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As the winter chill settles in, you’ll want to make sure that your furnace is dependable in order to keep your home warm and comfortable. In some cases, even the most well-maintained furnaces can encounter emergencies during the coldest months. Therefore, knowing how to navigate these situations safely is crucial for every homeowner.

Below, we’ve listed 8 steps that you should take when your furnace faces an emergency during the cold season:

1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

In moments of crisis, maintaining a level head is key. If your furnace malfunctions or you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, first, ensure everyone’s safety by immediately evacuating the premises. Once outside, assess the situation carefully before taking any further action.

2. Shut Down the System

If it’s safe to do so, turn off your heating system to prevent further complications. For gas furnaces, locate the emergency shut-off valve and turn it off. Similarly, for electrical systems, use the breaker panel to cut off power to the malfunctioning unit.

3. Ventilate Your Home

If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, open doors and windows to allow fresh air in to circulate. This step is crucial for preventing CO building, safeguarding the health of everyone in the house.

4. Contact Emergency Services

In case of gas leaks, strong odors, or suspected carbon monoxide issues, call emergency services immediately. Evacuate your home and wait for the authorities to arrive. Never re-enter the premises until professionals have deemed it safe to do so.

5. Contact a Professional HVAC Service

After ensuring everyone’s safety, contact a trusted HVAC professional for prompt assistance. Emergency HVAC services are equipped to handle winter-related breakdowns and can quickly diagnose and address the issue.

6. Avoid DIY Repairs

While you may be tempted to fix the issue yourself, we recommend, especially during an emergency, refraining from DIY repairs. Winter-related furnace issues often require specialized knowledge and tools. Trying to fix the system without expertise could potentially worsen the situation, and pose safety risks.

7. Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Prevention is key to avoiding emergencies. Schedule regular maintenance with Steve’s Heating & Cooling to ensure your furnace is in top-notch condition before the harsh winter months arrive. Regular inspections can often catch potential issues before they become emergencies.

8. Consider Backup Heating Options

In severe emergencies where repairs might take time, having alternative heating sources like space heaters or a fireplace can provide temporary relief until your furnace is fixed.


Winter furnace emergencies can be daunting, but staying prepared and knowing the appropriate steps to take can mitigate risks and ensure the safety of your household. Remember, safety comes first – never hesitate to seek professional help when facing a furnace emergency.

Contact Steve’s Heating & Cooling for your HVAC needs

Since our inception in 1975, we have installed and serviced thousands of comfort systems throughout the Northern Kentucky area. By choosing Steve’s Heating & Cooling, you can be assured that you are getting the highest quality service from trusted HVAC professionals. Contact us today for a free consultation!