What to Expect During an HVAC Emergency: A Helpful Guide

It's two days before Christmas, it's snowing outside, and your heater stops working. No matter what you do, you can't get it to turn back on again.  

Now what?

You have an HVAC emergency on your hands. 

You can't make it through the rest of the holiday without heat. It's  too dangerous, not to mention cold! So how do you fix the problem?

We've put together this guide to walk you through what to do during an HVAC emergency. 

So let's get started.

How to Find an Emergency HVAC Repair Company 

Not sure if the HVAC company you normally call has emergency services?

The first thing you should do is give them a call (if you can) or hop on their website. If they do offer emergency repair services, stick with them. Since you already have a relationship with this company, you know you can trust them. 

If your normal HVAC company doesn't have emergency services, make a quick Google search for emergency HVAC repair in your area. You should find several results right at the top of the page. 

Make sure any  company you choose has 24/7 availability. You need someone who can drive to your house in the middle of the night should the situation call for it. 


What to Expect During Emergency HVAC Repair 

Once you find an emergency HVAC repair company near you, make sure you give them a call right away. They might walk you through the repair process over the phone (if it's something really simple), but most of the time, they'll send someone out to you. 

Here's what you should expect after you make the call. 

The Wait 

Emergency HVAC repair is fast, but it isn't instantaneous. You'll have to wait for the repair person to get ready and drive to your home. Depending on where you live, this can take a few hours. 

That's why it's always a good idea to call as soon as you notice a problem with your HVAC system. This will ensure you get it fixed as soon as possible. 

The Initial Inspection 

Once the repair technician arrives at your home, they'll give your HVAC system a quick inspection. This will give them the chance to spot the problem and figure out the best way to repair it. 

The Quote 

Before they start the repairs, though, the technician will give you a quote for the job. 

Be prepared to pay a lot more than you usually would for an HVAC repair. Since the repair technician is working after hours, on the weekend, or during a holiday, the cost isn't cheap. 

But don't let the extra cost dissuade you. If you have to call emergency HVAC services, the extra cost is worth your safety.  

Make sure you accept the quote. The repair technician won't be able to start working until you do. 

The Repair 

After you give the go-ahead, the technician will start the repair. This process can take an hour or two depending on the type, size, and urgency of the damage. 

The Results 

Your HVAC system will be back up and running by the time the repair technician leaves. You can settle back into your normal routine in the comfort of your now warm (or cool) home. 

What Is Considered an HVAC Emergency?

Now you know what happens during an HVAC emergency, but when should you make that call?

Not all HVAC repairs require emergency service. It's a good idea to wait until the next business day to call your HVAC company if you can. This will help you dodge the extra price. 

But remember, money isn't the issue when it comes to emergency repair. 

True HVAC emergencies can put you and your family (and your home) in danger if you don't get it taken care of right away. As a general rule, you have an HVAC emergency if something serious happens to your system after hours, over a weekend, or during a holiday. 

Here are a few common examples of an HVAC emergency. 

1. Extreme Weather Conditions 

If you live in an area that gets extreme weather conditions, you need to call for emergency HVAC repair right away. Sitting in a hot house in the middle of summer can  cause dehydration, and a house without heat can lead to  hypothermia in the winter

Both of these are serious medical conditions that can, in drastic situations, result in death.

It's not worth putting you and your family at risk. If you're in the middle of a heatwave or a snowstorm, call your HVAC company as soon as your system stops working. 

2. Refrigerant Leaks 

Refrigerant is the part of your air conditioning that makes the air cold. Without it, your air conditioner wouldn't do much good. 

But refrigerant leaks can be extremely dangerous. 

Refrigerant is harmful to both the environment and your health. If you're exposed to refrigerant for too long, you can develop  refrigerant poisoning. This can cause symptoms like: 

  • Trouble breathing
  • A buildup of fluid in your lungs
  • Damage to your organs 
  • Death 

Don't mess around with a refrigerant leak. The second you suspect something is wrong with your refrigerant, call for help. 

3. Other Types of Leaks

Your HVAC system shouldn't be leaking. If you find water (or even large amounts of condensation) where it shouldn't be, something has gone wrong inside your unit. 

The most common cause of leaks is a clogged condensation line. 

In most cases, a small leak isn't a huge concern. But large leaks can cause all kinds of problems. It's a good idea to call HVAC emergency services to get major leaks repaired right away. 

4. Frozen Parts 

There is a lot of water inside your HVAC system. If you have an outdoor unit, the water might freeze inside your system during the winter. If this happens, you won't be able to run your unit. 

The ice can also do some serious damage to your system. 

Your HVAC unit might also have trouble with freezing during the summer—even if it's an indoor unit. For example, the coils can freeze if the refrigerant falls to a below-freezing temperature. This can be dangerous. 

It's never a good idea to run your HVAC system while it's frozen. Give your HVAC emergency repair company a call instead. 

5. Strange Sounds

Noise is normal for your HVAC system, especially for a furnace. 

But loud, usual screeches or squeals mean something isn't working right inside your unit. You might have a loose part or a failing motor. Either way, continuing to run your unit after hearing these sounds can cause serious damage. 

You should never ignore a loud boom or banging sound, like a gunshot. This might mean you have a buildup of gas in your furnace, which can be extremely dangerous. 

Turn off your unit and call for help immediately. 

6. The Smell of Gas

Do you smell sulfur or rotten eggs in your home?

That means you have a gas leak. Turn off your HVAC system, switch off your main gas line, and get the entire family outside. If it's cold, ask your neighbors if you can stay with them for a few hours. 

Then call your  emergency HVAC repair company.

7. Blown Fuses

If your HVAC system is blowing fuses, there's something wrong. The most common cause of blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers is an overworked system. 

But there can be many causes of this problem. 

A professional repair technician will have to examine your system before you can get it running again. 

8. The Health of a Family Member Is at Risk 

A sick family member, especially seniors or young children, might not be able to handle staying in a cold house for too long. Low temperatures can make their sickness even worse. 

Let your repair technician know you have someone in the house who needs heat right away. They'll make sure they take care of the problem as fast as they can. 

How to Stay Warm/Cool While You Wait 

Remember, it can take the HVAC repair technician a few hours to get to your home and finish the repair. You'll need to find other ways to stay warm or cool while you wait. 

Here are a few helpful tips. 

During the Winter 

Pick a room on the warmest side of your house and have everyone sit inside together. Hang thick blankets over the doors and windows to help with insulation. If you have any portable, electric heaters, plug those in and turn them on. 

Staying in the same place will help conserve heat. It can also help to lay under blankets together as your body heat will help warm each other up. 

During the Summer 

Turn on your ceiling fans, plug in some floor fans, and drink plenty of water. You can also put ice packs against your skin or put buckets of ice in front of the fans. This will make the air feel even colder. 

What to Do During an HVAC Emergency

The most important thing to do during an HVAC emergency is stay calm. 

Turn off your HVAC system and give the repair company a call. Then do your best to keep everyone warm or cool while you wait. If you don't feel safe in the home, head to a neighbors house instead. 

Do you have an HVAC emergency?

Don't hesitate to  get in touch with us. We've available 24/7 to make sure your HVAC system keeps running when you need it. 

Give our team a call for the most dependable HVAC repairs in your area.

Let us keep your system humming throughout the seasons! Call the number below to schedule a service with one of our experienced HVAC technicians. If you don't have time to call us now, and would like to send us a message, fill in the contact form here.

(512) 284-3412

Call now!