February 29, 2020

Can a Gas Heater Work During a Power Outage?

What’s worse than having to shovel several feet of snow in the dead of a Connecticut winter? Having to do it during a power outage!  If you are lucky enough to have an on-demand generator or even one you need to manually turn on, you can still run some lights, appliances, and most importantly your heat. Many people think if they have a gas furnace that their system will still be able to operate without electricity, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

There are several key components of your system that still rely on electricity to keep your heat pumping. Those parts can include:

  • Blower motors that push heated air through your ducts into your home and that push exhaust fumes through the flue and pipes.
  • Circuit boards that connect and relay information between your furnace and thermostat
  • Relays – that control gas flow
  • Fuel regulators and thermocouples – which are the safety devices

So what’s the best solution to heating your home during a power outage? A backup generator.

When you have a whole house back up generator a licensed technician can connect your furnace to the generator so when you lose power, your furnace can now draw electricity from the generator. Don’t forget to add these generator maintenance tips to your annual Spring or Fall cleaning list.

If you don’t already have a generator system in place, here are some simple tips on what to do when a power outage occurs:

  • Turn off power to your furnace – when your electricity is finally restored there could be a power surge that may damage key electrical components of your furnace – and they could be expensive to fix or replace
  • Turn off appliances, electronics, and lights that were left in the on position. If you were cooking anything on your stovetop when you lost power, you’ll want to be sure to turn it off, so you don’t start a fire once the power comes back.
  • Keep the doors to your refrigerator closed – this will help your food last much longer.
  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible, limiting how many times you go in and out of the house. This will keep your home warmer longer.

The most important thing to remember is safety first.  Don’t be tempted to run any type of kerosene or propane heater without proper ventilation – carbon monoxide poisoning is real and extremely dangerous, even life-threatening.  If you live in an area that suffers from continued power outages, invest in a generator – it’s really the only way to go!

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