How to prepare for power outages during winter

Electricity is so prevalent in our lives it can be quite hard to imagine living without it. Yet, if an outage was to occur, that is precisely what you would have to do. While a power outage is usually nothing to be overly concerned about, a power outage in the winter can be extremely dangerous. For example, many professional home security systems will simply stop working, making your home more vulnerable to intrusion. Furthermore, your furnace and boiler may stop working, and communication and lighting will become much more difficult. But with enough preparation, you can minimize the effect of the outage. Since the best way to prepare for power outages during winter is by ensuring that you cover all the essentials, that is what we will cover in this article.

10 Things you can do to prepare for power outages during winter

person trying to prepare for power outages during winter by purchasing nuts
Stocking up on nuts before a power outage is always a good idea.

While a winter power outage may seem extremely scary, the truth is that you can “weather the storm” easily enough if you prepare accordingly. Here’s what you will want to do:

  1. Stock up on food and water
  2. Stock up on batteries
  3. Make sure your car gas tank is always full
  4. Insulate the pipes
  5. “Winterize” your home
  6. Learn what to unplug during a power outage
  7. Invest in a portable generator
  8. Have an “old-school” phone handy
  9. Prepare several layers of clothing
  10. Prepare one room with a heat source

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Another excellent way to prepare for power outages during winter is to run a few “outage drills” before the actual outage occurs. You may want to force yourself to live a day or two without electricity. Doing so will prevent most of the panic associated with the outage, as you will know exactly what to do when it happens. These drills can also provide you with ideas to keep your home safe even during the outage, as you will be able to identify any additional vulnerabilities. That said, you first need to know how to prepare properly for a winter outage. Even if it is a drill.

Stocking up on food and water

The first thing you need to do is ensure that your home has enough food and water. You never know how long you may need to live without electricity, so stockpiling enough food for at least a few days is always a good idea. Ideally, you want to stock up on non-perishable foodstuffs, such as nuts, dried fruits, canned beans, etc. As for water, you will want both drinkable water and “utility” water that you can use to flush the toilet. If there is an indication that a storm is coming and an outage is highly likely, you may even want to fill the bathtub and your washing machine with water.

Additionally, you may need to figure out exactly how you will prepare your food during the outage. If you don’t have a gas appliance, you may want to invest in one, or you may want to stock up on wood or propane and cook your food outdoors.

Stocking up on batteries

batteries as a way to prepare for power outages during winter
Modern appliances use a variety of battery types.

Batteries are basically portable electricity. They will come in extremely handy once the main power goes out. You can use batteries to power radios, flashlights, entertainment devices, and various other gadgets. And if you choose the right outdoor security camera system, they can also help protect your home. The fact of the matter is that some people might want to take advantage of the winter outage and try to infiltrate your home. But if you have battery-powered lights and cameras, they might think thrice before doing so.

You will want to go over all the battery-powered devices you think you will need during an outage and ensure that the batteries are either brand new or fully charged. During this process, you may also want to make sure that you have several flashlights, lanterns, and at least one battery-powered radio. You may also want to get a power bank for your phone.

The importance of a full gas tank

Interestingly enough, gas station pumps run on electricity. This means that you will be unable to fill your car’s gas tank when the power’s out. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have a full gas tank when you want to prepare for power outages during winter. However, if filling the tank is simply not viable on a day-to-day basis, try to have a full tank before a storm hits. While winter power outages can happen due to numerous reasons, they usually occur during a heavy storm.

Insulating the pipes

insulated pipes
Insulated pipes will not freeze.

With the absolute essentials out of the way, it is time to prepare your home for the winter outage. The first thing you will need to do is ensure that all the pipes are properly insulated. Doing so will prevent them from freezing and costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. Similar to the benefits of investing in your home security, it pays off to be proactive. Pipe insulation is not usually a DIY project, meaning you might want to find a professional to do it for you.

“Winterizing” your home is the way to prepare for power outages during winter

Aside from pipe insulation, you will also want to insulate the attic and at least some of the walls. Furthermore, you may want to ensure that there are no drafts inside your home, as those can be dangerous when the power’s out. You can utilize caulking, window film, and weatherstrips to great effect, and you can even attach draft guards to the bottom of your doors. This is also the time to replace your windows and doors if they need replacing. All of this might sound very costly, but there are advantages to home winterization beyond power outages. You will lower your utility bills by making sure that there are no drafts. In the long run, this alone may pay for all the improvements.

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Appliances to unplug during a power outage

Many home appliances do not work well with power outages. Or, more specifically, they don’t work very well with the sudden surge of power that follows after the outage is over. You need to learn which appliances to unplug and which you can leave plugged in. Many people choose to simply unplug everything, but this can be a very tedious task. Instead, you may want to unplug “advanced technology” appliances only. These appliances include TV sets, gaming systems, desktops/laptops, and modern washers and dryers. Basically, if it has a screen of any sort, you might as well unplug it.

One of the best ways to prepare for power outages during winter – Buying a portable generator

If you have the means, purchasing a portable power generator is the best thing you can do to prepare for power outages during winter. These generators usually run on propane on gasoline and can power several appliances at once. If you decide to invest in a generator, you will want to ensure┬áthat its fuel source is well-protected and kept in a ventilated area, preferably away from your house. And since these generators are quite valuable, you may want to install a home security system if you don’t have one. Lastly, always run the generator at least fifteen feet from any part of your home due to the toxicity of the gas generator’s exhaust.

“Old-school” phone

a corded phone
Where modern phones fail, old ones may yet work!

These days, corded phones are something of an antique. However, they still have their place even in this day and age. They don’t run on electricity, for one. Unless you don’t have a landline, there is absolutely no reason not to have an old corded phone somewhere in a closet. At the very least, it may come in handy during a winter power outage.

Layering up

Heat management is one of the most important aspects of getting through a winter power outage. That is why you may want to maximize your body heat by wearing several layers of clothes. Insulated long underwear, for example, can significantly improve the retention of your body heat. Some other pieces to consider include wool socks, coats, hats, and mittens. The more of your body you can cover under as many layers as you can stand, the better.

Preparing a room to live in during a winter outage

The fact of the matter is that heating your entire home during a winter outage is simply not feasible for most. That is why you may want to designate an “outage room”, which will have its own heat source, such as a gas/wood burner. A small room works best, as it is easier to heat up. Even if you don’t have an external heat source, the small size of the room means that your body heat will take longer to disperse, keeping you warmer for longer.

Prepare for power outages during winter in no time

As you can see, it is not all that difficult to prepare for power outages during winter. All we’ve mentioned throughout this article can be accomplished in a few days. Insulation and door/window replacement might take a tad longer, but that is something you don’t need to do every year.

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If you want even more information on improving the safety of your home, Consumer Opinion Guide is your go-to resource! We can provide you with all the necessary information on home security systems that will keep working even during a winter outage!

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