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What to do When Cold Weather Storms Hit

Three people warming their hands over a heater

Northern California is no stranger to winter storms that blow down from the Arctic. Their winds sometimes cause power outages, which leaves many scrambling for emergency heat sources. Planning ahead gives you a chance to locate products that are reasonably safe to use for heat, as well as those that keep you naturally warmer.

Tips for Keeping Warm this Winter

Products That Provide Heat

  • Consider a generator. If you install one large enough, it will give you enough power to run a gas furnace, although it takes a large unit to run a heat pump during an outage. Besides size, you can choose between portable generators or standby generators. Larger units may be able to power a small heat pump or a few space heaters.
  • Propane heaters. Not every propane heater is sold in California because unvented gas heaters are inherently unsafe. A few, however are available that will supply enough heat to maintain safe indoor temperatures. Follow all instructions and safety warnings and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is functional.
  • Fireplaces. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working before using the fireplace for emergency heat.

Things That Keep You Warm

  • Food. Keep three days of food on hand to maintain your body heat. Donandrsquo;t count calories when youandrsquo;re trying to stay warm. Don't bring the barbecue indoors to cook. It emits a lot of CO. Backpacking stoves are burn clean and are safe for limited indoor use.
  • Layers of clothing. Itandrsquo;s better to wear several layers than one heavy one. The air spaces between the layers trap your body heat.
  • Candles or oil lamps. As long as they have no perfume and are low-smoke, both of these products will emit a good deal of safe heat without harming the indoor air quality.

While there are sources of emergency heat that can get you through a power outage, nothing is convenient or comfortable as your own furnace. To learn more, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar (408) 868-5500 or visit our website to learn more about HVAC topics for homeowners in the Santa Clara county and Silicon Valley areas

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