It’s certainly been a surprising winter here in Middle Tennessee. With this week’s weather forecasts, it looks like that trend may continue. Just in time, we are back with part two of your Winter Power Outage Survival Guide. In this edition, we’ll discuss some of the important ways to keep your family and home safe from the dangers that can present themselves during a power outage. Check it out. And remember, at PJ’s HVAC Repair, we’re here to help you keep your family safe and warm. Please feel comfortable calling any time you need us!
PART 2: AVOIDING DANGER & DAMAGE
1) Frozen & Refrigerated Foods
We covered this last time, but it bears repeating. Avoid compounding your power outage problems by eating or drinking anything that could be a food poisoning risk. The general rule of thumb is four hours before an unopened refrigerator loses its cooling effectiveness, and between 48 and 24 for an unopened freezer, depending upon fullness. If you find that the roads become passable before the power returns, you may want to pick up a few things to help salvage the fresh and frozen food items before they expire, such as ice or dry ice, and coolers.
2) Safe Heating & Cooking
Please resist any temptation to utilize outdoor use equipment and appliances for warmth and food preparation, including generators, gas grills and kerosene heaters. These are only safe to operate with full ventilation, as many produce deadly, odorless carbon monoxide as they burn. A regular wood stove or fireplace is a much safer choice during a power outage.
3) Protecting Your Home from Damage:
The majority of newer, high efficiency furnaces produce condensation as a by-product of operation. If you have such a unit in your home, check it out. Does the condensate line (the pipe that carries the condensation away from the unit) lead to an indoor sink or sump pump? If not, it probably leads to a pump depositing water from condensation outside. If the end of this line becomes blocked by snow or freezes, it could cause your furnace to fail once power is reestablished.
Turn of a heat pump at the thermostat until power is reestablished in order to protect from damage, as well as prevent potential overload to your home’s circuit when power is restored.
YOUR WATER HEATER
A power outage lasting a few short hours poses no threat to your water heater. Even better, the hot water will still be available for you when you absolutely need to use it, which could be important in an emergency. However, remember that each time you use the faucet,for using the hot and cold handles together for tepid water, or turning the handle to the central position between hot and cold, will cause cold water to be mixed with the hot water stored in your water heater. That means your potentially precious supply of hot water is jeopardized with each such use of the faucet.
When possible, use the cold water lever only. Otherwise, protect your supply of hot water during a power outage by only using the “hot” handle, or turning the handle to the right only for a single-handled faucet. Always avoid moving the handle to the center. True, it will diminish the total amount of hot water remaining. Still, it won’t cool the entire supply in the reservoir with the addition of cold water.
All homeowners know that freezing temperatures can pose a real threat to their indoor plumbing. It’s not hard to figure out that this threat is increased in the case of a power outage, especially long term. If you are facing an extended power outage of two to three days or more, knowing how to avoid frozen and bursting pipes is crucial.
– Turn off the main water valve to your home.
– Open all faucets just slightly to allow water to drain slowly.
– Turn off gas heat at the water heater.
– Turn off electric heat at the water heater breaker.