So the time is coming when it is getting COLD. I think Hell is probably cold because wow it is painful. One of my friends was involved in attempting to help resuscitate a person who tried a heating method that was not safe and the person died. Anyway I want to discuss heating in your home during an emergency.
At some time you may face a heating emergency — when your home heating system is inoperative for hours or days. At that critical time you must decide how to meet the emergency, either with an alternative source of heat or by seeking shelter elsewhere. Safety is of prime importance in choosing an alternate form of heat. Consider all potential hazards and eliminate as many as possible, keeping in mind that your degree of protection is lower during a community emergency. Normal community services such as police and fire protection, doctors, hospitals and highway maintenance may be in great demand and unable to respond to your emergency immediately. Under emergency conditions, you may have to do certain things you wouldn’t normally consider. Use extreme caution.
The first step in making a plan is to determine the conditions your family might face if the heating system fails. Take your climate into consideration — how cold can it get? Because all members of the family would be affected, each should help with the planning. Discuss what you might do if the heating system went off for several days. If your home is heated electrically, failure would obviously be caused by lack of power. But don’t forget that most other systems depend on electricity, too. Oil burners usually have electrical fuel injectors and ignition. Hot-air systems rely on a fan for air circulation; hot-water systems with zone valves and circulator pumps; coal furnaces with motorized stokers also need electricity. Most thermostats require electricity. Imagine that your area is experiencing an intense storm. It is cold and telephone service is disrupted. Then, with a pencil and pad handy, discuss how you would cope with the crisis. The family would have to determine what could be done to provide home heat, or at least how to keep warm. Discuss sources of alternate fuels available, how to get them and how to use them, what protective measures would be necessary such as keeping pipes from freezing and supplying water if the pump is not operating. As part of the discussion you probably will want to draw up a list of additional obstacles that might be encountered, the responsibilities of each family member and supplies available.
First, consider the resources you now have in your home for meeting emergencies. Because no two homes are the same, homeowners should assess their own situation and prepare accordingly. Could your heating system, with simple modification or through manual operation, continue to heat all or part of your home?What other heating devices are used or stored in your home, garage or barn? List them. It may include a fireplace; a charcoal grill; a wood, coal, gas or oil stove or space heater; a camping stove or heater; electric or gas oven and surface heating units; a portable gas oven; a gas-fired hot water heater; or portable electric heater.
List fuels available in your home or within reasonable distance. Which of them could be used in the above list of devices? Possible alternative fuels include: oil or kerosene; furnace, stove or cannel coal; firewood, lumber scraps, corncobs, straw; gas, campstove fuel, charcoal, starter fluid, alcohol, gasoline or motor oil; or newspapers and magazines. If your heating device and fuel can be matched, would they provide enough heat to warm at least one room in your home? Is there enough fuel for several days? Do you have a secondary source of emergency heat? If your regular heating system cannot be modified for an emergency, consider buying, building or adapting a device or system that will. The choice might be a space heater, cast iron or sheet-metal stove or a catalytic heater. A small generator may be able to keep your furnace in operation. Your supplier or your local MU Extension center can help you decide what capacity generator you need. Try to avoid depending on the same fuel for emergency heat as you have in your normal heating system.
Now that you have decided how to heat your home during an emergency, it is time to get busy making preparations. Good planning now will give your family confidence when an emergency arises. You will probably have to make some changes in your home or in your heating system to accommodate another heating device. If you can’t make them, call in someone who can.
This will be a small series of information on heat.