During a recent ice storm I came up with a contingency plan for heating my house which is normally heated with electric baseboard heat. Because we have never lost power even in some pretty wild Canadian winter storms I didn't want to invest in a generator that I would likely never need.
We already have a propane fireplace but in the event of a power outage the blower doesn't work so only a small portion of my open concept home is heated. When the blower is used, however, my electric baseboard heaters generally don't come on so there is enough capacity in my fireplace to heat my home.
In this, my first, Instructable I will show you how to operate your blower in the event of a power outage.
Step 1: Determine Electrical Power Requirements
Because I couldn't find the information I needed in the manual for my fireplace and I couldn't see the nameplate, I searched online and found a site that sold replacement blowers for my fireplace which had the information I needed. In my case I needed about 70 Watts at 110 VAC to operate the blower.
Step 2: Source and Connect an Inverter
Find yourself an inverter and follow the instructions to connect it to a battery. In my case I already had a12V battery from my RV which I don't use in the winter. I purchased an inverter (410 Watts) since I didn't have one and could use it for other things like charging phones, running radios, etc. if the power goes out. As you can see in the picture, it has a digital readout which shows battery voltage as well as the power consumption.
Step 3: Connect Your Fireplace Blower
Power up your inverter and plugin your blower. On my fireplace, the blower plugs into an outlet located inside the bottom vent panel. You should now be able to turn on your fireplace and have the blower run off of your battery (once the fireplace warns up enough to switch it on).
Step 4: Final Considerations
Obviously the bigger your battery the longer it will run. For my setup I estimate about ten hours. Of course if you run other things off of the inverter then you will run it down more quickly.
Something to consider is making sure your inverter won't run your battery down too low. The one I bought will shut itself off so it does not ruin the battery.