Is Cut Off
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, see
Supply Is Cut 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 (see
Smell in Home.
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 (see
Pipes Are Frozen).
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.