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How Do I Keep My Pittsburgh Home Warm Without Power

December 22, 2022

Winter storms are a common occurrence in Pittsburgh. In some cases, these storms can be severe, resulting in power outages, making it crucial to be prepared to stay warm without power. It is recommended that you have an alternate resource and a well-insulated home to prepare, but if you’re caught off guard, there are several things you can do to stay warm.

At Jacob Heating & Cooling, we’ve put together a guide on how you can keep your house warm in the event of a power outage.

How Long Will a House Stay Warm Without Power?

If you lose power and your heat source, on average, your home can be expected to stay warm for about eight to twelve hours. The first thing you’ll want to do if your heat goes out is troubleshoot your heating. If your power is out entirely, if your home is well-insulated, it can remain above freezing for one day or weeks at a time. For brief power outages, you can expect your home to remain fairly warm. For prolonged power outages, your home will eventually begin to cool off.

When it comes to how warm your home will remain during a power outage, there are several factors to consider. How long your home stays warm will depend on the design of your home, the type of heating system, the insulation, the number of people inside, and the outdoor temperature.

Your Home’s Insulation

The insulation in your home is a critical factor in determining how long your home will stay warm during a power outage. A home without insulation can lose about 25% more heat than a home that is insulated.

Insulation will help contain the heat within the home and keep the home naturally warm. When insulating your home, it is crucial to make sure the windows, roof, floor, and doors are insulated. With proper insulation, you can prevent valuable heat from escaping. It is also important to check that there are no cracks under the doors or windows that could be letting cold air into the home.

During your inspection of the windows or doors, be sure to fill in or cover any cracks or damages that you see immediately. The sooner you remedy this issue, the less energy you will be wasting keeping your home warm.

If you notice that your home cools down quickly once the heat is off, this is a sure sign of poor insulation. To help insulate your home more effectively, you can use thicker curtains and area rugs to help insulate the home and keep cold air from mixing with the hot air. We also commend covering the windows with plastic sheeting to help seal in the warmth.

Seasonality and Outdoor Temperature

The season and the outdoor temperature also have a major impact on how warm your home will be if you lose power. Typically, the colder the weather is, the faster your home will experience heat loss.

Another important factor is the humidity level. This will play a major role in how cold your home feels throughout the winter. If you live in a drier climate, your home won’t retain heat, as well as a home in a wetter climate. If needed, you can heat water or use a humidifier to increase the levels of humidity within the home.

Windy weather can also cause your home to lose heat faster. With a cold draft, your home can become cooled down, even with proper insulation. We recommend using window wraps to seal off the windows and door stopper to help keep the cool air out.

Size of the Home

When it comes to larger homes, it may be harder to retain heat within the home as long as a smaller home would. Also, keep in mind that the number of people in the home can also affect how warm the home will be.

Think about having your friends or family in your living and then think about the room when it is empty; you’ll likely recall that when the room is filled with people, it is much warmer than when you’re alone in the room.

A home with more people inside of it will be warmer longer because of the body heat that each person gives off. As a person breathes, they give off water into the air, so with several people in one room, you can expect the humidity levels to rise, warming up the room.

If you’re experiencing a power outage, encourage the people in your home to share one or two rooms for maximum warmth.

Ways to Keep Your Pittsburgh Home Warm

If your home is without heat during the winter time, there are several effective ways you can help preserve existing heat and help keep your home warm until power is restored. Don’t be left in the cold this winter, check out these tips from Jacob Heating & Cooling that will help you keep your home warm, even without power.

Insulate Your Home

Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to keep your house warm without heat. This means making sure that all of the windows, doors, and other entry points are properly sealed off in order to avoid cold air from entering the house. If there are any gaps or cracks in the walls or around window frames, these should be filled with caulk or insulation materials to help prevent any significant airflow from outside. It’s also beneficial to add additional layers of insulation materials, such as blankets and foam boards to existing wall cavities. Not only will this help keep exterior air out, but it will also help retain heat inside the home.

Another great way to insulate your home is by adding thermal curtains on all of your windows, as they can provide an extra layer of insulation against cold winter winds. Different types of fabrics can also make a difference; heavier fabrics like velvet, velour, or thick cotton will block out more cold than lighter fabrics like linen or sheers. You may also want to consider using adhesive plastic sheets over windows as an added measure; however, this should not be done if there is a risk of trapping moisture inside, which it could cause condensation and mold growth.

Finally, you can use weatherstripping around doors and windowsills to help reduce drafts and conserve warmth indoors. This is especially important for older homes as these tend to have larger gaps around door frames that allow for a significant amount of airflow between outside and inside temperatures. Weatherstripping can be used both outside and on interior doors or windowsills, so make sure you check all points where cold air might enter when installing this material.

Boil Water or Cook

You can also provide additional warmth to your home by boiling large pots of water on a stove. This method helps create humidity indoors which prevents cold air from lowering indoor temperatures quickly. Cooking meals on a stovetop can also add warmth to a room while providing nourishment at the same time!

Stick to One Room

Sticking to one room when possible will further help conserve heat since it reduces the amount of space that needs to be heated up initially with any available sources of warmth. Additionally, there is a lot of heat produced when you talk and breathe, so by sharing a room with other family members, you can help generate more heat.

Whenever possible, ensure that this chosen room has plenty of insulation and coverings for windows in order to trap existing heat inside even longer.

Investing in a generator is one of the best ways to keep your home warm without heat. Generators are designed to power essential resources such as lights, heating, and appliances during a blackout or other power disruptions. They can also be used to help maintain comfortable temperatures in the home, allowing you to stay warm even when your home’s furnace isn’t working.

Invest in a Generator

Generators come in several different varieties depending on the size of your home and your energy needs. For instance, if you need a backup source of electricity for small items such as lights and cell phones, then an inverter generator would be a great choice. These much smaller generators are light enough to carry around easily and provide steady power to devices that don’t require too much energy. On the other hand, for larger homes with bigger energy needs, like heating systems and refrigerators, a standby generator is more suitable since it provides more wattage than an inverter generator.

When considering which type of generator will work best for your residence, it’s important to factor in safety precautions as well as convenience features such as fuel type and noise level. Standby generators usually run on propane or natural gas, while inverter models typically use gasoline, diesel fuel, or propane canisters. In terms of noise level, standby generators tend to be significantly louder than most inverter options due to their larger motor size.

In addition to providing warmth during power outages, investing in a reliable generator can also help reduce stress levels during these trying times since they can continuously provide power until normal electricity service is restored. With this extra layer of protection against the cold winter months, having a generator will give you greater peace of mind knowing that you at least have some way of keeping yourself and your family warm until power returns.

Steps to Take if You Lose Heat in the Winter

When winter hits in Pittsburgh, the last thing you want to do is get stuck in a home with no heat! Unfortunately, furnaces can break down and leave you without warmth in the winter. At Jacob Heating & Cooling, your top Pittsburgh HVAC company, we’ve put together some tips on how to deal with losing your heat during the winter until furnace repairs are completed.

Keep Your Home Airtight

After you lose your heat, you should close all windows and doors in the home as soon as possible. You should also check windows for any air leaks prior to closing the curtains. Keep out drafts by rolling up towels and placing them at the bottom of the doors. It is also recommended that you shut the doors to rooms that are not in use to conserve heat.

Light Up Your Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, this is a great time to put it to use. Fireplaces serve as an efficient heat source whether it is gas or wood powered. This will allow you to create one central area of warmth to keep your family comfortable.

No Fireplace? Use a Portable Heater

If you have a portable, non-electric heater, you can utilize it to keep your house warm. Be sure to check that the propane heater is safe for indoor use. Many propane heaters are only to be used outdoors, so it is best to check your specific model before use.

Make the Most of it With Some Baking

If you have no heat, consider making the best of a bad situation by baking the family some sweet treats. Whether you make cookies, cupcakes, or other sweet treats, the heat from the oven can help provide your home with some warmth.

Cooking a meal can also help raise the temperature, but it is advised that you avoid cooking meals that give off steam. Steam can increase the humidity, which can make your home damp and cause the home to feel colder.

Light Some Candles

In addition to adding some relaxing lighting to your home and a nice scent, candles can also give off some heat to help keep your home warm.

Use Rugs or Carpets to Prevent Heat Loss

Grab a few extra rugs at the store or proactively have carpet installed in the home to help with heat loss that can occur through your flooring. Additionally, carpets or rugs provide a warmer surface to walk on.

Make Sure Your Home is Insulated

Chances are, your Pittsburgh home is insulated, but be sure that insulation extends to areas like the attic and crawl space where heat can escape easily.

The Importance of Regular Furnace Maintenance

Before your furnace breaks down, make sure you are having your heating system serviced by the professionals at Jacob Heating & Cooling. Our annual service and maintenance will help ensure that all components of your furnace are working properly and efficiently.

During our annual services, we will perform a full inspection of your heating system and perform any necessary services, such as calibrating the gas valve.

Experiencing a Heating Emergency? Call Us Today!

At Jacob Heating & Cooling, our team is prepared to assist you with any heating emergency this winter to keep you and your family prepared. Contact us today to learn more!

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