Winter is notorious for throwing people everywhere a number of curveballs and during the cold season, one of the worst things that can happen in the home is the loss of power. Among the challenges presented by a winter power outage, some of the most pressing to address include preserving perishable foods, communicating with others, and most importantly managing the frigid temperatures that can set into homes. Depending on the duration of the power loss, it can be difficult to navigate everyday activities but with the use of a few tips, you can make it through until the lights come back on.
Here are 8 ways to Prepare for a Winter Power Outage
1. Layer Up!
One of the easiest and most crucial tips for preparing for a winter power outage is to bundle up in your home. Without access to some heat sources, your body is able to lose its warmth, a lot of which escapes from your hands and the top of your head. This can be counteracted by simply wearing warm clothes which will help to make a cold home more bearable. It also doesn’t require turning anything on or keeping watch over a heating source. And though it may seem silly to wear a winter hat or gloves indoors, bundling up during an outage is a strategy that could really help keep you toasty!
2. Keep Your Refrigerator Door Closed
When power is lost in homes, one of the most significant things affected is the refrigerator and freezer. With no energy powering their temperature regulation, they can only maintain their internal climates for so long. To aid in ensuring a greater likelihood that you make it through the outage without those appliances experiencing a significant jump in temperature, avoid opening the fridge and freezer doors as much as possible. If the doors are kept closed, the food inside can stay cold for several hours. Because there is likely no telling just how long the power will be out, it is better to remain cautious and refrain from pulling food out.
3. Unplug Large Electronics
Before the power in your home is restored, it is important to remember to unplug your large electronics and appliances. When the power does return, the energy could create a power surge which is harmful to your equipment. Computers, TV, stereos and other electronics would be the best to unplug during the power outage. When you notice that the power has come back on, wait a few minutes before activating your devices. With electric companies restoring energy to all of their customers, the demand will put a lot of pressure on the electrical system. During the first few moments following a power outage, it is best to exercise some patience before turning on your devices.
4. Use Fire!
With the possibility of a lower temperature setting into your home during a winter power outage, those who have a wood stove or fireplace can use the heat they generate to counteract the cold. In doing so however, it is important to remember that there are some dangers associated with the use of fire and heat-based devices. In the event you own a gas-powered heat source such as a gas grill or kerosene heater, refrain from using it as they can give off carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. Be sure to keep a close eye on your source of heat during its use and remember to power it down when you are done using it.
5. Be a Good Neighbor
In the event of a winter power outage, something that individuals should do as they go about enduring the energy loss is check in with neighbors. It is particularly important to check on elderly neighbors who may not be able to assist themselves easily. Beyond confirming that everyone is okay, getting in contact with those around you also has several benefits. In addition to getting a sense for just how widespread the outage is, it can also present the opportunity to convey any updates that may have been given or enable cooperation should individuals be able to safely go from one home to another.
6. Cautious with Candles
As homeowners attempt to move around their homes in darkness, many will turn to candles as a means of sustained light throughout their spaces. Though it is meant to help, it is important to understand that candles are not the best method for lighting homes during power outages. Along with the danger they pose when placed around small children and pets, they pose a fire hazard that can be even more dangerous given the complications that winter can sometimes cause, such as limited access to water due to frozen pipes. In order to get around, it is best to use a flashlight. Be sure that you know where it is located before the storm as well as back up batteries that may be needed should the ones in the device go out.
7. Charge devices
For those times when winter storms with the ability to knock out electricity are spotted and reported, individuals should use the head start provided to go about charging their devices. Having a fully powered cell phone will enable communication with others like family and friends to check in and confirm everything is okay. They can also allow for updates on the situation as a whole. And as cellular devices are charged, portable batteries that may be around the house should also be plugged in as well. Should the outage drag on, they will be able to be used as a source of energy to keep electronics operating. And if there comes a time in which both phones and portable batteries run out of energy, hooking them into a car can allow them to charge, once again granting access to their use.
8. Get a cooler
When the power goes out and renders the refrigerator unaccessible, it can become necessary to have another means of storing food and other belongings in a temperature-controlled environment. Before the power outage, homeowners can invest in a cooler and several bags of ice as a means of storing goods without power. For those who are on medication, this bit of information could be crucial. Before relying on it as a primary mode of storing medicine however, consult a pharmacist or a medical professional to confirm that it is a viable means of preserving medication or determine another method for making it through the outage.