We’re having a severe deep-freeze in the deep South at the moment. Last night it went down to 16° F. That’s cold no matter where you are, but it’s especially harsh here in Alabama where those types of low temps are unusual. All of this got me thinking, though. What would we do if we happened to lose power during this cold weather? I thought about this the other day when I heard that energy usage had gone way up since the cold hit. We don’t have a generator for our house, but we do have a gas log fireplace. Could we use that? The answer is yes.
If you have a gas fireplace that has a wall switch or remote to turn on the flame, you don’t need A/C power in order to use it. The switch itself isn’t connected to the house power. It’s connected to a thing next to the pilot light called a “thermopile.” A thermopile is a device that converts heat into electricity. In the case of gas logs, all it needs is enough electricity to open the main gas valve, which would be just a few hundred milliwatts. So, in case you are in our same predicament you can rest assured that you can at least cordon off your living room and stay warm if you lose power.
Here’s some more info on gas log ignitor design: