Domestic appliances heated by natural gas such as the water heater, stove burners, gas oven, or heater furnace have built-in safety features that ensure no gas flow is possible when the electrical power supply is cut.
These devices are manufactured to comply with the mandatory safety code but the following steps are recommended in case of a power outage.
- Shut off the main gas supply to the house.
- Unplug electrical appliances from the wall outlets.
- Modern gas heating devices have built-in gas flow preventers in case of power outages.
- Power surges may cause damage to appliances when the power is turned on again.
Most earthquake fatalities are not a result of the physical damage to houses but rather by the fires caused by leaking gas lines and damaged gas-fired appliances.
Let’s look at the gas shutoff procedure in case of power outages and other natural disasters that can affect your power supply.
Will Gas Fired Appliances Leak Gas In Case Of Power Outages?
Modern gas appliances have built-in safety devices that will prevent the flow of gas during an electricity outage. Older gas heaters and stovetop burners do not rely on electricity to ignite the gas when turned on.
The gas in these older gas appliances could leak into the house if the gas is not shut off.
The gas will form an explosive mixture with the air and can be ignited by the tiniest sparks. Shutting off your gas main during an electrical power outage or other natural disasters like earthquakes ensures that the possibility of a gas explosion or fire is wholly eliminated.
Formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides combustion testing for natural gas, propane, butane, blended gases for a variety of domestic and commercial appliances such as:
- Water heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Cooking appliances
- Outdoor cooking appliances
UL subject these appliances to typical situations such as power outages and gas leaks to ensure that the safety countermeasures are effective. Devices that pass stringent testing criteria are marked with the UL label, signifying that they comply with the safety codes.
Even though your house is fitted with UL certifies gas appliances, it is a good safety practice to shut down the gas at the mains in a power outage.
All electrical devices should be unplugged and disconnected as far as possible to protect them from power surges when the electricity supply returns.
The electricity supply is often not stable after a blackout, and power spikes or voltage drops can cause severe damage to electrical appliances. It is essential to have a surge protector installed on your main electrical supply.
Surge protectors will switch off the power in case of supply line instabilities.
How Can I Prepare For Long Term Power Outages?
Be prepared to provide basic needs such as clean drinking water, backup power, a composting toilet, and the ability to cook food. Keep basic first aid items and a battery-powered FM/AM Radio to get situation updates from authorities.
Keep a supply of spare batteries for torches and lamps.
The sun has an eleven-year cycle during which the activity on the sun reaches a maximum resulting in Coronal Mass Ejections (massive solar storms) that eject high energy radiation towards the earth.
- In December 2019, the sun started the next cycle of increased activity, which will last until 2030.
The magnetic force field around our planet deflects the majority of the high-energy radiation from the sun. The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) will be visible further south than usual as evidence of this heightened solar activity.
These solar storms do have the potential to knock out satellite communication systems and cause power outages.
We need to be prepared for more power disruptions during the next nine years and make ourselves grid-independent.
The conversion to solar-powered households is a step in the right direction. Grid-tied solar installations and domestic power storage capacity is becoming much more affordable and strategically important.
Power outages affect the supply of electricity to your house and the functioning of water treatment facilities, gas stations, food supply networks, and emergency medical and fire services.
The big freeze in Texas in 2021 taught us anything it is that to be unprepared for a natural disaster can be fatal.
Some preparation for these emergency events is necessary as federal and state resources cannot be counted on to save everybody. It would help if you planned for a disaster scenario that could last for four weeks.
The power grid is the first knocked out during many natural disasters, and natural gas supply, clean drinking water, and sanitation.
Install Solar Power For Long Term Power Outages
Having solar power installed on your house will enable you to keep critical appliances running.
Gasoline, diesel, or gas-powered generator is another good investment to allow you to charge your devices and maintain the power supply to your house.
A portable power station is another good solution to provide a 110 V AC and DC supply to recharge mobile devices.
Invest In A Gas Cooktop For Long Term Power Outages
A gas cooktop will enable you to boil water and cook food. Invest in a simple two-burner gas cooktop and a portable gas storage bottle.
Always keep a spare gas bottle full for emergencies. You will also need to be able to filter the water for drinking purposes.
The water supply can likely be contaminated due to the power outage.
Invest In A Composting Toilet For Long Term Power Outages
Sanitation during long-term power outages is critical to maintaining your health. Invest in a simple composting toilet and some compressed peat moss to act as absorbent material.
Flushing toilets should not be used as the sewerage treatment plant and pump stations maybe not be working. Avoid having an unpleasant and potentially harmful source of contamination in the house.
Checklist For Long Term Power Outages
- Prepare an emergency checklist to help you remember all the essential items to be shut off and checked in case of a significant power outage.
- Shut off the gas mains to the house to prevent accidental leaks in the pipes or appliances to create a risk of fire or explosion.
- Fill up your emergency water containers. You will need at least five gallons of water per person per day.
- Cook as much of the food you have in the freezer if you cannot keep it running to prevent the food from spoiling.
- Unplug the electrical devices and appliances to prevent them from damage in case the power turns back on.
- Do not use candles to provide light.
- Ensure that you have electric torches and lamps and an ample supply of batteries.
- Do not make a fire inside the house during a power outage
- Cook outside on a gas grill.
- Do not run the power generator inside the house as the combustion gasses are toxic.
- Ensure that you have the entry points to your property secure and that you remain alert to theft and looting during such emergencies.