If you know your furnace is on its last legs but you have yet to replace it, then it's best to be prepared for a possible malfunction this winter. Going without heat is never fun, but it won't be such a calamity if you take these steps to prepare for the worst.
Purchase Some Electric Blankets
If the heat fails late at night and you have to wait until morning for your HVAC tech to arrive, you don't want to be left shivering the night away without sleep. Leaving a space heater on while you're sleeping is not always a safe idea, but an electric blanket, which is made to be plugged in safely while you snooze, can keep you warm in a chilly home. Purchase one for each member of the family just in case you're left dealing with heat loss on a chilly winter night.
Have a Good Friend On Call for Emergencies
If the temperature outside is really cold when your heater fails, your home may quickly become uninhabitable. Plus, you'll want to turn the plumbing off to prevent the pipes from freezing, so you won't have any running water. A good solution for situations like these is to have a friend on-call. Ask if you can stay with them in case of a heating emergency this winter. Giving them some forewarning that this might happen will allow them to prepare by perhaps setting up a guest room or making sure they keep the couch clear.
Have a Good HVAC Company On Call
If your HVAC company is only open limited hours or takes a long time to get around to repairs, it might be best to find a new one before you actually need emergency repair service. Look for a company based close to your home so they don't have to travel far. Make sure they offer true, 24-hour emergency service and that they have someone who answers the phone day or night.
Minimize Stress on Your HVAC System
If you can make things easier on your heating system, it will be less likely to fail. Keep the thermostat a few degrees lower, change the air filter on a monthly basis, and maybe even turn the heat off on those unseasonably warm days when your home stays pretty comfortable without it. You may delay an inevitable breakdown by a few days or even allow your aging furnace to last through the winter.