It's dead in the middle of winter. Your trusty furnace fails you, and you are stuck in the house with no heat until a heating repair professional can get through the snow and ice and help you out. It is not at all uncommon for heating emergencies to happen in the coldest parts of winter when home heating systems are under the most strain. However, if you are a little educated about keeping warm, you and your family should be okay. Here are a few questions you should know the answers to during a heating emergency at your home in the cold of winter.
Is it true snow can insulate your home in a heating emergency?
Snow is actually an insulative material, even though it is cold. In far-north places, such as Alaska, it is not uncommon for people to pack snow around their home to help thwart cold drafts from blowing into the house. In the event of a heating emergency, if there is a lot of snow surrounding your house, it won't hurt to pack a lot of it against the exterior of the outer walls and windows. The snow barrier will help combat drafts and keep the warm air inside your home from spilling out. Ten inches of snow provides the same insulative value of six inches of fiberglass insulation.
Should you let in sunlight or block the windows?
The answer to this question will depend on a few things. If you have fairly modern windows, you probably will not feel cold air by standing in front of them, which means leaving these windows uncovered will be a good way to allow warming sunlight in. On the other hand, if you have rather old windows that are kind of drafty, your safest bet will be to cover them with heavy drapes or spare blankets. Even though the sunlight can bring in warmth, the cold air slipping through old windows will neutralize any heat you reap.
Is it safe to use a hair dryer for heat?
In essence, a handheld hairdryer is like a mini space heater. There is an electric coil inside that heats up and a fan that pushes air over the heated coil so the air that comes out is heated. You're likely not going to see a lot of difference in room temperature by running a blow dryer constantly, but it can help in a really small space. For example, you could gather everyone in the bathroom and run the hairdryer and likely bring up the temperature enough to feel more comfortable.