If you are a Texas homeowner that was affected by the winter freeze in February 2021, it’s safe to say you don’t want to experience that again. (We don’t either!) Power outages are inconvenient and dangerous, especially for those without a backup plan.
In any event, we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, which is why we’ve put together this article for tips on how to stay warm during a power outage and what you can do to help protect your home and minimize damage.
Tip #1: Prepare for a power outage
If you get an alert about a power outage warning or see a cold front moving in, bringing below-freezing temperatures, it’s best to prepare as early as possible. Go ahead and set your home to the highest temperature possible because the hotter your home is, the longer it will take to cool down. Fill your bathtubs and sinks with water and test your generator.
The best way to prepare is to be proactive by getting your home ready for the colder weather before it gets here. Check out our guide here for eight things every homeowner should do before winter.
Tip #2: Avoid heat loss
Conservation is your best bet during a power outage. Opening a window or door inviting a cold blast of air into your home can drop the overall temperature by 5 to 10 degrees with no easy way (or way at all) to raise it again. Keep the indoors where it matters by:
- Roll up a towel or blanket and place it on the base of all exterior doors. Leave through a porch or garage door if you need to go outside.
- If it’s sunny, open the curtains to south-facing windows. If not, keep the curtains closed.
- If the power outage is prolonged, move your family into one room and keep the interior doors shut to keep the heat trapped. Remember to gather blankets, sleeping bags, and flashlights and add extra layers of clothing like a jacket, gloves, and a hat.
- If you’ve got a tent handy, set it up indoors as an extra guard to retain body heat.
Tip #3: Run your generator
Some homes have generators that run on natural gas or a propane supply that automatically turns on if the power goes out. However, if you’re using a portable backup generator, there are a few safety precautions you should follow:
- Don’t ever run your generator inside.
- Connect only electric heaters and only necessary appliances.
- Put your generator in a well-ventilated area, and the exhaust pointed away from your home.
Tip #4: Use your fireplace
If you know a freeze is coming or have time, stock up on firewood to stay warm. Using a fireplace is one of the easiest ways to warm a room when the power is out. For wood-burning fireplaces, conserve wood by burning intermittently. If you have a gas fireplace, it should come equipped with a battery backup for the ignition that will work even if there’s no power. For either use, keep flammable objects away from the fireplace!
Tip #5: Leave your home if needed
It’s hard to leave your home in the face of the unknown, but sometimes that’s your best option. When it’s safe to be on the roads, consider going to a friend or family’s home that has power, checking into a hotel, or going to a nearby shelter. But before you leave, take the following precautions to minimize any risks to your home:
- Shut off the main water valve to your home and drain every faucet to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Unplug all your electronics.
- Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked.
- Set your alarm system before leaving if it’s still working.
TGS Insurance is here to help homeowners find the best coverage for their needs at the lowest price while also navigating their policies during the unknown. We are here for our clients to help with the claims process and continue to offer more than 35 top-rated home insurance companies for homeowners to stay covered. Contact us today!