With another cold, snowy winter predicted in the Northeast, there’s never been a more important time to start thinking about your heating system. The last thing you want is to end up in a dangerous situation with no heat to keep your family warm and safe.
Proper planning is critical and with the crazy weather we have around here, being prepared means more than just having your heating system inspected, tuned up and maintained (though that’s certainly important). To survive winter in New England, you need to have a plan B. Not sure what that means? Here’s what you need to know.
Preparing for a Power Outage
Whether it’s a blizzard, ice storm or even just strong winds, the chance of a power outage goes up significantly during the winter months. It’s important to have a plan in place for situations in which you may face an extended period of time without power. Likewise, even when power does come back on relatively quickly, that doesn’t necessarily mean your furnace will be back up and running right away.
Here are a few things you can do in advance to prepare in case you have an issue with your heating system due to either a power outage or a mechanical problem.
- Install a backup heating source, such as a standby stove or heater that does not rely on electricity. For example: a propane or natural gas fireplace insert.
- If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, be sure you’re stocked up on wood and have the chimney or unit serviced and cleaned every fall.
- Invest in a whole-house generator that can be used to run electric heaters if needed.
- Get a battery powered or crank radio so you can listen to instructions or updates. Replace the batteries a couple of times a year.
- Make sure your home is equipped with a working carbon monoxide monitor and replace the batteries every six months.
What to Do During a Power Outage
The next step in preparing is to know how to respond once the power goes out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Verify whether the outage is limited to your home. If the house next door still has power, double check your fuse box or circuit breaker.
- If the outage is widespread, contact your electric supply company.
- Turn off all appliances and electrical equipment and lower the thermostat of your heating system to a minimum. This can help prevent potential damages due to a power surge once the power comes back on.
- Turn off all lights, except one outside and one inside. This will help you and the electric company repair crews to know when power has been restored.
- Avoid opening your fridge or freezer unless completely necessary to preserve your perishable food.
- Never use home generators, camper heating equipment, charcoal grills or gas barbecues indoors. They can produce dangerous carbon monoxide.
- Be careful with candles. Use appropriate holders and never leave lit candles unattended. Always blow out candles before going to bed.
- Tune in to your battery-powered radio for updates on the outage and any instructions from the authorities.
- Make sure you have plenty of blankets on hand and consider dressing in several layers to stay warmer.
- Gather everyone into one room and close the doors to rooms that are not being used to conserve heat.
If your heating system has shut down due to a maintenance issue, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We have technicians on-call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and we will do everything within our power to get your heating system back up and running.
It’s important to note, however, that sometimes due to extenuating circumstances, there may still be instances in which you will be without heat for an extended period of time. Whether it’s a backlog of service calls or having to wait for a special part to come in, there may be times that we simply cannot instantly solve your heating system problem. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared.
When you have a backup plan, you can rest easy knowing that no matter what Old Man Winter throws your way, you and your family will be safe and comfortable until we can get you back up and running again.
If you need assistance creating your backup heating plan, contact us. We’re happy to help! And if you haven’t had your heating system inspected and tuned up yet, the time to schedule an appointment is now. Give us a call at 978-433-5373 or fill out our estimate form to discuss your needs and receive a free, no-obligation quote. We’d love to help make your cold New England winter warm and comfortable!