Most power outages in the winter result from problems caused by issues at the power plant or winter storms. It’s impossible to foresee either one, so preparing alternative sources of winter heat ahead of time may prevent hours or days of bone-chilling cold.
If you have a fireplace, have it cleaned and inspected before winter grips the area. Although fireplaces aren’t the most efficient way to heat, they do provide enough light and warmth to keep you comfortable. Be sure you have an adequate supply of firewood.
In lieu of a fireplace, look into a gas or propane portable heater. Most don’t require venting, but to be on the safe side, never run a boundless heater of any kind without cracking a window or exterior door. Ventless heaters and fireplaces rely on a shut-off switch to turn off when carbon monoxide (CO) levels increase and oxygen levels decrease.
If you don’t have a fireplace or a portable heater, consider these tips to maintain heat in your home and weather the power outage:
- Tighten up the windows and doors. If there are air leaks coming from either place, your home won’t retain as much heat. Hanging storm windows will help keep your home warmer, but in their absence, consider window sealing kits available at home centers. These form airtight seals between the indoors and outdoors and do help insulate your home.
- Burning candles can be a source of emergency heat in small rooms that are constantly attended. Do not use perfumed candles, since they are respiratory irritants. Soy and beeswax candles are the environmentally cleanest available.
- Eat hot food. Regardless of the season, you should always have at least three days worth of food for your family for emergencies. Unless you have a gas stove, use the barbecue outdoors to heat it to avoid the CO it emits.
Nobody wants to deal with a prolonged power outage, but when they happen, emergency heat sources will provide the safety you need. For more information about home heating, contact Detmer and Sons, providing HVAC services for Dayton-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).