With the weather we have had lately, I thought it was appropriate to share some tips for dealing with cold weather…
I was thinking about how cold the weather has been lately. We keep hearing about records being broken for low temperatures. Were you ready for the colder weather? Did you prepare your home for the frigid temps?
If you are wanting to get yourself prepared for winter and the harsh conditions it can bring, check out the cold weather safety tips below:
I know this sounds like common sense, but when the Mercury dips as low as it has been lately, making sure you have everything insulated is warranted. So if you haven’t already winterized your home, now is a good time to do it. I crawled under my house the other day to add extra insulation to some water lines.
There is, of course, a limit on what you can do at the last minute. But in the spring, you may want to consider adding more insulation in your attic and walls. You should also consider installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. One thing you can do now is buy some caulk or weatherstripping to seal any drafts around your windows and doors.
Like a Boy Scout: Prepared
Imagine sitting on your couch feeling all warm and toasty. Maybe watching your favorite TV show or curled up with a good book. And suddenly click…the power goes out. While it may seem annoying at first, in just a few hours you will be starting to wish you had prepared for a power outage.
You want to be sure you’re prepared for living without power during cold weather for a few days. And that is IF you are lucky. It could be a week or 2 for the power to come back on. I suggest you invest in a backup heat source, such as a generator or wood-burning fireplace. No matter which one you choose, you need to remember to have some fuel stockpiled.
Most sources I have read suggested you’ll need at least a three-day supply of water. I would suggest this is the bare minimum and hope you consider that you will need water to flush toilets. You are also going to need plenty of non-perishable food, flashlights & extra batteries, battery-powered cell phone chargers and a medical kit that includes prescriptions. Candles are not a bad idea IF you are safe with them and don’t leave them unattended.
Also something you may not have thought of is an old fashioned manual can opener. That electric can opener isn’t going to help much with no power! Also having some paper plates, plastic cups and utensils is going to come in handy.
If you do not already have a basic first aid kit, then I suggest picking one up. If you have pets, then you need to remember to have food and water for them also.
A Word of Caution
I need to stress that some things you need to address for safety. You need to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month or at the bare minimum every spring and fall when you spring forward/fall back.
Every fall, when we get to that wonderful time of the year that you don’t have to use either the heat or the AC is a great time to schedule a check up for your heat. You can save money on your monthly bills and avoid problems by maintaining your HVAC systems. If you have a chimney then it needs to be cleaned and inspected every year.
I have already seen several news stories about homes catching on fire due to people not being careful with space heaters. Whether it is a space heater or a kerosene heater, you must make sure they’re away from anything flammable. Always turn them off before you go to sleep or leave them unattended.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand. Please make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
Insulate Your Pipes
I bet the plumbers’ phones are ringing non-stop right now. Of course, they are getting paid since frozen pipes can be expensive to fix. If your pipes freeze, they can burst when they thaw. Then you will be facing possible water damage and no water. You need to know how to shut off your water valves in case a pipe bursts.
I suggest that you turn your faucets on to get a small trickle. Consider opening the cabinets doors to let warm air get to the pipes.
After a few days without power, you may feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You need to have some books and games to occupy your time until the power comes back on. Boredom can drive you nuts.
Remember no power means no internet or TV. In a worse case scenario, you may be forced to have a conversation with family members. Just remain calm and remember this is what our ancestors did for thousands of years.
The Take Away
I have read some funny jokes about the polar vortex. And plenty of people saying there is no such thing as global warming. But all of that isn’t very funny if you are freezing to death.
Please don’t let winter weather catch you unprepared! If you equip your house to handle the cold weather, it means you’ll have less to worry about IF the power goes out.
Do you have any suggestions for preparing for cold weather and power outages?