Winter Storm Power Outage? Fire Up!
Most of us have been there… It’s storming, the power went out and you’re scrambling for flashlights. To make matters worse, it’s 20 degrees outside and your furnace shut down, making it uncomfortable and maybe even impossible to stay in your home. But if you have a stove, fireplace or fireplace insert, you’re among the lucky.
Hearth Products to the Rescue
Depending on what kind of hearth product you have and what fuel it uses, you may be able to generate heat so you can stay comfortably in your home.
- Wood. If you have an efficient (preferably EPA-certified) wood-burning fireplace or stove and plenty of wood stacked, you’re in good shape. Just keep the fire going until the power is restored. To ensure you’re prepared and safe, don’t forget to have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.
- Gas. If you have a gas fireplace with a standing pilot, you can light it manually to activate the pilot and flames. If it was manufactured in recent years, it may have an energy-saving intermittent pilot ignition system, which requires electricity to spark the pilot flame. Many gas fireplaces and inserts made by Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra-Fire have IntelliFire™ intermittent pilot ignition systems with battery backups that can be used to light the pilot and flames during power outages. Consult your model’s owner’s manual (available online) or local hearth dealer for more information and instructions.
- Pellets. Stoves and fireplace inserts that burn pellets require electricity to light the flame, but many models are available with battery backup systems. An example is the Harman XXV-TC. Like all Harman pell units, it's available with a battery back up system accessory. Consult your owner’s manual to determine what size and how many batteries are needed. Also, keep in mind that power outage power surges can damage circuit boards and motors. For this reason, it’s a good idea to unplug your pellet stove during a storm when it’s not in use, or keep it plugged into a surge protector.
For gas and pellet hearth systems, batteries should be used only in the event of a power outage, as battery longevity can be affected by heat. So, when your power is restored, remove the batteries and store them for the next time you need them.
Power outages quickly make us appreciate the everyday conveniences of modern living, including a warm home. Be prepared by first having a hearth product, and then having enough fuel and/or batteries to keep your house warm until the power is restored.
Stay warm and safe!