Updated August 2023
Winter is finally here. As much as you have been looking forward to comfy sweaters and holiday fun, you know how unpredictable this time can be, and despite all of the prepping that you’ve done thus far to protect your home from the inevitable temperature drop, you might still find yourself in the midst of an untimely power outage. Fortunately for you, the next seasonal blackout doesn’t have to be as bad as the ones before. Here are a few life-saving steps to take if you do happen to find yourself in a power outage this year.
Seal in the Heat
What little heat is left in your home must be preserved at all costs. So, report to all entryways and begin blocking out the cold air. Use a roll of tape to line the openings around your doors. Painter’s tape is the best option since it is easily removable and won’t cause any damage to your paint. After you finish with your doors, it’s time to treat your windows because they can also be a huge cause of heat loss. In fact, you might even want to insulate them first before addressing any other drafts. There are plenty of specialized materials that you can select for your insulation process, but don’t fret if you don’t have any on hand. A variety of household products will work just fine. You can cover your windows with a blanket, cardboard, plastic or even bubble wrap.
Come Together in One Area
If you share your home with loved ones, you will finally have the chance to catch up on some much-needed quality time. Even if you live alone, you will still benefit from keeping most of your activities confined to one area. This is because it will be much easier to keep one area warm with the use of collective body heat and external resources than it is to preserve the coziness of the entire home. That can prove to be nearly impossible when you are without power for more than a day or so. If you have one, pitch a tent in one of the most convenient areas of your home, preferably one with a built-in heat source or one that is away from entryways. Kitchens usually work well as you will have easy access to water and food, and basements are another solid option because the ground insulation will keep temperatures from dropping prematurely.
Pull Out Your Portable Generator
A portable generator can offer much relief during your time of need, but keep in mind that as they typically run off of propane or gasoline, they will need to be kept outside during use. You can use extension cords to carry the power to the inside of your home, but please don’t expose them to moisture. As long as you go about it safely, your handy generator can be used to satisfy several of your needs, like charging your cell phones and heating up meals.
Make Use of Tealight Candles
If you are on a budget and haven’t invested in a fancy alternative heat source or you neglected to stock up on firewood before the cold came on, tealight candles could prove to be your salvation. Tealights can stay lit from anywhere between three to six hours, and they can be used to provide minimal but adequate amounts of both warmth and lighting. They can even cook various meals, like soups and hot cereal, but though they pack a lot of power, they warm food rather slowly. It’s best to begin the cooking process at least an hour ahead of dinnertime. Just pull out the candle stove, power it with at least 10 tealights, stir every seven minutes or so, and wait until your meal reaches the temperature you desire.
After so many hours without power, your fingers might begin to turn into icicles. Tealights can solve that problem as well. Pack a number of them in an aluminum container, and take turns alternating your hands and other body parts over your homemade heat source. Just be sure not to burn yourself with the flames or allow your garments to catch fire. Also, keep a close watch over any little ones or pets.
Insulate Your Pipes
As soon as you catch word of a winter storm, insulate any exposed pipes immediately. If a water pipe bursts, you can count on an expense that could run into thousands of dollars. Besides that, your home might even end up being covered in freezing water. To prevent this from happening, it is best to have pipe insulation strips on hand. If it is too late for you to run out and grab some, you might still be able to save your precious pipes by opening all cabinet doors and allowing water to trickle out of your faucets to prevent freezing.
Layer Your Clothing
This one might sound a bit obvious, but when panic sets in, it can be easy to forget to clothe yourself accordingly. Even if the cold hasn’t quite settled into your home, it is still best to start layering your clothes. Be sure to stay away from garments that will make you sweat, because moisture fights off heat. If you have insulated undergarments, now is the time to throw them on. They will retain warmth for as long as possible. Don’t forget to pile on comfy socks, hats, scarves, gloves, hoodies and anything else that looks warm.
Get to Unplugging
The electric surges that tend to occur during a winter storm might be more than your electronics can endure. So, if you want your valuables to remain functioning, unplug them. Doing this is vital for maintaining the health of your gaming systems, televisions, computers and any other modern appliance that operates with updated technology.
Leave a Lamp On
Most, if not all, of your appliances should be unplugged. However, if all of your outlets are clear, you might not know when the blackout has been lifted. This is why you should always leave a lamp switched on and plugged into a nearby outlet so that you will be the first to know when things have gone back to normal.
Check for Signs of Hypothermia
Hypothermia takes the lives of about 2,000 people each year in this country, so it is extremely important to know which signs to look for so that you are able to call 911 immediately. If someone is experiencing this condition, they might exhibit the following behaviors:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Slurred speech
- Unwavering exhaustion or fatigue
Pay close attention to young children under 4 years old and older adults over the age of 65. Because it is more difficult for their bodies to regulate healthy temperatures, they are at a greater risk of experiencing this condition.
Turn to Your Local Experts
Winter might not be here to serve you, but our team at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions is. We’ve gone above and beyond to assist residents of Roseville, Benicia and surrounding areas of California since 2010, and we’re eager to help you winterize your home before the next power outage. We perform a complete array of heating and cooling installation, repair and maintenance. Besides that, we can take care of all your indoor air quality and plumbing needs. Give us a call today and discuss how we can help you make this winter safe and secure.