Being prepared or having a backup plan for the chance of a power outage or being snowed in is always the best way to go. Having a backup heat source should be a part of those plans. During the winter months being without heat can be extremely dangerous, not only for yourself but for your home as well.
Safety should be the first consideration when choosing an alternative heat source. Many homeowners will resort to a portable kerosene or propane heater during a power outage but these are not the safest choice for use in your home. These types of heaters are a potential burn risk for children and pets. They can also let off fumes in your home’s air that are not safe breathe in.
Choosing a heat source that is safe and will also be effective is best for your family. We have a few different options for you to consider.
Safe Heat Source Options for your Backup Plan
#1 Wood Stoves
There is no power needed to heat with a wood stove. A wood stove is going to be the most effective heat source for when the power goes out or it just gets bitter cold out and the old furnace is just not cutting it.
Depending on the size of the wood stove you may be able to supply heat to a large portion of your home, if not all of it. With a wood stove you don’t need to worry about running out of fuel. As long as you have a good amount firewood piled up you should not have to worry for a good amount of time.
Another great aspect of having a wood stove as your heat source is that it can potentially double as a cooking source as well. Many cast iron stoves are able to put off enough heat to cook on. However, some are designed with keeping in mind the ability to cook on the top when the need arises.
Keep all of these benefits of wood stoves in mind when you are choosing a backup heat source for your home.
#2 Pellet Stoves
Pellet Stoves are very efficient and they are the most environmentally friendly heat source. However, with this type of heat source you will need an alternate electrical supply in the case that the power is out. A pellet stove will only need a small amount electricity to be supplied. Gravity fed pellet stoves are going to be the best option because it helps to limit the amount of electricity needed.
To provide enough electricity to supply a pellet stove all you will need is a backup power system or small generator. Check with the manufacturer of your pellet stove or the one you are considering to purchase to ensure that it can be used with a type of backup power source.
#3 Gas Fireplace
Having a gas powered fireplace will take away the need to stack and store large amounts of firewood or bags of wood pellets. A gas fireplace is going to be a safe heat source but it will not be as efficient as wood or pellets. With a gas fireplace you will be able to heat the room that it is located in but not much else. They do not put out as much heat as the other two options.
During a power outage a vented fireplace should be used to keep the possibility of toxic carbon monoxide buildup from occurring. When it is cold outside and the power is out and the only heat source being the gas fireplace you would not want to open windows for ventilation so a vented fireplace would be a must to keep your family as safe as possible.