If your heat goes out
Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience your heat going out during a bad winter storm; but if it does, here are some helpful tips to get you through the situation safely:
- Roll up a towel and place it at the base of exterior doors, and then hang blankets over those doors for additional protection from the cold. The blankets can also remind everyone to keep the door closed, as an open exterior door can quickly drop the inside temperature by up to 10°F. If you have to go outside, try to use a door that goes through a garage or enclosed porch.
- If a power outage is lengthy, move all your activities into one room. The living room is usually a good candidate since you’ll have the most space there. Keep all other interior doors closed so you can retain some of the room’s heat. Gather flashlights, blankets, sleeping bags, and extra layers of clothing, particularly if you have insulated clothing or winter sports gear. Put on gloves and wear a hat.
- If you have a tent and enough space, you may want to consider putting it up inside. The tent will protect you from the cold air in your home just like it does when you’re camping, and it will make it easier to capture and share body heat.
- When the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed, unless you briefly open them to grab perishable food. Eat foods from the refrigerator first, since they will be the first to go bad. Items in the refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours if the refrigerator is unopened. A freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hours if it is full, but only about 24 hours if it is half full.
If you’re using a backup generator, you’ll need to exercise a few precautions:
- Never run the generator inside the garage, house, or any other enclosed area.
- Station the generator outside in a well-ventilated area with its exhaust directed away from your home.
- Using heavy-duty extension cords rated for outdoor use, temporarily connect the generator to electric space heaters and any other electrical appliances you need to power.
A wood or gas fireplace is an obvious way to warm a room when the heat is out. Gas fireplaces that are equipped with a battery backup for the ignition will continue to work even if there is no electricity. For wood fireplaces, have your chimney cleaned and inspected before winter, and make sure you have enough wood to carry you through an emergency. You can conserve wood by using the fireplace intermittently, allowing the room to cool a little between fires. Whether you’re using wood or gas, keep flammable items well away from the fireplace.
Portable, nonelectric space heaters are another option to warm a room. Make sure propane heaters are indoor-safe because many propane heaters designed for outdoor use can cause a deadly carbon monoxide buildup if used in an enclosed space. Kerosene heaters also produce carbon monoxide, but when operated properly do so at a minimum. It’s a good idea to crack open a window for ventilation when you use a space heater, and keep it at least three feet from anything flammable.Generators, fireplaces and non-electric space heaters can all produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas, as can any furnace that burns fuel. Always make sure to have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and check their batteries periodically through winter.
And of course, call the professionals at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating. We will do the best we can to keep you and your family warm and safe.