Running Your Furnace or Water Heater without Electricity
Toronto and the Greater Toronto area were hit hard with an ice storm late in 2013. The weight of all the ice snapped branches and brought down trees which in turn took down the hydro to hundreds of thousands of homes. Some home owners were without hydro for several days and experienced plummeting temperatures.
Without electricity your furnace, water heater, and air conditioner won’t run. But we have some easy tips to help you get your systems back up and running through these situations.
Run Your Water Heater With No Electricity
This completely depends on your homes water heater and each type has a unique situation.
Electric water heater – sorry, you are euchred, it just won’t run until the hydro comes back on. Even a home generator likely won’t produce enough power to run your electric water heater; they just consume too much electricity.
Power vented water heater – These systems need electricity to run the fan that pushes exhaust gases out of your home but the system uses natural gas or propane for the primary fuel.
Tankless water heater – Very much like a power vented system a tankless needs electricity to run the fan that moves the exhaust gases produced during the combustion of propane or natural gas.
Atmospheric Vented water heater – The venting is very restrictive but homeowners that employ one of these tanks will continue to produce hot water as long as propane or natural gas are provided, no electricity needed.
How to get your Water Heater Running During a Power Outage
This is easy; visit Costco, Future Shop, Best Buy, or any home electronics store and purchase a battery backup sold for computer systems. At our house we purchased the larger system offered at Costco for $139. It simply plugs into the wall and charges itself with its built in smart meter and automatically kick on as soon as the power drops.
Depending on the size of the battery backup you purchase your water heater could run for several days during a power failure. Of course this depends on you either having municipal water or some type of backup power for your pump if you are on a well.
When using a tankless it really should be standard practice to have your system hooked up to a battery backup, not only is it a great surge protector protecting your investment but also a sure fire way to eliminate any unexpected shutdowns during electrical storms, wind storms, ice storms, and all the other threats to our electrical grid.