YODEL
Lv 6
YODEL asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 1 decade ago

Will my propane furnace still work during a power outage?

Just wondering...everything I read online says propane furnaces still work during a power outage.

BUT, aren't the fan & thermostat electrically operated? The power went out for a few seconds about an hour ago while the heat was on, and I definitely heard the fan shut off.

I am not so sure about the thermostat- IS it electric? It's pretty old....as is my furnace...the house was built in the 60's and I wouldn't be too suprised if the furnace is original to the house. If it's not the original furnace, it's at least 20 years old I'd guess. It has a manual pilot light, not one of those electric things, and there are no switches on the thermostat, just a big dial that you turn to the temp you want.

If the fan & thermostat are electric, then how does it manage to heat my house if the power goes out? I would imagine the propane would stay burning in the furnace in the basement, but how does the heat get pushed to the vents and into the house? And without a thermostat, how does the furnace "know" when to turn off & on?

Forgive me if this is a stupid question- I am a Florida native who grew up with electric central air/heat pumps, and I now live in rural South Dakota and we are gearing up for what may be the worst blizzard since 1968. I have only lived in SD for 3 years, and this is my first year being extremely rural. The power lines around here are already coated in an icy frost so I am anticipating the power going out when the wind kicks up. If the power goes out we can count on it being out for a few days, at least.

I just want to determine whether or not I can count on having heat, or if I need to break out the extra blankets & cuddle up with the dogs. Thanks for any help :)

Update:

Thanks for all the answers, makes sense to me! All the websites I looked at that touted the benefits of propane vs. electric heat say "you won't be at the mercy of power outages" with propane. Guess that's BS?

And Greek....oopsie? :D I got home late & my phone was dead, I put it on to charge and forgot all about it. Forgive me? You know I love you :)

11 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Excuse me, if you hae a self contained unit, yes it will work if the electricity goes out.

    I have a cabin on the lake, and it is self contained propane, you have to have a unit that is not on the electrical grid.

    Also you can get a self contained butane unit, just like the large camper motor homes have , they are self contained as well, and you can run heat, frig, cook stove and all on a self contained butane unit......My motor home has it..

    But, if your propane is on the grid, and regulated by a thermostat, no it is not gonna work.

    You can get a circulating fireplace and run it off butane as well, and when the electricity goes off, you will still have heat.....but if again on the electrical grid, it is not gonna work

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    1

    Source(s): Woodworking projects http://givitry.info/WoodworkingProjects
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  • Ken B
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Your propane furnace will NOT work in an electrical outage unless you have some form of back up power. A generator can be wired to run your furnace and other critical appliances.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Furnace won't work. If you live in SD you probably have a fireplace. For this storm burn some wood. Next year convert the fireplace to propane logs and you'll never have to worry. Choose a log set that utilizes a pilot flame to ignite rather than an electrical spark. The unit I have runs on batteries to turn on or off (open/close gas valve) via a wireless remote.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I live out in the middle of the forest. I have a Honda 7K generator, a small unit but big enough to run a house,with power enough to keep refrigerators,washer/dryers, most appliances running The propane unit you describe does need the power to run it, however, there are propane heaters that exist that do not need electrical activation. My advise is to look into generator for back-up or look for propane unit heater that does not require electricity.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The ONLY kind of propane appliance that will operate with out electricity requires a "millivolt" gas valve, which opens by a di-electric element (the flowing gas itself creates enough charge to open the gas valve). - and of course it has to be standing pilot AND a gravity flue.

    These are getting harder and harder to find, because they don't meet most energy codes. I have three gas fireplace inserts that are all millivolt valves and will keep my house from freezing if the power is out. Very handy. Most of what you find today has a spark ignition system and 24v. gas valve and/ore have a power flue vent... any of which requires 110v to operate. In that case I'd be installing a whole-house gas-fired auto-start generator.

    Source(s): skool of hard knox
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  • 1 decade ago

    The thermostat is not the critical issue here. If you have a central system with duct work, it won't work because it needs the fan to blow the heated air to the room outlets. It doesn't matter what fuel is burned to creat the heat itself. But if you have a hot-water radiator heating system, you should still have heat if the elctricity goes out.

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  • T C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You are correct ...you need electricity to make the unit work. Gas supply to the furnace depends on electrical components as does the fan

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    These people are correct, it will not work...start chopping wood and get a fire going now, in the living room, we can grill some animals and maybe even a "person" or two who was supposed to call me last night in order to get something emailed to them....

    Listen to the wind howling....listen..."come home...come home...come back to civilization, where the warmth is"...it is 72 today!!!!! Hope I helped.

    Source(s): Realist
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  • 1 decade ago

    break them out, get ready,

    the furnace may come on but the fan will not run

    Source(s): old timer
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