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Being Prepared

posted January 23, 2009

From Nick, a Roncesvalles neighbour:

A "sadder-but-wiser" neighbour's advice for a major power outage IF YOU HEAT WITH A BOILER

What you need to know.

  • Your boiler system works separately from the water supply to the rest of your home (taps, toilet, shower, etc.)
  • Running your taps (as was advised by the city) will NOT prevent pipes associated with a boiler system from freezing.

What to do.

From S.M, a Seaton Village neighbour:

A caution about older houses without a basement: FURNACE FROZE, PIPES BURST

S.M. from Seaton Village had a catastrophe in her house because of the blackout. She told the Parkdale Library Blackout Meeting about it, ending with: "can you tell me who I can sue?" The Hydro representatives told her she should go through her insurance. They didn't say more, but they listened -- they looked like hearing S.M.'s story may have made Hydro's mistake hit a lot closer to home for them.

that's what a burst pipe looks like

kitchen wall damaged

S.M.'s story:

I live in a 115 year old frame "cottage" in Seaton Village. I say cottage because I don't have a basement, just a crawl space. Basically, my story is that when power was restored my (new high efficiency) furnace didn't turn on. On Saturday, by the time a repairman arrived my house had been without heat for almost 48 hours during the coldest nights of the year. He soon discovered that the furnace was completely frozen internally and could not be saved.

posted January 23, 2009

CCAC power outage "client advisory"

Somebody sent this link from the "From Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre."

Not terribly useful, with instructions like this one: 'Gather family members in a room with a fireplace or other safe source of heat.'

a) you may not have a fireplace, and what would another "safe source of heat" be, since propane heaters and BBQs are not to be used?

b) Many of the old houses in central-Toronto neighbourhoods have old fireplaces. Half of a house burned down after this blackout -- the fireplace may have had microscopic cracks in it (investigation not finished yet), and the insulation of this lovely old house was sawdust. So they had a fire in the walls, having hospitably invited neighbours in to huddle by the fireplace for warmth all day -- the old fireplace got very hot from all that burning.

Power_Client Advisory

The City of Toronto website link for being prepared in emergencies:


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Content last modified on January 24, 2009, at 10:48 AM EST