Just in case the heat goes out

Brandon Scott is a Sherwood Park & Edmonton based mortgage consultant and the author of a weekly column entitled Real Estate Solutions in the Sherwood Park News. This article was originally published on November 23, 2012 Our homes are technologically advanced structures designed for our enjoyment and comfort. Think about all the modern conveniences our homes possess, such as being able to open the garage door with the push of a button — a huge pain if you had to get out of the vehicle each time to manually open and close it. Consider the sump pump in your basement that triggers on its own to remove any unwanted water away from the house’s foundation, preventing flooding and damage. It requires no thought at all and works whether we think about it or not. During this time of year with the weather temperatures getting colder, our furnace delivers heat to the home based on an automated climate controlled device. Another luxury our great grandfather’s would have certainly appreciated. Our family recently realized how much the furnace can be taken for granted and when not working how dreadful that can be. We awoke on a weekend morning with no heat. The house seemed colder than normal and initially we thought we would just turn up the heat by adjusting the settings on the digital thermostat. We quickly learned that despite the display window showing that the heat was on, there was nothing coming out of the vents. I shivered through breakfast, with extra layers of clothing on for the kids, and located the tool belt. After troubleshooting and tinkering, I realized we needed to call in a furnace expert. Fortunately, we located a company that was willing to come over on a Saturday morning and take a look. In no time at all the technician arrived and was able to determine that a small part had failed and was on their recall list. Since it was a newer unit there was no charge for the part to be replaced, and the heat was once again flowing. This made for a very happy family. What if there wasn’t a company willing to make weekend calls? What if all the companies offering emergency services were so booked that the soonest they could have someone at the house to investigate the problem was going to be the next day? Worse still, what if the weather outside was colder than it actually was, thereby causing the temperature inside the home to be even lower and perhaps dangerous? What then? No one wants to wake-up to a lack of heat in their home, but anything can happen. Weather conditions outside may make it impossible for a technician to get to your home quickly or for you to safely leave the house to warm-up. Just in case, I recommend that you have some essentials for a situation like this stored with your emergency preparedness kit. These items may include extra blankets, candles, sleeping bags, chemical hand warmers, and portable space heaters. The next time you’re out doing your holiday shopping, why not throw a few of the above items in your cart to make sure you are thoroughly prepared. Download the current e-edition of the Sherwood Park News