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Winter Storm Prep: Home Heating During a Power Outage

Photo of a women bundled up in her cold home

Winter Storm Prep: Home Heating During a Power Outage

When living on Long Island, winter storms are inevitable and power outages are common, especially within heavily wooded areas or in cases of high winds. Outages can last for hours or even several days. In addition, harsh weather such as freezing temperatures and rain/snow mixtures cause poor road conditions, making it dangerous to leave your house for supplies. These various concerns make it essential to have a winter storm prep plan for your family in case an emergency situation arises.

When coming up with your family’s plan, there are many factors that come into play as you consider how best to heat your home during a winter storm. Will your heating system work in the case of a power outage? Do you have any alternate sources of heat if your heating system fails? It’s important to answer these questions ahead of time during the planning process. That way you can feel safe, prepared, and comfortable even before you receive a winter storm advisory warning.

Winter storm prep plan checklist: heating system maintenance

The best way to ensure your heating systems are in good working order is to schedule annual maintenance and cleaning. You may have experienced the winter storm rush in grocery and convenience stores to stock up on water and supplies. That same rush can occur within the heating service industry in winter, so it’s important to book your maintenance appointment well ahead of the first storm. Your maintenance technician may be completely booked or unable to reach your location in time if you wait until the last minute.

Another important thing to consider if you have a furnace or boiler, is your heating oil levels. Having enough heating oil is a key part of heating your home during a winter storm. You can even determine whether your oil delivery company has an automatic delivery service for an extra convenience that will leave you worry-free.

Preparing your home before the storm arrives

Your house is the best protection against the elements. Take the time to prepare your home and family prior to an oncoming storm. Our winter energy-saving tips can be a great starting point for your winter storm prep. Simple solutions can be a tremendous help in keeping your family and home warm. Bundle up in layers and blankets, and close doors to rooms not in use in order to consolidate heat.

Other types of home maintenance to consider before winter include installing storm doors and windows, and improving your water heater, pipe, and home insulation. The last thing you want during a storm is for your pipes to freeze due to inefficient insulation. According to the Red Cross, running water through your pipes, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. However, you may also consider pipe insulation to further reduce heat loss and decrease the chances of freezing.

Alternative heating sources during a power outage

If your power does eventually go out, unfortunately so will your main heating system. Even oil, propane, and natural gas furnaces use electricity for ignition within their interior components. This is why your winter storm prep plan should include at least one (if not multiple) alternative heating source.

If your home has a fireplace or wood-burning stove, this may be your go-to alternative source of heat. Keep in mind that fireplaces need to be maintained annually, which should also be added to your winter storm prep checklist. If your fireplace is not maintained properly, your heating may escape through the chimney, set uncontrolled fires, or cause other costly issues.

Another option for alternative heat sources are portable propane or kerosene powered heaters. It’s extremely important that you ensure heaters are rated for indoor use before purchasing. Especially when using kerosene, make sure you vent any heater to the outside to eliminate threats of carbon monoxide poisoning. For your family’s safety, be sure to read all instructions and install battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home before use.

Backup power generators

Backup power generator
Your winter storm prep research would not be complete without looking into home generators. Due to their convenience and ease of use, home generators are a largely popular alternative heating source for families across Long Island. They are available in both temporary and permanent options.

Temporary portable generators can be stored in your garage or shed, and taken out before a winter storm. Usually portable generators are used for individual appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. Although they can be hooked up to your furnace as well, in order to do this accurately and safely it’s best to do some very thorough research. You may consider contacting your heating service provider for their insight.

If you want a longer-lasting solution, take a look at permanent automatic generators. These generators kick in automatically when they detect that your furnace has failed. The seamless transition of your permanent automatic generator leaves you with no work on your behalf. Your winter storm prep plan should include annual generator maintenance as recommended. It may even be possible to schedule this maintenance conjointly with your annual heating system maintenance.

Prep your home for winter today with OSI Comfort Specialists

Though winter weather in New York can be harsh, establishing your winter storm prep plan can give you comfort that your family and home will be safe in the event of a severe storm. OSI Comfort Specialists is your one stop shop for heating maintenance services, oil delivery, plumbing, and electrical. We also install home generators to prepare you for any power outage, and provide 24/7 service, even during a winter storm! Give us a call at 516-763-1400 for more information. OSI Comfort Specialists serves Oceanside and the surrounding areas of Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Queens.