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My sister uses wood heating in here house.

Her heating system has temperature control but of course does not work without electricity.

If electricity goes off the temperature can grow uncontrollably. It has some safety valves and stuff but it is still a danger.

When light goes off my brother-in-law must take all the wood out. This is annoying doing the day and dangerous during the night as they don't know if the power goes off.

They are thinking of a generator:

  • a small one is affordable but you need to power it manually when the light goes off. If it happens at night it's still a problem.
  • an automatic one that goes on by itself is very expensive.
  • maybe something in between those two but couldn't find anything.

I was also thinking of an UPS but that usually allows you to power down your systems safely; it doesn't last long (1h tops !!??). And at night it's still a problem.

The safest thing I can think of is to have some power failure alarm in place that starts "to scream" if power goes off (at night they will awake everybody in the house).

What are really my options here? Any advice is welcomed.

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Making an alarm is easy (you might actually be able to buy one, not sure), all you need is a 120V NC relay, a 9V battery, and a 9V alarm. If power is on, the relay will stay open. But if power is lost, the relay will close and the alarm will sound. –  Tester101 Jan 16 '12 at 17:25
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Do they have some kind of actual users manual that says "if the power goes out, take all the burning wood out of the furnace and set it aside" ? Because that seems like an extraordinarily dangerous thing to do. I would expect something like this to fail safe. Wood stoves rarely have thermostats and don't suffer from the temperature growing uncontrollably without them. –  Kate Gregory Jan 16 '12 at 19:39
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How long a UPS will last depends on how much load is on it. If it's just a thermostat, it might last several hours. Many UPSes also include an audible alarm, which is a handy reminder to call the power company. :) –  Shimon Rura Jan 16 '12 at 20:23
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You may also want to consider installing some battery backup lighting in the area. –  Shimon Rura Jan 16 '12 at 20:24
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1 Answer

You can find all types of power failure alarms online, with a simple search. One such device from Reliance Controls, is the PowerOUT!™

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The PowerOUT!™ is a power failure light, power failure alarm and a portable 6-hour LED flashlight. When plugged into a standard 15A, 120V outlet, the PowerOUT!™ will sound an audible alarm and illuminate three super-bright LEDs when your home's electricity fails. It can be unplugged and, using the three-way slide switch, the alarm can be silenced and the PowerOUT!™ can be used as a handheld flashlight that will provide up to six hours of cumulative light. The PowerOUT!™ is CSA Certified for the US and Canada and powered by a permanently installed NiMH rechargeable battery.

I have never used this product, and do not recommend or endorse the use of this product. This is simply an example of one such device that exists on the market today.

If you're simply looking for a way to be alerted if the power goes out, a device like this might be a simple cheap solution.

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