Suddenly losing power is an unsettling feeling. Whether due to howling winds, storms, grid failure, or other unforeseen circumstances, losing electricity is an inconvenience at best…and a danger at worst. Thinking through how to respond when an outage occurs can help you keep calm and best leverage the resources you have.

When the power goes out, take a moment to assess the situation. Learn what you can about the scope of the outage, projected timelines for addressing, what your needs are, and what resources are at your disposal. Then follow our guidelines for getting through.

Need to ensure your fireplace is ready to go during times like these? Give us a call or book your annual inspection online today.

What Should I Keep Handy in Case of a Power Outage?

There are a variety of “off-the-grid” ways to pursue warmth, light, or power. Take stock of what you already have should an emergency arise, or consider investing in one of the following options. Then, make sure that the items you have are stored in a way that will be readily accessible during an outage.

original infographic stating things to do to prepare for an outage
  • Candles and lanterns. These options are simple and readily available. They provide some comforting ambiance, light, and limited warmth, but should be used with caution, especially around children and pets, to prevent fire hazards.
  • Battery powered devices. Flashlights, battery powered lanterns, and headlights are deeply useful as a light source during power outages. Depending on the device, these can provide lots of illumination and be carried with you wherever you go. Be sure to have extra batteries stored nearby.
  • Blankets. A stockpile of cozy layers will help hold in heat.
  • Portable propane heaters. Propane heaters provide immediate heat without requiring electricity. Because they come in various sizes, you can suit your space. These heaters are efficient and relatively safe when used correctly – but proper ventilation is imperative to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Kerosene heaters. Similarly, kerosene heaters provide heat for large areas efficiently and require adequate ventilation.
  • Generators. Generators aren’t a heating option, but they can power electric heaters, furnaces, lights, and other essential appliances. Be sure to have adequate fuel and keep generators maintained in and out of season, and be cautious about preventing carbon monoxide build up or electrical hazards.
  • Wood stoves & fireplaces. These are traditional and effective means of providing warmth, light, and a cooking surface. They also provide unmatched comfort and ambiance, which can help alleviate the stress of being without power. 

 Bad Weather Is Coming: Preparing for an Outage

Taking measures to create a safe and comfortable environment when an outage occurs is important, but advance preparation is really invaluable. How can you plan for the unexpected?

  1. Consider investing in a backup power source – such as a generator or solar panels – to provide electricity during extended power outages. This is helpful in preserving cold food, and vital if you rely on electricity to power medical devices.
  2. Create an emergency kit. Have all the essential supplies in one spot. What should be included? Consider flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, blankets, medical supplies, bottled water, and non-perishable food items.
  3. Insulate and seal drafts. Improving the insulation of your home and sealing any drafts will help you retain heat and conserve energy, which becomes increasingly important during a power outage.
  4. Check those batteries. You want your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly powered when switching to an alternate heating source to help ensure safe indoor air quality. 
  5. Get cooking. In addition to heating, plan alternative methods for cooking, especially if you live in an area prone to frequent or extended outages. Camping stoves, grills, and solar ovens may be useful, and of course fireplaces and wood or pellet stoves are excellent options.
  6. Stay informed. Monitor weather forecasts, particularly when things are looking dicey. Stay current on potential outages, and sign up for alerts from your utility company. Make plans for how you can maintain communication.
  7. Charge up. If the weather is threatening, it’s prudent to charge phones and other devices up fully, then use them sparingly if the power does fail to extend their battery life. If you own portable phone chargers, be sure they’re always powered up, too, and stored near your emergency kit.

Using Your Fireplace During a Power Outage

Your fireplace is a precious asset during an outage for all that it provides. But it, too, should be prepared. Never neglect your annual inspections and chimney sweeping, and this will help ensure that your fireplace is in good working order and the flue is unobstructed. Allow for good ventilation – your damper should be open fully to draw gases out of the flue and keep them from entering your living space. Since you’re trying to conserve heat and seal up the room, you want to be especially attentive to indoor air quality.

When relying on your fire for heat and light, monitor it carefully. A fire should not be left unattended, and using a screen or fireplace doors will help contain sparks and embers.

Being prepared can help you weather power outages with greater ease and peace of mind. And when it comes to warmth and comfort, few things rival the timeless appeal of a crackling fire in the fireplace – provided it’s properly maintained and used responsibly.

Call or book online with us today.