FEMA opens State Disaster Recovery Center in Lenoir County, NC
In order to assist the victims of hurricane Matthew and the subsequent flooding in North Carolina, we are providing emergency informational links by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the SBA (Small Business Administration).
The management of Just Us Enterprises – Emergency Disaster Preparednessobserved the extensive damage to homes, businesses, farms and workplaces. Tons of sloppy wet carpets, insulation, wallboard, lumber, furniture and personal belongings, recently removed from buildings in Kinston, NC revealed the extent of the destruction. Farms inundated with flood water are destroyed. Businesses and workplaces are uninhabitable. Just because you do not hear about it in the news does not mean that the problem is resolved. Heaps and piles of debris strewn across roads, lawns, parking lots and sidewalks remain scattered where the flood or the clean-up crew left them. The floods destroyed entire blocks of businesses of which many are still closed and cannot reopen. Some are able to rebuild but many more were not covered by insurance.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people lost everything. Some structures had flood water above the door-frames and up to the roofs of homes. These people, through no fault of their own, are suffering due to the flood that not only took their homes and work places, but their jobs and income as well. Many, about two hundred or more in North Carolina alone, still cannot return to their flood ravaged homes. Some streets, for example Queen Street and other roads are still not accessible because the roads are washed out or still under water.For some, there is some assistance through the state and federal government.
Help is available
A FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center opened in Lenoir County, NC on October 24, 2016. North Carolina residents, who suffered losses and damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew, can get information about state and federal assistance at:
Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Lenoir County opening Monday, Oct. 24.
Location: NOVA Building
105 W. Caswell St.
Kinston, NC 28501
Regular hours: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Additionally, The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA information can also be accessed by following the link below.
For more information and assistance, follow this link direct to the FEMA website:
Emergency and Disaster Supplier is asked what’s the difference between preparedness companies.
The end of the world?
A well-educated man asked a question today about emergency preparedness to which the answer seemed to surprise the inquirer. The gentleman asked if Just Us Enterprises – Emergency Disaster Preparedness was a “survivalist” company. He suggested that many survivalist internet companies are preparing for an end of the world scenario and he does not believe that will occur. He was not sarcastic or demeaning in any way, just interested in the type of company we are. He wanted to compare our company to the many survivalist and apocalyptic preparedness companies on the internet. He stated that they seem to base their businesses on fear, such as a nuclear attack or the Apocalypse itself. He asked, politely but inquisitively, what makes our company so much better since they all seem to be the pretty much the same.
His question made me realize many people think all emergency and disaster preparedness companies are the same. There is an obvious, although apparently not well known difference between Just Us Enterprises and other “survivalist” companies. I must admit when viewed from the gentleman’s perspective, most prepper websites appear to give the impression that TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) is going to happen soon and you must be prepared for it. Therefore, they instill fear, show cataclysmic events, and speak of doomsday. They sell merchandise not always designed or manufactured with quality and durability in mind, despite the chaos that they predict. They might sell weapons so you can defend your stash of survival supplies. Chaos and anarchy seem to be predominant themes.
I am not suggesting that all prepper websites and survivalist sites are this way, but many are or appear to be fear-mongering entities. They emphasize buying this product or that item for use after the (name the country of your choice) drops the bomb on us. You need to buy this product so when the financial collapse happens you can survive Armageddon. You must have these supplies for whatever hysterical or mysterious purpose suits the seller’s sales pitch.
The gentleman’s question, though poignant, was an example of how misunderstood emergency preparedness actually is. Therefore, I explained the difference between us and the other types of survival preparedness establishments that are out there. We consider ourselves practical and conservative, and we tend to advise people to prepare for a major event according to their own budget and peace of mind. We know from experience that real emergency relief can take from a few days up to several weeks before the aftermath of a catastrophe is under control.
There are alternative websites, albeit not apparently very many, real legitimate businesses that do not prey on fear, destruction, and mayhem. Just Us Enterprises is an emergency disaster preparedness and outdoor supplier with a reputable character with the Better Business Bureau (A+ accreditation), member of the New Bern Chamber of Commerce, named a top disaster preparedness supplier and a member of FEMA’s Preparedness Community. We follow government guidelines for people to be prepared for an emergency or a disaster. We offer over 250 quality preparedness products, food, water and water filtration, first aid kits and many outdoor supplies. We do not base our business on fear, but we do believe in helping people be prepared in case of an emergency or a disaster. For that matter for outdoor activities too, such as camping, boating and hiking.
Just Us Enterprises sells only quality products primarily for both the short term, (and to those who want to prepare for the alien invasion) and for camping, RVing and outdoors. We disassociate ourselves from the scare tactics that some use and concentrate on a more reasonable, sensible and practical application of what emergency and disaster preparedness means. We enjoy helping others to be prepared for an event because we experienced a time when we were unprepared and needed emergency supplies. Unfortunately, we waited until the last minute and found empty store shelves. Our emergency only lasted a few days because the blizzard closed roads and stores, but it would have been nice to have the supplies we needed to sustain our family for that short span of time. We had no electricity, no heat and very little food.
We learned our lesson and that is how we look at emergency and disaster preparedness. When a severe storm hits, such as a hurricane or the severe blizzard that we endured, it may take several days to a week or two for relief efforts to get to you. Just like those who lived through hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and had to wait for roads and bridges to open, electricity to be turned back on and to have clean water running through the pipes, you too, also need to have provisions and supplies.
Providing supplies, food and water, and emergency essentials from when the disaster strikes until the time disaster relief arrives is our business. Having quality adequate supplies on hand and prior to a crisis to last until assistance arrives to your location is your business. Everyone needs to be prepared for an emergency or a disaster at least for a short duration, a few days to a few weeks. Anything more than that is optional to the individual’s desires.
Briefly, I explained to the gentleman, you do not need to go overboard with supplies or prepare for a long-term catastrophe, unless you want to, but you do need food, water, a first aid kit and emergency supplies for you and your family if the need arises for short-term preparedness. A pre-made survival kit, emergency kit or preparedness package such as those that we provide, are compact and easily portable.
Remember: Your own emergency disaster preparedness plan is the key to survival, and your survival depends on how well prepared you are.
Let us know what you think, make a suggestion, give us a compliment or ask us a question. You will not be solicited by emails, phone calls or a salesperson. We will just respond and let you decide what to do. By the way, all of our info is fact based and we will give you links when appropriate. Thanks for reading.
Chapter 3:Purchasing for an Emergency or a Disaster
1. Who do you buy from?
2. Where do you obtain the emergency supplies?
3. What needs consideration when purchasing disaster supplies?
Purchasing for an Emergency or a Disaster
Who do you buy from?
Purchase your emergency and disaster supplies from an established business. With so many people selling online, you cannot trust everybody. Go with a company that has a good reputation, not all good companies always have good reviews, but many unscrupulous entities might write a number of great reviews for themselves. Your best bet, check out the online store before you buy.
Go to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and check out the business. Individuals, generally, will not be on the BBB website, and their products might be dated or still worse, you might receive damaged merchandise. This is similar to purchasing an item from a yard sale (where all sales are final) or purchasing from a store where you can either return or replace the damaged or defective merchandise. Do not be afraid to ask how long the food was sitting on the company’s or the individual’s shelf. Ask about their return policy and fees for returned merchandise. A reputable company will have this information available on their website.
Be vigilant of whom you purchase from and what you buy because the cost of emergency food, packaged water, tools, equipment, shelter and supplies can be pricey, especially when purchased separately. Keep in mind the duration that you are planning for, this will affect the quality of the merchandise required and in turn, the price. However, a quality product will last longer. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
Where do you obtain the emergency supplies?
Emergency supplies can be purchased from almost anybody and almost anywhere. It helps to know about the company from where you are purchasing your emergency disaster preparedness supplies. For example, some stores or individuals may sell you long-term food that may have a five to twenty-five year shelf life. If you do not know the reputation of the business or individual, you may be purchasing a food item that may have sat on the store shelf (or garage floor) for two or three years, reducing the span of time it will last on your shelf. Buy from a company that does business transactions directly with the food wholesaler and ships direct from the factory. This ensures that you are purchasing long-term food and water that has the longest shelf life on your shelf, not on a store shelf or in someone’s basement. Check out the company on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website.
Purchase your emergency survival kits from a trustworthy supplier. A reputable dealer will assist you with any potential problems once you receive your kit. Go through the kit and make sure everything advertised to come with the kit is there, and if you are missing anything, you have the opportunity to rectify the omission, hopefully before you need it. In addition to checking out the contents of the survival kits, you have assured the kit is complete and are familiar with the contents.
Consider purchasing a survival kit, emergency kit or a preparedness package with an additional long-term food bucket and adding your personal effects to the contents of a preassembled survival/emergency kit. A food bucket is dehydrated or freeze dried food in Mylar pouches with 2 to 4 servings per pouch. The Mylar pouches are stored in a sealed bucket until ready for use. The shelf life can last up to 25 years under proper storage conditions.
What needs consideration when purchasing disaster supplies?
Think long term when purchasing your supplies. Remember that once the useful life of the item is over, you may not be able to replace it. When the knife or axe becomes dull, have a sharpening stone, a file or a replacement knife or axe. Have materials to mend clothing, such as patches for jeans and needles and thread to repair tears. The needle and thread could also stitch a deep cut and help prevent blood loss and infection. A shattered magnifying glass will not concentrate the sun’s rays to make a fire, and a lost flint is useless, matches only work once and lighters run out of fluid, but here are four different ways to start a fire.
This is not to suggest that you double or triple your preparedness equipment, but I am suggesting that you find multiple uses for the same item. For instance, a clear plastic bottle, made of the correct type of plastic, with the appropriate amount of sunshine will kill multiple types of bacteria due to the ultraviolet rays of the sun (determined by the turbidity of the water, type of plastic, size and other factors). This same bottle can be used as a bobber for fishing or a weight for a trap (when filled with a liquid) to catch a fresh meal. Cut off the bottom and you have a funnel. Have the mindset, when purchasing your gear, that the emergency kit supplies should have multi-purpose uses, and redundant applications.
Ideally, have a backpack, survival kit or preparedness package prepared to go with multi-purpose gear and quality supplies that will last for the duration and aftermath of a disaster for the number of people in your group. Gather your lists, food, water purification system, clothing, and the rest of your gear and supplies and locate that gear in an area that is convenient to get to for a potential grab n go situation. For example, make use of a portion of a closet next to the front or back door for a quick retrieval. Alternatively, have another location where you can have access to your supplies, such as a bug out location. There is much to consider when purchasing your emergency disaster equipment, but one must also take into consideration where to store (conveniently) these supplies.
Chapter 2.1 and 2.2 Preparing– lists, gathering supplies
1. Who do you prepare for?
2. What do you need?
PREPARING FOR AN EMERGENCY OR A DISASTER
Preparing – lists, gathering supplies
Once you have defined the Planning part of your emergency disaster preparedness plan, you can start to prepare. With a Plan in place (discussed under No Simple Answers – Planning, with multiple parts), starting the preparing stage of gathering information and emergency essentials also begins with lists of Who, What, How and Why
Who do you prepare for?
Prepare for the number of people in your family, group or organization and add a cushion of emergency preparedness supplies. This seems like a simple answer, however, disasters affect more than those in the immediate group. Others from outside the group will also need supplies. If you planned adequately, you should have more than just enough for you and your group.
Make lists; or have copies of these documents, include phone numbers, addresses, email and social media contacts. In times of extreme stress, memories can be inaccurate or even become forgetful, and it is impossible to remember everybody’s email address from doctors, financial institutions and businesses that you use. Put this secure information in a watertight container with your survival kit, so if you have to evacuate, you will have the information with you.
Contacts of relatives, close friends and people you can trust
Doctors, attorneys, investment brokers and co-workers
Financial Institutions and account numbers – banks and investments
Important documents – vehicle registrations, deeds, titles, marriage and birth certificates insurance policies
Medications – if you have to leave the area having the correct name and dosage will be helpful, include the prescribing doctor’s name and the pharmacy information
Insurance Companies and policy numbers
Place(s) to meet – if communications are lost or a member is separated from your party, you will have a predetermined meeting location
Supplies, food and water; these may need to be rationed
Maps; GPS systems may not be functioning
What do you need?
The most important survival categories are food and water, shelter and warmth and protection for medical reasons and from assailants. There are several more categories, including equipment, tools and essential supplies that require attention as priorities.
What you need is dependent on two things, the “who” (or how many people), and the type of emergency or disaster that you are preparing for. Emergencies and disasters, like footwear, come in an abundance of varieties, types and dreads. You probably will not wear slippers or high heels to a rodeo; likewise, you probably would not have a basic bug out bag for one person, while getting a family of four ready for evacuation when a hurricane or flood is inevitable.
You may not know the type of emergency you probably will encounter, but to your advantage, you do have knowledge in your favor. You know the number of people that you are preparing for. Additionally, you can take an educated guess as to the types of disasters that occur in your area, and you can acquire your emergency supplies based on your budget, knowledge and experience.
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
First Aid Kit
Flashlight and extra batteries
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food [per person]
Manual can opener for food
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Supplies for Unique Needs, [medications, crutches, wheelchair]
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Whistle to signal for help
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, consider adding the following items:
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Cash or traveler’s checks and change
Complete changes of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional warm clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit – EFFAK (PDF – 977Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
Infant formula and diapers
Matches in a waterproof container
Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
You may not have the desire or the time to build your own emergency disaster preparedness kit. There are many different styles of emergency kits, from a basic, single person survival kit to deluxe and élite kits and specialty survival kits for campers and outdoor activities. There are also Emergency Kits made for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires along with those for auto, children, pets and lockdown situations. In addition to the survival and emergency disaster preparedness kits, Emergency Survival Preparedness Packages that contain multiple survival and emergency kits are also available.
Emergency Disaster Kits and Emergency Survival Preparedness Packages like the Emergency Preparedness Package – 4 Person w/ Food Storage has survival supplies that your family of four will need for a week. Containing food, water, first aid kits, space blankets and much more than can be listed here, this Emergency Preparedness Package includes a basic Auto Kit, a Mini Survival Kit, a 56 Serving Grab n Go Food Bucket and a 4 Person Bucket Survival Kit. This package is compact, has what is needed, and it is portable. This is a quality preparedness package, designed by professionals and provides emergency essentials for the family in a time of crisis. A great value and it will last for many years even if not used immediately, because the food is long-term.
Take this scenario. A plumber has a family of four, lives in Ohio, has limited resources and it is late spring. He knows that the river floods every spring due to the melting snow, warmer temperatures and spring rains. He also knows that tornado season is soon to follow. The storm shelter will protect his family from the storm.
This is what we know. There are four people and two common types of potential disasters in his area (flooding and tornadoes). He needs to prepare in advance for the probability of either the flood or a tornado (or both), which are common events in his area, to affect his family. He also must provide them with enough emergency essentials until help arrives, and take into consideration the possibility of providing for other victims.
Basic emergency calculations
The basics of preparing for an emergency are food, water (and/or a water filtration and purification system), shelter and protection. In addition, we recommend a first aid kit, cooking utensils, warmth, clothing, tools, medications, a means to make a fire and your lists (as previously noted). These essentials multiplied by the number of people will give you an approximate total of what you will need per person per day.
Food: To figure out the number of meals you will need, take the total number of people, multiply it by the number of meals per day, and multiply that times the number of days you want to be prepared for. For example, assuming a family of four eats three meals per day and you want to have enough food for a week, the formula to use is
4 (people) x 3 (meals) x 7 (days) = 84.
Simply put, multiply the (number of people) in the group times (number of meals each person eats per day) times (number of days) equals the number of meals needed.
Water: Another example, using a family of four and FEMA’s recommendation of 1 gallon of water per day per person is calculated as:
1 (gallon/day) x 4 (people) x 7 (days) = 28 gallons
Or for a year’s supply of water
1 (gallon/day) x 4 (people) x 365 (days) = 1460 gallons
Many people have stated that they do not drink a gallon of water per day. Remember you will also need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing, cleaning dishes, cuts, scrapes and injuries and cooking. Water, left in the open, becomes contaminated with bacteria, viruses, cysts, microorganisms, dirt, bugs and other pollutants. You should have a water filtration and purification system that does not require electricity. To purify water, use household bleach only as previously recommended, do not use unscented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
The minimum amount of water for this family of four for a year is 1 x 4 x 365 or 1,460 gallons of water. By comparison, the Water Filtration and Purification systems available from Just Us Enterprises will produce 1,200 to 1,800 gallons of water. These systems eliminate over 99.99% of contaminants, is portable and lightweight and comes in different sizes. An optional Nano Filter is also available to filter out smaller particulates.
Food and water are major considerations when preparing for a disaster. Survival kits and bug out bags will supply emergency essentials for a short-term, about 3 days. Larger emergency kits, Preparedness Packages and long-term foods are now available for more people and for longer durations. Make your own emergency kit with personal effects made from scratch or purchase an emergency kit and customize it with your own belongings. Even though emergency disaster preparedness planning and supplies may not be at the top of the “Most Wanted” list, it should be.
Thank you for following Just Us Enterprises, the Emergency Disaster Preparedness company, and liking us on social media.
We now provide emergency, disaster and preparedness products to schools, OEM and fire departments.
Chapter 1.6 & 1.7 Planning – the compiling of lists
6. Where do you store your emergency disaster supplies?
7. When is emergency disaster preparedness necessary?
Planning for an Emergency or a Disaster
Where do you store your emergency disaster preparedness supplies?
This is another complicated answer. Your supplies must be in a place protected from moisture, weather, animals, water, insects and other variables like freezing temperatures, heat, and the elements just to name a few. Protect your supplies from contaminants that may leach into your supplies, and put the food in food safe storage containers. There are plastic containers that are not food safe, and metal will rust overtime. Your life sustaining merchandise must be accessible to retrieve in the time of need, but secure from thieves. A bunker would be ideal, but a bunker is not practical for the average person.
Unless you are privy to insider information as to the type, place and time of the disaster, having many years of a food supply, water and emergency essentials stored in a bunker buried in a mountainside, may be futile if it takes hours to get there. It may be impractical, because of the uncertainty of road conditions and any number of circumstances that may prevent you from getting there. For example, a bridge to the BOL (bug out location) site may have washed away by floodwaters or destroyed by an earthquake preventing travel to the location. The road could be littered with unknown hazards such as fallen trees by a tornado, a landslide or drifts from a blizzard. There is another problem. People!
When disaster strikes, civilization, as we know it breaks down and anarchy takes over. People who want your stash are willing to do any number of things, including murder, so they can have it. They will take what they want by any means at their disposal. Proven time after time, people are their own worst enemies. People will beg, borrow, rob and steal from those who have what they want, even if they do not need it. I watched a video after Katrina hit New Orleans. The city was flooded, there was no electricity and yet, looters were stealing large screen TVs from a store. Looters run the gamut after a disaster, be mindful of this when deciding where to stash your emergency supplies. On the other hand, if you and your party were able to make it to your BOL, safely, it definitely would be worth having.
When is emergency disaster preparedness necessary?
Look around, the media always exploits the bad news, the more negative, the more sensationalized, the better the network ratings. Listed below are a few reasons to prepare for an emergency sooner, rather than later.
The weather forecasts of tornadoes and severe storms in the Midwest are in stark contrast with the California drought. Spring rains and this winter’s snowmelt threatened the Ohio Valley, the Northeast and the lower Mississippi River with flooding. This past winter, Boston’s snowfall recorded over nine feet of snow.
Wildfires, there were 6,526 fires covering 100,217 acres from the first of 2015 until March 13, 2015 (source: National Interagency Fire Center). Most of these wildfires were in the West.
Natural phenomena such as earthquakes (Nepal, Haiti, and Japan), volcanos (Kilauea in Hawaii, Italy, Indonesia, and Chile) and landslides are causing devastating damage.
Solar flares recently threatened and have the ability to disrupt electrical power grids, internet and communications, satellite and phone services.
Violence is rampant in our great land, from a dean at a Boston public high school accused of shooting a student in the head, to a man in Mesa, Arizona who shot four victims in multiple locations. Great cities are succumbing to fear and anger, because of the inequality in justice issue, causing anarchy to rise.
Wars and terrorism add to our complex lives, should we be preparing for a war here in the United States? Some say war will never come to our country. Some say ISIS, or some rogue semi military extremists will invade our country in small groups at first, while making our leaders believe they are focusing on foreign targets. Others believe a revolution has already begun between civil groups as evidenced by the recent intense hostility between authorities and the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and in Florida, Chicago and Baltimore.
Some even further believe the revolution has already begun because of money, “the root of all evil.” When the market crashed in 2008, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs, only to regain lower wage earning jobs. Some never reentered the workforce. The statics claim the jobless rate is down, but so are wages. As wages decreased, prices rose causing those earning less to pay more for the same item. The huge and widening gap between the wealthy and the average and low wage earner is creating resentment. This ever-growing rift, between the rich and the poor, is causing a mindset in some people that they resort to violence to achieve feeding their families, or obtaining what they want. This type of animalistic and infantile approach to solving a problem is creating terrorism in our neighborhoods.
To assist those who are, or were unfortunate enough to have no heat, frozen pipes or a gas or oil burner breakdown, here are a few helpful steps which can be taken and time saving info can be given to your heating technician. Your technician may be able to give you some advice over the phone in the attempt to give you heat until he or she arrives.
Keep in mind that water has a unique quality. Water expands when it is heated or when it freezes but cannot be compressed. This rare quality of expanding when it freezes, the author was told only water has this characteristic, in a confined space, such as a pipe, will apply enough pressure to burst a steel or copper pipe.
Determine What the Problem is
No heat service calls can happen at any time, but they also occur during the night while you are in your warm, toasty, comfortable bed. During the day, you tend to notice the cold, and make the call to your heating repairman. At night, however, many hours can go by before you notice, and by morning it may be to late, because your heating and/or plumbing pipes may already be partially or solidly frozen.
If you have no heat, try to determine if the no heat problem is throughout your house or just part of it.
If your hot water comes from a tankless coil or hot water storage tank piped thru the boiler, check to see if you have hot water.
If you have a tankless coil and run out of hot water really fast and it gets cold, follow the steps below under If You Have No Heat.
If you have a storage tank style system, the storage tank still may still have hot water in it, so you may want to take a real quick shower, because if the burner is down, it is going to get real cold, real fast. If you run out of hot water, follow the steps below under If You Have No Heat.
If you dohave hot water, but do not have heat in part of the house; you probably have a circulator, zone, related control problem or a frozen pipe. Some heating controls that actuate the circulator might have failed. Call your heating company as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more the potential of damage that could result to pipes and property.
If you do not have hot water and you dohave heat throughout the house, you have a hot water problem. Monitor this over several hours.
A quicker way to test this is to turn up all the thermostats throughout the home wait a while (about 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the zones and the home, this allows the burner to cycle and bring the boiler up to temperature and to allow the circulator(s) to run), put your hand near the baseboard and check to see if you feel heat coming from the baseboard. No heat generally means that you need to make the call to the heating technician.
Remember it is less expensive to have a repairman to arrive during the day, so the sooner you call, the sooner you will get service and the less costly it will be. Damages from burst pipes can run into thousands of dollars in addition to the service call, however, hot water problems, providing there is heat, can generally wait until normal working hours.
Preventing the No Heat Call
Many no heat calls are caused by minor preventable problems, however, no heat can result in major, expensive repairs, as well as contributing to colds, flu and other illnesses. As a general rule of thumb, by following these simple steps, you can prevent or at minimum, forestall to a more convenient time, a costly service call from your heating technician. During a “cold snap,” or in extreme cases, like this winter of 2015 with the Siberian Express upon most of the country, “no heat” calls occur almost as frequently as the snowflakes are falling.
Most heating problems stem from the lack of maintenance – have your heating system checked by a qualified technician – annually.
Do not set your thermostat(s) lower than 60 degrees when the temperature outside falls below 20 degrees, especially when it is windy.The reason is because heating pipes are generally on exterior walls, while the thermostats are generally on an interior walls. Lack of insulation, older homes, types of construction and cracks in the walls allow cold air to have contact with these heating (aka baseboard) pipes.
The thermostat will not call for heat if it is set to low or the heat from a wood, pellet , coal stove or fireplace is keeping it satisfied. It is recommended to rely on your heating system in extreme cold temperatures, if you have baseboard (hydronic aka water) heat. It may cost more, but this suggestion could save you thousands of dollars.
The extreme cold, combined with wind chill and the water in the pipes that is not moving could cause pipes could freeze. The wind will cause drafts in cracks in the walls, floors and ceilings, and these drafts can be extremely cold.
Make sure you have oil in the oil tank before a storm or extreme cold is in the forecast.
Check/replace the thermostat batteries
Know your heating system, label every zone, and if you have them, label each valve (supply/feed and return) so each zone can be isolated. This way, if one zone is frozen, you can shut off (isolate) that zone by closing the supply and return valves and still have heat in the rest of the home.
If you have a HVAC system, hydro-air or a warm air heating system, change the air filters frequently, the dust buildup will clog the air filters, which can decrease airflow, making the heating system work harder and actually burn out the furnace’s heat exchanger. That means replacing the heating system.
If the oil tank is outside, build an insulated shed around it with access to the oil fill, vent pipe and filter. Wrap the oil line with a heat tape, but do not overlap the heat tape over itself because it could melt its own insulation and cause a short.
If You Have No Heat
Turn up the thermostats at least 2 to 4 degrees above the room temperature.
Check/replace the thermostat batteries.
Make sure the burner switch is on – the high switch with a red cover plate on it and the one at the oil/gas burner.
Check your fuses.
Check your oil tank (sometimes the oil guage will stick and give a false indication of the oil in the oil tank). Sometimes a good thump on the side of the tank will drop the gauge.
If you have oil heat reset the red button on the primary control. Push the button once and once only. Wait for at least two full minutes to make sure the system “fires up” and remains running. If the burner sounds funny, or is running quieter than normal, call your heating guy and tell him what the symptoms are. Do not reset the burner a second time unless instructed to by your heating company. They may ask you several questions, be patient, because they are trying to give you the best service they can under extremely difficult situations. For example, multiple no heat calls can come in in a very short time, and there may be several calls that have yet to be dispatched and came in before yours.
Determine if the pipe is a heating pipe or a plumbing pipe.
Know where the water shut off valve is to the house and for each fixture. You might be able to just shut off the fixture until the pipe is repaired.
Know where and label the boiler’s manual water feed shut off valve. If a domestic water line is frozen and burst, you can still (provided there is about 12 pounds of pressure in the boiler, tap the boiler guage) shut off the house water and the boiler water valves and keep the boiler running for a limited time. This can be done to prevent the domestic (drinking) water from siphoning the boiler water and causing the boiler to run dry. Only do this as an emergency measure, and tell your plumber or heating technician what you did, so they can reverse the procedure. Better yet, leave a note at both the water main and the boiler as a reminder.
Your heating technician can install isolating valves on each zone so if you freeze up (again), you can shut off those valves and still have heat in the rest of the dwelling (next time). In some cases, burst pipes are so severe, that the entire zone is isolated from the rest of the heating system, and left to be repaired at a later time.
Otherwise, if a heating pipe is frozen or worse, burst and leaking, and there are no isolating valves, you may have to shut the water off to the boiler and possibly the house. The reality is, if the boiler is running with no water in it because the water either leaked out of the system, or turned into steam and evaporated out of the system, your boiler is at risk of cracking. A cracked boiler must be replaced.
Antifreeze in the Heating System
Some plumbers and heating technicians advocate non-toxic anti-freeze for heating systems. A word of caution, first off, this type of antifreeze is expensive, must be properly pumped and purged and also must be replaced about every 4 years, or as recommended by the manufacturer. The antifreeze will eventually break down and corrode fittings, valves and plumbing parts if not replaced on a regular basis. An additional drawback with the installation of anti-freeze is if it is not properly pumped and purged into the system, gurgling noises (caused by air in the system) develop after it is introduced into the system and could create a no heat call. A second service call may be required, and if a different service technician determines that the system needs to be purged of air he/she may inadvertently purge the antifreeze out of the system. Sometimes, this possibility will wait for a year or two. If you have antifreeze in the heating system, have it tested annually and hang a tag on the boiler stating the date and quantity of antifreeze.
Safety, is first and foremost in our minds. Past experience shows us discipline for the future. Preparedness for a disaster or an emergency is safety for the future.
For heating tips, or for emergency disaster preparedness products and supplies contact Just Us Enterprises.