heaters

Propane heaters are an alternative heating source that is widely available in most areas. They come in different types, some requiring liquid propane tanks while others using a refill system. They vary in efficiencies and safety, and it’s essential to carefully read and follow manufacturer instructions, including the amount of time they should operate at one time.

It’s critical to remember, too, that using alternative heating methods without proper safety measures can lead to fire hazards and even health risks. It’s advisable to consult with a professional in the heating and cooling industry for guidance to choose the right alternative heating source for your home.

3. Tips for Sealing Drafts and Keeping Heat Inside

When your furnace is broken, every little bit helps when it comes to retaining warmth in your home. One of the biggest problems that homeowners face in keeping their homes warm is drafty doors and windows. A draft not only lets in cold air, but it can also cause your home to lose up to 30% of its heat. Here are some tips for sealing drafts and keeping the heat inside:

1. Use weather stripping: Weather stripping is a great way to seal the gaps around your doors and windows. It is easy to install and inexpensive. You can find weather stripping at your local home improvement store in different sizes and materials. Simply cut the stripping to fit the gap and apply it to the door or window frame.

2. Seal gaps with caulking: If your windows have gaps or cracks, using caulking to seal them can help to keep the warm air inside. Caulking is easy to apply, and it can last for years. Simply apply the caulking around the gaps in your windows and let it dry.

3. Use draft stoppers: Another way to seal drafts is by using draft stoppers. These can be placed at the bottom of doors to prevent air from coming in. You can purchase draft stoppers or make your own with a rolled-up towel or blanket.

By sealing drafts and gaps in your doors and windows, you can help to keep your home warm while waiting for your furnace repair or replacement. These are just a few of the many cost-effective strategies homeowners can use to stay comfortable during the colder months. In the next section, we will discuss using insulation to retain warmth in your home.

4. Utilizing Insulation to Retain Warmth

Short Explanatory Sentence: Insulation is essential for keeping your home warm during the cold season, especially when the furnace is broken.

Insulation is a material used to slow the transfer of heat between the inside and outside of a building. It acts as a barrier to keep warm air from escaping and cold air from entering. To increase the effectiveness of insulation, it should be installed in all areas of the house, including the walls, floors, and ceiling.

Tip 1: Check your home’s insulation levels. Insulation loses effectiveness over time and may need to be replaced. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, attic insulation levels should be between R-38 and R-60. The walls should be between R-11 and R-21.

Tip 2: Use weather stripping to seal doors and windows. One of the biggest culprits for energy loss in a home is air leaks around windows and doors. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal any gaps and prevent cold air from entering.

Tip 3: Use curtains and window coverings to trap heat. Curtain fabrics play a significant role in retaining heat. Heavy fabrics, such as wool and velvet, can reduce heat loss by up to 25%. Insulated curtains can also help retain warmth and keep drafts from seeping in.

In conclusion, insulation plays a crucial role in keeping your home warm when the furnace is broken. It helps retain heat and prevent cold air from getting inside the house. By checking insulation levels, using weather stripping to seal doors and windows, and utilizing heavy fabrics to trap heat, you can maximize the effectiveness of insulation and stay warm during the winter months.

5. Tricks for Maximizing Sunlight and Natural Heat

In the absence of a working furnace, you can rely on natural heat sources to keep your home warm and comfortable. The sun is an excellent source of free heat, and you can take advantage of this by maximizing the amount of sunlight that enters your home.

Open Your Curtains and Blinds
Natural light can help to warm up your home, so try to let in as much sunlight as possible during the daytime. Open your curtains and blinds to allow the sun’s rays to shine in. Make sure to close them at night, though, to avoid losing heat through the windows.

Use Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces can help to direct sunlight into your home. If you have mirrors or other reflective surfaces, place them strategically so that they reflect sunlight onto walls or other surfaces that can absorb and radiate heat. You can also invest in reflective window films, which can help to boost the amount of sunlight that enters your home.

Strategically Place Furniture
The placement of your furniture can also impact the amount of natural light and heat that enters your home. Move furniture away from windows during the day to allow sunlight to reach the floor and walls. You can also use furniture to help trap heat, such as by placing a bookshelf on an external wall. The bookshelf can help to create a barrier that keeps the warm air in and the cold air out.

Maximize Passive Solar Energy

Passive solar energy involves using your home’s natural structure and design to capture and store heat from the sun. This can include things like south-facing windows, thermal mass walls, and heat-absorbing flooring materials. By maximizing passive solar energy, you can keep your home warm and cozy without relying on a furnace.

By utilizing these tricks, you can make the most of the natural heat sources available to you. This will not only help you stay warm, but it can also save you money on your energy bills.

6. Expert Advice on Furnace Repair and Replacement

If all the alternative heating methods fail and your house is still cold, then it’s time to consult an expert. There are two options, repair or replace your furnace. Hiring a professional repair technician to fix the furnace is the most cost-effective option. However, if the furnace is older than 15 years, you may need to replace it.

Assessing the Problem

Before deciding on whether to repair or replace the furnace, it’s essential to assess the problem thoroughly. Call a qualified technician to inspect and diagnose the cause of the breakdown. The expert will check the ignition, thermostat, and ductwork and determine whether the furnace can be repaired or not. If the repair cost is more than 50% of the furnace’s cost, then replacement is the best option.

Cost-effective Strategies

Furnace repair can be expensive, but there are cost-effective strategies to stay comfortable while waiting for repairs. You can try layering up with warm clothing, using electric blankets, or investing in portable space heaters. You can also save money on electricity by turning down the thermostat and programming it to turn on only when needed. Moreover, sealing leaks and insulating your home can reduce drafts and save on heating costs.

In conclusion, it’s essential to seek an expert opinion when it comes to furnace repair or replacement. A qualified technician will assess the problem and recommend the best course of action based on the furnace’s age, cost of repair, and efficiency. While waiting for repairs, stay comfortable and save energy by implementing cost-effective strategies.

7. Cost-effective Strategies to Stay Comfortable While Waiting for Repairs

How Do I Keep My House Warm When the Furnace Is Broken?

If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your furnace is broken, it can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. However, you don’t have to be left out in the cold while waiting for repairs. There are several cost-effective strategies you can use to keep your house warm while waiting for repairs.

1. Layer Up

One of the most cost-effective ways to stay warm is to layer up. Bundle up in warm clothing, socks, and blankets to retain your body heat and stay comfortable. By layering, you can trap heat close to your body and keep yourself warm without having to rely on your heating system.

2. Use Electric Space Heaters

If you have access to electric space heaters, they can be a great way to keep specific rooms warm while waiting for repairs. These heaters are portable and provide localized warmth, which means you can move them around as needed. They can also be more energy-efficient than your central heating system, which can help you save on your energy bill.

3. Maximize Insulation

Another cost-effective way to stay warm while waiting for repairs is to maximize your home’s insulation. Insulation helps retain heat in your home, so you might want to check if your home has adequate insulation. If not, consider adding more insulation to your walls, attic, and basement.

By using these cost-effective strategies, you can stay comfortable while waiting for furnace repairs. Remember to prioritize your safety, especially if you plan on using alternative heating methods. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow safety guidelines to avoid any accidents or injuries.

People Also Ask

What are some ways to stay warm without a furnace?

You can stay warm by using alternative heat sources such as space heaters, electric blankets, and heated mats. You can also wear warm clothing and layer up with blankets. Keeping your windows and doors sealed will also help retain heat.

Can I use my oven to heat my home?

No, using your oven to heat your home is dangerous and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, consider using a space heater or portable electric radiator for warmth.

Is it safe to use a space heater?

Yes, space heaters are safe to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines. Always keep space heaters away from flammable materials, turn them off when leaving the room, and never leave them unattended.

How can I prevent my pipes from freezing if the furnace is broken?

You can prevent your pipes from freezing by keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate, turning on your faucets to a slow drip, and insulating your pipes. You can also use a space heater or heated mats to warm up areas where pipes are located.

When should I call a professional to fix my furnace?

If you’ve tried troubleshooting and your furnace still isn’t working, it’s time to call a professional. Other signs that you need to call a professional include unusual noises, a yellow pilot light, and a strong gas smell.


Keeping your home warm when the furnace is broken may seem challenging, but there are several ways to do so safely. Using alternative heat sources such as space heaters and heated mats, wearing warm clothing, and keeping your windows and doors sealed will help retain heat. It’s important to remember to follow safety guidelines and call a professional if necessary.