Problem: Home’s fuel supply is cut oft or diminished.
Background: Power outages, as well as fuel outages, can immobilize the heating and cooking systems in the home. If electricity is off. If you suspect the gas supply has been cut off, first check the pilot lights and other gas appliances to see if they are working. If they are not, contact the utility company. If you suspect a gas leak problem, follow emergency procedures and don’t use matches, electrical appliances, light switches, a flashlight, or smoke cigarettes. If oil heating system doesn’t work, check to see if there is fuel in the tank and whether the furnace blower is get ting power. In all cases, contact your utility or service technician if you suspect other problems with furnaces.
What to do: Until heating systems are restored to operation, you can supplement home heating with a fireplace or with propane or kerosene heaters. However, use extreme caution with auxiliary heaters. They need good ventilation. Such heaters will not provide safe heat for an en tire house, but they can help keep the indoor temperature above the freezing point. If you use camp- stoves or canned-heat products for cooking during an emergency, you must also ventilate your home care fully. Never use a hibachi or char coal-burning grills indoors. They produce carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes.
Special advice: If a power outage during freezing weather cuts off heat, water pipes can freeze and later burst. If heat is off for a few hours, accessible pipes can be wrapped with newspaper or other material. In extremely cold weather, leave faucets slightly open and shut off water valve on toilet and flush until bowl and tank are empty. If heat is off longer than a couple of days, turn off main valve or water pump, water heater and/or water heating furnace. Save some water for emergency use, then open all faucets and drain the water heater and all pipes by opening the drain valves. If pipes freeze, shut off main water supply, open faucets fully and remove any pipe wrappings.
Helpful hint: Follow the manufacturer’s owner manuals, or call your gas company, for instructions on how to shut off gas appliances in an emergency, and how to relight pilot lights. If a pilot light won’t light or if you smell gas, call your gas company or a service technician. If only the furnace is not working, never use a gas kitchen range as a space heater. This can damage the range and produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.