A power outage on a frigid Calgary winter night is a frightening prospect, but with a little preparation, you can stay safe and comfortable.
Plan Ahead for Storms
Put together a power outage kit that includes a three-day supply of food and water, emergency contact information, battery-powered flashlights, a battery-powered radio (ideally a weather radio), extra batteries, a multi-tool, and a first-aid kit.
If you have a fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected before the heating season begins so it will be ready for use whenever the power goes out. Because fireplaces pose a small risk of carbon monoxide exposure, remember to test your carbon monoxide detectors monthly.
Consider investing in a natural gas or propane generator. Depending on the size, portable generators can power the lights, refrigerator, and furnace or A/C. A whole-house standby generator can power all your electrical appliances and devices, and will start up automatically when the municipal electrical grid goes down. A licensed electrician can install one of these generators for you.
Protect Your HVAC System
If you notice the lights flickering during a storm, shut down your furnace or A/C, unplug it, and shut off power to the system at the breaker. During a summer storm, an HVAC system can attract lightning, which can destroy the components if not start a fire. Unplugging the system prevents a surge of electricity from flowing into it if the house is struck by lightning. While a furnace should automatically shut off when the power suddenly fails, there’s still a small risk of harmful fuel leakage. Shutting down the furnace prevents this.
An electric sump pump is useless during a power outage. If your HVAC indoor unit is located in the basement, consider keeping a gas-powered sump pump on hand to protect the unit from flooding. Never enter a flooded basement to check on the unit unless power to your house is shut off at the breaker. The power could return while you’re in the water.
Get more expert tips on preparing for a power outage by contacting us at Arpi’s Industries in Calgary.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about power outage preparation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.
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