what to do if furnace conks out

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if you can't get a furnace to run and the outside temp is in the teens or lower, what should you do? I'd guess the first thing is to shut off the water main. Then do you have to open taps in the kitchen and bathroom? Do you have to open every one a little?
Would all of that insure that pipes won't burst?
Besides that, is there anything else to do? Thanks.
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Water laying in the pipes will still freeze if the main is shut off. They must be drained completely. Having flow through the pipes can prevent a freeze. Still water will freeze first.
You should have access to a service company that offer 24/7 protection. Any house can go 4 to 10 hours without a major freeze, but you do want someone out asap. Backup propane, kero, or electric heat helps too. Turn ont he gas range or electric oven. Do NOT use a charcoal grill.
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wrote:

Everyone should have at least one electric heater, and a kero heater is handy too, if the power goes out. Of course your first action should be to call a furnace repair service. They are supposed to be available 24/7. Of course if there is a disaster, you may not be able to get any furnace repair people, or any other help, and if the power is out, you are on your own. Thats why a kero heater (and several days of fuel), are good to have.
When you shut off the water, you MUST drain all pipes and the water heater, and get the water out of the toilet tank and bowl. Since you cant get all water out of the toilet bowl, antifreeze is needed, so it a good idea to always have a gallon of that on hand. (or remove the toilet and flip it upsidedown).
Another thing would be a generator large enough to power a furnace or electric heaters.
Some people have woodburners too (I do).
My elderly mother called me a few weeks ago during a cold spell, and called me around 2am and told me she was really cold, adn the furnace would not start. I explained to go turn up the thermostat and listen for the fan. The furnace would not light. I told her to call a furnace repair company. She insisted that they would not come during the night, and wanted me to come. I live over 100 miles away, on a farm, and I was snowed in. By the time I would dig out and drive there, it would have been noon. I told her I'd call a furnace company and hung up. I was thinking about calling the fire department in her city, when all of a sudden I remembered that she has a built in wall furnace in her basement. I used to live there, so I knew that. I immediately called back and told her to go in the basement and turn up the thermostat on the wall furnace, and stay down there until someone comes to fix the furnace. PROBLEM SOLVED.
However, I knew she was upset, so I called the person who cares for her, and they called her and then went over by her right after I called.
It sounds to me like you could use a little education on survival skills. They have books on that sort of thing at the library. When you live on a farm like I do, you need to know all of them. I just spent 6 days snowed in, with temps as low as MINUS 39. It was tough on both me and the animals, but we all survived. I even went outside unthawed my frozen sewer pipes at the peak of the cold spell (minus 39).
Dont take this wrong, everyone should know survival skills. City people have it a little easier, because there is more help available, but learn before you need it. And dont forget, most police and fire departments will assist when things bad enough.
Jim
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Jimw wrote:

This may sound like an odd question but why would you "unthaw" a sewer pipe? Did you use liquid nitrogen? Oops, I just looked it up. It's seems that it's a common mangling of the language. Sort of like "irregardless". *snicker*
TDD
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wrote:

Water laying in the pipes WILL freeze, but if the pipes are not full they will not split. Drain the pipes and keep SOME heat in the basement.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Are you not immediately arranging an emergency HVAC call?
Taking all precautions on use, you could run a kero heater or two.
You could also leave the water trickling a bit. Trickling water can add up pretty fast though. And if you are on septic, very bad for the system.
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On Sat, 17 Jan 2009 20:35:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Open the uppermost valve in the house, such as a showerhead on the top floor. Open the lowest valve valve. Most of the water should drain. Try to keep the house above freezing. Be extra safe with kerosene.
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Phisherman wrote:

The lowest valve is usually the water heater drain, or an expansion tank drain if you have a well.
nate
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And don't forget, if you have a garden faucet on the outside of your house, you may want to close the valve on the inside and open the outside faucet. Water freezing inside the faucet body can cause the faucet body to crack open. Up north, common practice every fall where expected temp at least one or two days is below zero F.
Phil
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If you weren't planning to have the heat restored for a day or two, you'd want to drain the plumbing lines and shut the water main. If you have a "boiler" and not a "furnace", you'd also need to drain the heating lines unless they have anti-freeze in them. A few portable heaters would help a bit too
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On Jan 17, 10:35pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Besides draining all water, flush toilet and put antifreeze in all the traps. Close the main.Open all faucets and the lowest drain in the basement. A few space heaters and the oven on will help.
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On Sat, 17 Jan 2009 20:35:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

no. Low spots can occur. Best thing to do would be to call the furnace guy and plug in enough electric heaters (each on its own circuit) to keep the house warm. They cost under $20 a piece, not like it is going to break the bank.
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I have a propane torpedo heater with some spare full tanks for emergencies. like 50,000 BTU. A buddy has frozen pipes at his home he just called to borrow it
those 20 buck electric heaters with no other nheat in a zero temperature are almost useless
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wrote:

I have a propane torpedo heater with some spare full tanks for emergencies. like 50,000 BTU. A buddy has frozen pipes at his home he just called to borrow it
those 20 buck electric heaters with no other nheat in a zero temperature are almost useless
BTU's are the same regardless of the heat source and how much they cost. Although it would take a pile of 1500 watt electric heaters to do the job, they are made for use in enclosed non vented spaces unlike propane heaters, and they don't smell of combustion gases
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That 1500 watt heater is only 5000 Btu so you'd need ten of them to equal one good sized propane heater. Propane is best if it does not need electricity at all. If power is out, you need an independent heat source.
I never did the calculations, but my home heater is 100,000 Btu and it does not run all the time so actual heat needed to maintain temperature is below that. While it may not be full comfort, about 35,000 Btu would stave off freezing.
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wrote:

My furnace is a 2 stage 35/50kbtu. House is 1350 sq ft 2 story with full basement (aproc 670 sq ft). Here in central/south-western ontario it has NEVER run on high, and with -20C temperatures it runs about 8 hours a day. That means about 10000 BTUs are required on the coldest days.
That would be 3KW of heat on steady. We have never spent $700 a year on gas - and we have a gas water heater as well. If my furnace quit and I could not get it repaired quickly I would grab the 3KW heater from the garage along with the welder extention cord and plug it into the drier plug in the basement, open the furnace blower compartment lid and run the furnace fan with the heater in the furnace room.
If the power goes out the 2500 watt Onan will run the furnace. (put the Onan in the shed and run 12Ga extention cord to the plug-in for the furnace in the garage at the panel. (poor man's disconnect)
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2009 08:41:01 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Each will produce 6450btu. A few will keep the place warm enough for the pipes. I prefer more comfort, so I have a 10,000 btu propane unit and a 18,000 btu kerosene unit. Even if the electric goes off, we will be warm.
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oops. each will produce 5100btu. Still, probably with strategic location,, enough to keep pipes from freezing.
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Chris Hill wrote:

I'd invest in a CO monitor.
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