If you live in an area where winter brings months of extreme cold, punctuated with heavy snowfalls and the occasional ice storm, then you probably have already experienced at least one power outage that resulted in discomfort for your family. If you were fortunate, the interruption in power you experienced lasted only a few hours and did no serious harm.
But many homeowners in these areas experience much more serious problems when their home furnaces and heating sources are without power, including damage to plumbing pipes and appliances and health risks to people and pets. If you are unwilling to subject your family to the possibility of having no heat during a power outage in the future, here are some tips to help you select and install a supplemental heat source in your home that will be able to prevent this problem.
Choose alternative heat based on the most available fuel source
Since a supplemental heat source should always be convenient and affordable to operate, the first criteria for selecting one should be based on the most available fuel source. Some examples to consider include:
- natural gas fireplaces or wall heaters - this works well in areas where natural gas is piped to most homes and is readily available and relatively inexpensive
- liquefied propane (LP) gas fireplaces or wall heaters - installing a propane tank to be filled on an as-needed basis is an economical choice for a areas where natural gas is unavailable, such as rural or remote areas
- pellet or corn stoves - these are good choices for homeowners who can purchase and store a large supply of the wood pellets or corn for the stove's fuel source
- wood or coal - both of these choices can be used to provide substantial amounts of heat for the average home, but there are venting, safety, and storage considerations that need to be considered
When choosing a pellet or corn stove, remember to choose a model that uses gravity to feed the fire, instead of electricity, to ensure consistent heat during a power outage.
Choose the location for your supplement heat source carefully
Once you have selected the best supplemental heat source for your home and situation, you will need to choose where to locate it in your home. If the primary job of the heat source is to keep the family safe and warm during a power outage, placing it in a room that can be closed off from the rest of the home is a good option. Good choices might be a den, family room, basement, or kitchen where the doors can be closed or open doorways can be covered with blankets to help concentrate the heat where the family has gathered.
To learn more about choosing and installing the best type of supplemental heat for your area, homeowners should work with reputable heating service contractors like Biggerstaff Plumbing Heating & Air.