Winter Storms: How to Safely Use Natural Gas Appliances During Power Outages

Media contact:; 503-739-9902


November 8, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. — Before the next winter storm hits, NW Natural is encouraging customers to learn how to safely use natural gas appliances during power outages caused by snow, wind, and icy conditions.

Here are general tips for safely operating natural gas appliances without electricity:

  • Natural gas fireplace:

    Some natural gas fireplaces contain a backup battery module that can be used during a power outage to start the fireplace. Install the batteries when the power is out, then use the manual switch or remote to turn on the fireplace. While the fan will generally not operate with the battery backup, the fireplace will emit radiant heat and light. When the power comes back on, turn off the fireplace and allow it to cool, then remove and store the batteries.
  • Natural gas water heater:

    Most conventional natural gas storage tank water heaters have a pilot light that continues functioning during a power outage. If the pilot light goes out, review the instruction manual for steps to relight it, or contact a technician. Tankless water heaters typically require electricity, but some can be equipped with a backup battery that operates automatically during a power outage.
  • Natural gas cooktop:

    Most natural gas cooktops can be used without the built-in electronic igniter. Simply use a wand style lighter to ignite the burner. When the lighter is lit, turn the gas on for the burner using the knob (and note that the clicking sound of the electronic igniter will not be present when the power is out). To be safe, always double check that the burner is turned off when finished cooking.

Instructional videos for how to operate natural gas appliances during a power outage are available
online at Customers seeking more information on how to operate their natural gas appliances without electricity should check their appliance manual or contact an appliance dealer.


About NW Natural

NW Natural is a local distribution company that currently provides natural gas service to approximately 2.5 million people in more than 140 communities through more than 795,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation. NW Natural owns and operates 21 Bcf of underground gas storage capacity in Oregon. NW Natural, a part of Northwest Natural Holding Company, (NYSE: NWN) (NW Natural Holdings), is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has been doing business for more than 160 years. NW Holdings owns NW Natural, NW Natural Renewables Holdings (NW Natural Renewables), NW Natural Water Company (NW Natural Water), and other business interests. We have a longstanding commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, and taking care of our employees and communities. Learn more in our latest ESG Report.

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