Backup Power for Your Home

Keep your family comfortable and safe during a power failure.

Nearly all Canadians rely on their local utility company to supply the electricity they need to heat their homes, run appliances and keep the lights on. But in the event of a power failure, a reliable backup power system can play a major role in keeping your family comfortable and safe.

To protect your family’s health and security, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has the following tips to help you get the most out of your backup power system:

• Don’t leave selecting, buying and installing a backup system to the last minute. During a power failure you may have trouble learning how to use the system, finding suitable, reasonably priced equipment, or having it properly installed.

• Keep your house warm and prevent the pipes from freezing by ensuring your house has proper insulation and air sealing. Be sure to check the water shutoff valve.

• Change to energy-efficient appliances to ensure your backup system can manage the critical electrical load, and save money on your electrical bill all year round.

• If your house is electrically heated, consider installing an alternate source of heat such as a wood, oil, natural gas or propane stove that vents the combustion gases outside.

• Decide what you really need to keep running in the event of a power outage for your comfort, safety and security. If you need to power only your sump pump, for example, a small gasoline-powered pump could be a simple and inexpensive option to prevent basement flooding.

• Choose a backup system that suits the size of your home, your energy needs and whether you have alternative sources of heating, such as a properly vented wood, oil or gas stove.

• Hire a qualified electrician or electrical-contractor to install and prepare your backup system to make sure it’s safe.

• Never use unvented combustion appliances such as barbecues, cook stoves, fondues, propane or kerosene heaters and lamps indoors. These deplete the available oxygen, produce carbon dioxide and deadly carbon monoxide, and pose a risk of asphyxiation and fire.

• Install battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and make sure to keep spare batteries on hand.

• Test your backup system regularly to make sure it can start all your critical electrical loads, and keep them running.

For more information or a free copy of the “About Your House” fact sheet Backup Power For Your Home or other fact sheets on virtually every facet of owning, maintaining or renovating your home, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit our Web site at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing information.

For story ideas or to access CMHC information, contact CMHC Media Relations – National Office at: (613) 748-4632 or by e-mail:




Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. Established as a government-owned corporation in 1946 to address Canada’s post-war housing shortage,

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