While buying a gas fireplace for a home it is important to find out if this heating appliance will work in case of a power outage. It is critical for houses in more rural areas where power outages seem to happen more often but even big city dwellers can be affected by multiday power cuts after catastrophic earthquakes, storms, tornados or a tsunami. Let’s see what options are out there.
In some parts of the world the winters are quite severe and you will not want to be caught for multiple days in the apartment or house without a heating source. Modern efficient gas fireplaces use the heat created by burning flames to effectively heat a room and other parts of the house. Such fireplaces can be a good source of emergency heating when the main central heating system is down. The fireplace also adds pleasant bright light to the room which makes the stressful time of waiting for the power company and local authorities to fix the problem easier.
Some fireplaces (like the Escea ST900 indoor gas fireplace) do not need any external power supply as they have a battery back‐up option and will work in case of power outage. The ST900 model is a decorative fireplace but has a heat output of up to 4 kW (17,000 BTU) which can keep your room in a comfortably warm temperature in case of emergency or long term power failure. The ignition spark to light the gas flame is generated from three C size batteries. You will only need 3 batteries to keep a fire going.
The battery back-up is easily accessible directly behind the fascia. The batteries generally last for about a year but you might need to replace them earlier depending on usage. In order to run the Escea ST900 fireplace at the time of natural disaster you will need to have spare batteries in your survival kit. If you are running on propane (LPG) an extra cylinder will be ideal to ensure that you and your family will be set for days in terms of heating needs. You can view the Escea ST900 introduction video to see how to operate the fireplace (0:00 -3:30 min), turn the fireplace on without the remote (3:31-4:49 min) or access the battery back-up option (after 4:50 min).
The higher heat output indoor gas fireplaces (like the Escea AF, DX & DL Series) have fans which use electricity continuously to push warm air into the room directly or via heat ducts. For this reason there is no battery back‐up option as no conventional battery will keep a fireplace going for long. There is a solution to this as well and you could consider getting a generator for the whole household. With the prices of these appliances going down, you may be able to afford a back‐up solution which will keep not only the fireplace going but also a fridge and a deep freezer.
It is always good to be prepared for unexpected events. The law obliges you to carry a spare wheel in the car but does not require you to be prepared for emergency conditions. This is something you need to plan individually. By keeping extra batteries, blankets, water or food you can ensure that you and your family will be safe during a disaster. It is also critical to ensure that the heating appliances (like a gas fireplace) will provide you with sufficient heat with the power down.
The Escea ST900 fireplace with battery back-up is available in Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.