What To Do If Your Furnace Stops Working In The Winter

April 26, 2023

When it starts  getting cold outside in Utah and Nevada, your home is a much-needed warm refuge from winter weather, thanks to your furnace. But what if something goes wrong and your furnace breaks? What do you do if your furnace goes out this winter? It seems like appliances always break when you most need them, and the worst time for problems with your furnace is during the cold of late fall and winter. 

There’s no need to suffer through the cold. You can take action to get your furnace fixed and keep yourself warm in the process. These tips will walk you through what to do if your furnace goes out this winter so you can remain safe and warm while repairs are underway.

If you are currently experiencing a furnace breakdown, don’t wait to call an expert. Our team of experts are available 24/7 and can be contacted right now at 844-216-9300.


If the heat in your home suddenly stops working, you might wonder if there is a problem with your furnace. It may be something simple you can take care of on your own, or you may need to bring in professional help for a serious problem.

The first thing to do when your house gets unexpectedly cold is to check for simple problems with a simple solution. When you suspect the furnace has gone out, take these steps:

  1. Make sure your furnace is turned on—most furnaces have a switch mounted on their side (it may look like a light switch) that is easily bumped. Turn it back on and see if that fixes the problem.

  2. Make sure your furnace is set to “heat mode” on the thermostat. It is possible the thermostat is set to “cooling mode” which would keep the furnace from turning on to heat your home. If the thermostat is not on heating mode, set it to “heat” and wait to see if your home starts to get warmer.

  3. Reset your furnace.

  4. Check your thermostat to make sure some other setting wasn’t accidentally bumped or changed. If you have a smart thermostat, it might have an alert about a potential problem with your furnace. These are one of the many advantages of smart thermostats.

  5. Your thermostat may be broken: set it to different temperatures and see how the temperature in your home responds. If your furnace doesn’t react to the changes made to the thermostat temperature, this may be indicative of a thermostat issue. 

  6. Check your electrical panel to make sure you didn’t blow a fuse or trip a breaker. You can fix these at home.

  7. Make sure that the pilot light isn’t out or that the gas valve is not shut off. If it is, you can relight the pilot light. Once this is relit, you should start to notice a difference. However, it can take about 20-30 minutes for your home to warm back up depending on how far the indoor temperature has fallen while off. 

If none of these seem to be causing the problem with your heater, or if you feel uncomfortable dealing with them on your own, the next step when your furnace goes out is to call a professional such as YES! We can take a look at the gas and electrical components of your furnace to see what the problem is. Our team is available 24/7 and we are even available on holidays to ensure that no matter when an issue occurs, you can get the help you need. Call our team today at 844-216-9300 and schedule your service. Once that is scheduled, read our tips below that cover how to stay warm while you are waiting for help to arrive.


Like any appliance, furnaces do not last forever. Even with ideal conditions and regular seasonal maintenance, a furnace is an appliance with moving parts that will fail or have problems eventually. 

The average lifespan of a quality home furnace in the Utah or Nevada  climate is anywhere between 10 and 15 years. With hot summers and cold winters, a lot is required out of your furnace. Some of the highest quality models can last as long as 30 years. 

If your furnace is older than 15 years, it might be worth it to have it inspected and cleaned. This way you can have an idea of how much longer it will last and get any repairs needed to prevent your furnace from going out unexpectedly. If your furnace is reaching the end of its lifespan, YES! provides new furnace installation and replacement. We will help you choose the right furnace for your home to ensure optimal heating for a long time to come. 


When your furnace goes out, check for the easy fixes listed above and then call in a professional. While you’re waiting for your repair person to arrive, your priority should be to keep yourself, your family, and your home as warm as possible until the furnace can be fixed. The following are the best ways to stay warm during a furnace outage:


If a power outage wasn’t the cause of your furnace going out, use a space heater to stay warm. Plug it in a central room and try to stay there with your family most of the day until your furnace is up and running again. Gathering everyone together in one room will keep all of you warm. If you don’t have a space heater, try borrowing one from a neighbor. 

Make sure to place it on a level, flat surface, and don’t sit on or drape anything over the heater. Space heaters should never be left unattended.


If you have a gas or wood-burning fireplace, it’s time to turn it on. You can use your fireplace to warm up parts of your home. Make sure you use all safety precautions when starting a fire in your fireplace and never leave your fire unattended.


To keep cold air from getting in from outside, close all your windows and doors. Shut the blinds, curtains, and drapes. Hang towels over windows that don’t have a window treatment. Close the doors in rooms you aren’t using, including the basement and guest rooms. 

If your family can stick to one room until it warms up, hang up blankets in the doorway to try to keep the room as warm as possible.


Every time you open the door, heat escapes and cold air comes inside. Until your furnace is fixed, limit the number of times you go out and come back in. Consider just having everyone stay home for now.


Pull out the winter gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters, coats, fluffy socks, and even snow pants and boots. Dress in layers and cover up in blankets to stay warm. If you are bundled up inside the same way you would be if you go outside to play in the snow, you should be able to keep warm, even in a cold home. 


If you have little kids (and even if you don’t), have a dance party. The movement will warm you up and keep everyone in good spirits. If you prefer, do a workout, yoga, or anything to keep moving and warm up your muscles.


You should never turn on the stove or oven by itself for the purpose of warming up the house—that is a dangerous fire hazard. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bake or cook something delicious to pass the time and warm up the kitchen in the process. Try making soup to help you stay warm, or cookies, pie, bread, hot chocolate, or a hearty dinner casserole. 


If your furnace goes out at night and you need to wait until morning for a repair, have everyone in the house sleep together in the same room. Take the precautions listed above, and call it a slumber party to raise morale. Pile on as many blankets as you can find, and use the space heater in the room if you have one, making sure to use all safety precautions.


Many people worry about their pipes freezing as their home gets cold after a furnace breaks, and rightfully so. Going without heat for even a few hours can cause your pipes to freeze if the outdoor temperatures are low enough. 

Doing things like turning on the faucets, insulating your pipes, and keeping cabinets and closets open will ensure your entire house stays warm and can help you prevent your pipes from freezing as temperatures drop. 

If you do have issues with your pipes freezing or experience other plumbing problems, call your local plumber to help. When you contact our team to get help with your furnace, we can also inspect your plumbing.


Do you suspect your heater has gone out? Don’t suffer in the cold for too long. Call our team at 844-216-9300 for 24/7 heating emergency help and to get your furnace working as soon as possible. The experts at YES! are here to help.

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Last Updated: June 11, 2024