Will My Gas Fireplace Work in a Power Outage?

in Fireplace Care by Roxie Leigh

Your Gas Fireplace Won’t be Cold and Dark During a Power Outage

Weather is becoming more extreme and more unpredictable with every passing year. And even though they are not uncommon, power outages never fail to catch us by surprise. Like it or not, inclement weather happens. The big question is – will your Montigo gas fireplace continue to work in a power outage?

The short answer is yes. Though you will need to do a bit of planning to ensure your fireplace is ready for an emergency before the storm rolls in.

Relying on the electrical grid for you sole source of heat is a dangerous bet. Even big cities can go dark for extended periods of time, which is distressing when it’s also cold. Even if your house has gas heating, furnaces will not be operational without power. So that brings us back to the original source of heat – the fireplace.

Thankfully, being prepared is easy with a checklist to keep your gas fireplace operational without external power.

Starting a Gas Fireplace Without Electricity

Montigo is proud to still offer standing pilot fireplaces, which are arguably the best performers in the event of a power outage.

Our standing pilot systems use millivolt ignition, which does not require any external power to ignite. For efficiency purposes, the pilot will turn off after a period of 7 days if not used. Resetting the system only requires turning on the fireplace.

Battery Back Up In an Emergency

Some gas fireplaces come with either a standard or optional battery back up. Check your fireplace model to see if there is a battery back up. If so, add it to your annual service checklist.

  • Best practice is to not leave batteries installed in the back up tray indefinitely. Over time this can slowly drain the battery and risk leaving them depleted when they are needed. Additionally, heat from the fireplace can damage the batteries causing them to leak. Keep spare batteries in a cool, dry easy access location and ensure you know how to install them quickly. Test the batteries regularly and replace as needed.
  • When using battery back up, the only feature that will be available is the fireplace ignition. Additional features like accent lighting, fans, and powervents will not operate.
  • Also note that the fireplace may not produce as much heat as you are used to, but any heat is better than none in a winter power outage.

Montigo fireplaces with battery back up:

Montigo fireplaces with OPTIONAL battery back up:

Gas Fireplace Safety During Power Outages

Since the fan or blower are not functional during a power outage, many homeowners wonder if it is safe to run a gas fireplace. The good news is that there is no danger to continuously running a gas fireplace when the power is out.

Direct vent fireplaces offer enough ventilation to remain safe when the fans are not operational. Likewise, inserts that are installed in an existing chimney structure are also appropriately ventilated.

A good quality carbon monoxide detector should always be installed in the same room as the fireplace as a safety precaution.

Be Prepared for a Power Outage

Power outage emergency kit essentials

Having an emergency kit on hand always pays off. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list of every item you might possibly need, or a bag for every person in the household. A simple collection of essentials will help keep you comfortable while you wait for the power to come back on.

This list is for a short-term emergency of a few hours or days, not an evacuation situation.

Essential Emergency Kit

  • Matches or Lighter
  • Candles
  • Flashlight
  • Hand Crank or Battery Radio
  • Extra Batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency Cash
  • Pen & Paper

Always Have On Hand

  • Bottled Water (1 gallon per person/day)
  • Non-perishable Food (easy to prepare, shelf stable)
  • Non-electric Phone (for emergency calls)
  • Non-electronic Entertainment
  • Chemical Glow Sticks

We may get caught off guard by the weather on occasion, but being prepared makes these situations much less stressful. Keep an emergency kit in a place that’s easy to find and access in the dark.

It’s also important to keep spirits up and try to make things fun while waiting. Reading, card games or board games can help pass the time. If you are enjoying the warm glow of your fireplace, turn the  inconvenience into an indoor camping adventure!

Annual Maintenance & Service

To keep your gas fireplace in top working order, schedule an annual service with a professional. It’s a good idea to book in late summer for an early fall appointment. This is the busiest time of year for service professionals so book early and be prepared before the cold weather hits.

Read more about what to expect from an annual fireplace service and maintenance appointment here: Is Your Fireplace Ready for the Cold?

Commercial Quality

Professionals planning a custom residential or commercial fireplace project, please contact the Montigo Sales Rep in your area.