With the temperature starting to drop in the Washington D.C. area and the first snow of the year on its way, it’s a good time to remind you about how to handle heating your home during winter storm power outages. If you’re unable to use your furnace, you must be very careful when warming your home with alternative sources of heat since some of them can produce dangerous carbon monoxide. If you’re lucky, you’ll have firewood on hand to create a fire (if you have a gas fireplace, make sure the flue is open!).
Here are a few absolute “don’ts” when finding ways to stay warm in a power outage.
Don’t try to heat your house with a gas oven.
If you have a gas oven, cooking for short periods is fine. But leaving your oven on to warm the whole room is not a good idea since bout half of all stoves raise concentrations of carbon monoxide beyond the 9 parts per million the EPA has established as the top safe level.
Don’t leave the garage door closed while your car is running.
If your vehicle is the only place to stay warm, by all means sit inside of it, but not without opening the garage door first. But remember that with no power, you may not be able to open your garage door at all which will cause you to breathe dangerous carbon monoxide emissions if you’re sitting in a running car.
Don’t use gas camp stoves or charcoal indoors.
These give off CO and should only be used outdoors.
Don’t use a generator in your basement, garage, or house. And keep it at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent in your home.
If you have a generator, point it so the exhaust goes away from the house. Here is a complete explanation of how to connect and safely use a backup generator.
Hopefully, we won’t experience too many power outages in Northern Virginia this winter, but it’s best to be on the safe side and now how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Your family’s warmth and comfort is important, but so are their lives. If you have any questions about the safety of alternative heat sources, give Snell Heating and Air Conditioning a call.