We loose power every so often in the winter. Sometimes for 6-12 hours.
While my furnace is gas, the electric being out means it doesn't work.
What options are there for getting heat in the house with the electric
I already have a gas fireplace which works when the power is out, but
it doesn't heat the entire house so we have to sleep in that room. It
also smells bad.
I've found this option;
Any other options?
Deep-cycle batteries and a power inverter to run the gas furnace and a
few lights. Or a small generator for the same purpose.
You probaby have a gas stove in the kitchen, and they usually are not
vented. Does the oven work without electricity (some do, some don't.)
You can use the oven set to a moderate temperature (oven door closed!)
to heat the kitchen and surrounding rooms.
I use a natural gas, gravity flow, wall furnace in a vacation home. It
runs on natural gas alone. Absolutely NO electric to the furnace
The thermostat is controlled by a "millivolts" charge that are
generated by the pilot light.
The one I use is installed in a wall, (between two studs), and provides
heat into two rooms as heat is given off from the front and the rear
panel. It is approximately 55,000 btus.
It is a "Cozy Wall Furnace" and manufactured by "Louisville Stove Co.".
They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install and best of all NO
reliance on electricity.
My niece has a vented gas stove/fireplace. It is an enclosed cast iron
unit with a glass window in the front door. It easily heats her whole
log home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. It is her full-time heat. It
runs without electric. When electric is on - it has a distribution fan
that is not necessary. She has a big propane tank maybe 300 pounds -
under her porch.
If your house is properly insulated, 6-12 hours without heat should not
be all that noticable unless it's really really cold. I live in
Baltimore and sometimes only use my furnace for maybe 45 minutes in the
morning, even on the coldest days. And I have uninsulated walls.
12 hours without heat is not a big deal. Even at 0 it should stay well
A kerosene heater will keep my 2800sf house about 20 degrees above outside
indefinitely. A problem with long outages at zero, but fortunately that has
I also have a generator to run the refrigerator and furnace. But I don't
bother to set anything up for a few hours. Most outages go away by then.
That seems like a pretty silly option. It just heats one room like your
fireplace. A kerosene heater would probably work as well at one tenth the
Many floor and wall furnaces have flues, so you are not breathing flue
gas. That means they are safe to run all night and you don't need to
leave a window open for safety. How do you like living in a chimney.
It is worth paying extra for safety and peace of mind.
On 23 Sep 2005 09:03:40 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Get a inverter (example see http://www.batterystuff.com /) that will
invert your 12Vdc car battery supply into 120Vac. Clip the 120Vac
output to where your AC supply is connected to the furnace gas valve
transformer. That will work your gas valve and gas ignition.
There won't be enough power for your fan so remove the panel covers on
the furnace to allow air from the furnace room to heat up and
circulate by convection. The gas will ignite and shut off fairly
quickly as the temperature sensor on the heat exchanger passes the
"overheat" condition and shuts off the gas. When the heat exchanger
cools somewhat the gas will ignite again. That is you will get short
ON/OFF cycle times. Withoiut the fan the house will unlikely be as
comfortably warm. But at least your house won't freeze up and burst
the water pipes or kill the houseplants. If you are adventurous
perhaps you can rig up an exercise bicycle to turn the furnace fan.
And how will that be possible? The gas burns and vents through the
usual stack. The air inside the furnace heat exchanger heats up and
circulates by convection through the ducts as normal. The burner will
never stay on long enough or overheat as the overheat limit sensor
will shut off the burner's gas. And it will cycle through this way
and never get hot enough to burn down anything. Take a look at your
gas furnace. The burner flame comes on for some time before the fan
kicks in. That's when the lower limit switch kicks in to turn the
furnace fan on to cool the heat exchanger. If no fan the heat
exchanger temperature rises to the higher limit switch that will shut
the burner off to prevent overheating the heat exchanger. In the
above case the fan never comes on so upper limit is reached quickly
and the burner shuts off. But you do get some heat from the time the
burner was on. The colder the house is the longer the burner will
stay lit until it reaches cut off temperature.
A more useful way will be to use a high capacity inverter, say over
1000 watts capacity. Connect the inverter direct to the car's
battery. This way if you want the furnace to run with the fan motor
run the car's engine so that there will be enough of a power feed to
run the furnace. Of course you will have to have a set up to allow
you to isolate the 120Vac supply so that the electrical feed from your
car will not feed back into your house's electrical system..
Trust me I do HVAC for a living!
A modern furnace is not designed to operate without a fan moving air trough
it! Plus you want to jumper 120 volt to the gas controls, where specifically
do you do this on the hundreds of different furnaces out there??
Look in a modern furnace. Everything runs to a circuit board. 120 volt goes
in, power for the fan, burners, venter motor go out from the board, some 120
volt, some 24 volt.. Safeties such as a high limit are often connected to
directly to the circuit board.
Dumbest idea I have heard!!
Anyone trying this will surely ruin pats of their furnace, if not just burn
the house down!!
A small portable generator for a few hundred dollars and then some method of
disconnecting the power from the furnace, and reconnecting the furnace to a
generator may much more sense! Even this is against code in most areas, but
If it was me, I would have may furnace on a dedicated circuit, (required by
code). With the furnace wired through a common outlet, that was secured in a
small electrical box. When the power fails, power up the genny, pull the
plug on the furnace, and plug it into the generator. Simple, safe, but yes,
it is still against code!
The limit switch is just that, a limit switch. It is a safety device,
NOT an operating control. Pulling the plug on the fan, then running
the gas heat using the limit as an operating control is just not safe.
Safety controls are not designed to operate that often. Hopefully when
it fails, it will be in the OPEN condition.
You either have a very mild climate, or extreme insulation, or like living a
40 degrees. Here in New England a house that size would easily burn 3 or
more full cords to heat.
bottom posted because I care about proper flow of correspondence.
Wow. Thanks for all the responses. I live in Missouri. We've had a
few winters where we've lost electricity for 6-8 hours in a night, when
it was very cold out. Around 0-10F.
Long ago we had an outage in the winter that lasted half a week.
The house is 1500Sq. ft on one floor and around 1000 on another.
We have young kids and pets now. And some medicine that needs to be
60-80F that is life supporting.
In the summer, the basement keeps cool enough. But we usually have
power problems in the winter from the ice & snow storms.
I did some searches on some of these ideas. A whole house pellet stove
might be a good answer for heat. I live in a neighborhood where
storing wood wouldn't be a real option, but storing pellets in the
basement near would be okay. http://www.breckwell.com/pellet.htm
Of course the price would be about the same as a generator, from which
I could power the entire house. But the heating cost would be a lot
more this way, I suppose. NG is getting very expensive here.
My stove is electric, so that will not work. The Gas Fireplace does
just the one room, and doesn't keep it above 60f when it's around
0-10f, and smells. I don't think a UPS will work very well. It'd
require a true-sine with some capacity. I'm wanting something that
will last for at least a week. A power outage of 8 hours will be
covered fine by the gas fireplace. So your talking about the same
price for a UPS that will last several hours of actual runtime as a
8kVA generator that could last for as long as I can supply gas.
I can't put a large gas tank outside due to the neighborhood I'm in.
So I can hook a generator up to my NG line or use a gasoline powered
version. If there is a natual disaster and the NG breaks, I'm without
power. But the gas would require more work to keep it running if the
NG line didn't break and it is likely louder.
Thank's for the feedback.
Should not smell. Perhaps it needs a tuneup of sorts. It would be worth
gettingit checked out. OTOH, some stoves and firelaces will give an odor
the first time or two they are used for hte season if that is what you
But how about a smaller tank and just use the propane for cooking? Mine are
right next to the house against the foundation, not visible at all unless
you are nearly on top of them.
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