Whether you live in St. Paul or Minneapolis, you can bet that when your furnace breaks down, it will happen right in the middle of a nasty cold spell. Not only that, it will also occur when there is a huge outbreak of broken furnaces all over the city, so you might have to wait awhile until your furnace repair company can get there. Now keep in mind, most furnace breakdowns can be avoided with regular maintenance, but we will visit that subject some other time.

Now, your furnace is on the fritz and it is starting to get cold in your house, just what should you do?

The first thing you want to do is make sure you and your family are not in any danger. If you smell natural gas, leave your home immediately. The thing you don’t want to do is mess around, especially if you can hear the gas hissing. Do not go back into the house for any reason until the problem is resolved.

If there is no danger, then you need to look for another heat source until your furnace can be repaired. This is a great time to gather that chopped wood and put your fireplace to use. If you have a fireplace that is. If you have space heaters, now is a good time to utilize them. But just make sure you think safety first and follow the directions that came with the heaters.

When the house becomes colder, the best way for you and your family to stay warm is by dressing warmly. Start off with long underwear or sweats and a t-shirt and begin to layer your clothes. That sweater your aunt gave you for Christmas might be so ugly you wouldn’t be seen in public with it on, but it is warm and a good choice of clothing to wear. You will also want to have plenty of blankets, quilts and throws available.

When your furnace is not working, check around your home and seal up places where air might escape. Make sure all windows and doors are closed and sealed and close off rooms you won’t be using. Try to limit the number of times people come in and out of your home, a wide open door is just letting in more cold air.

When your furnace is not working, it is a great time to do some baking. Crank that oven on and make a batch of cookies or a pie or even bake a cake. The goodies will supply warmth and energy and the oven will heat up your kitchen. Just don’t turn your oven on for heating purposes only, it can be dangerous.

If you own a treadmill or other exercise devices, now is a good time to use them. Walking a few miles on your treadmill is a sure way to warm yourself up.

Lastly, light a few candles, put on some happy music and have the whole family gather in one room to play board games like Monopoly and Clue. Everybody will get so caught up in the competition and fun that they will forget about the broken furnace.