Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Emergency Heating Measures for Winter Power Outages

Although it’s uncommon, there are seasonal storms and accidents that will knock out the power for hours and sometimes longer, leaving San Diegans scrambling for emergency heat. It’s easier beforehand to make a plan than it is to look for resources during a full-blown outage.

Safe Heating

  • Gas fireplaces. Many of the homes in the San Diego area have gas fireplaces that are a source of some heat during an emergency. Unless yours was designed to radiate heat into your space, chances are you’ll have to sit close by to get the most benefits. It’s also not a dependable resource in the event the gas is off due to earthquake damage.

    Unfortunately, you can’t use a gas fireplace to burn wood. It’s not built to the same code. As of the time of this writing, wood burning fireplaces are still allowed in San Diego County.
  • Propane heaters. There are some portable heaters designed for tent camping that will provide some heat for a small room or space in your home. Even though these heaters burn cleanly, they still emit carbon monoxide (CO) and other noxious combustion gases.

Always have fresh batteries in your CO detectors when using any of these heating resources.

Staying Warm Naturally

You might be able to eliminate the need for emergency heat altogether by:

  • Dressing in layers.
  • Sealing the air leaks throughout your home.
  • Setting aside one room in your home for your family to gather during the power outage. Your body heat will warm it naturally. If it has hard-surface flooring, bring in rugs or use blankets on the floor to increase trapped body heat.
  • Having enough food. Keep three days worth of ready-to-eat food in your emergency supplies. Heating it first on the barbecue will also keep you warmer.
  • Seek out the sun.
  • Take advantage of sunshine by opening the window coverings to use free solar heating.

Making plans for emergency heat will help you withstand a storm or power disruption in the winter. For more information, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, providing HVAC services for North County homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).