What to Do if Power Goes Out in Winter: Survival Guide for Safe and Warm Winter Power Outages

What to Do if Power Goes Out in Winter?

If the power goes out in winter, there are several important steps you can take to stay safe and comfortable.

First, check if the circuit has tripped during the outage.

If not, call a professional for a thorough checkup.

Stocking up on food, water, and other necessities is essential.

Lack of heat is the biggest threat during a blackout in winter, so block cold drafts in the home and dress in layers to stay warm.

Perform pre-winter home maintenance and consider installing a secondary non-electric heater.

In case of a long-term power outage, keep the refrigerator/freezer doors closed and use snow and ice from outside to keep food cold.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by cleaning fireplaces and chimneys before use, and do not use gas generators, camping stoves, or barbeques indoors.

Stay informed by listening to the news on a battery-powered or hand-cranked device, or by using texting instead of calling on a cellphone.

Unplug appliances and electronics to avoid surges when the power comes back on, and leave one lamp on to know when the power is restored.

Finally, if evacuating, remember to turn off the main breaker, circuit breaker panel, or power supply box, turn off the water main, and drain water from the system.

Key Points:

  • Check if the circuit has tripped during the outage
  • Call a professional for a thorough checkup if the circuit has not tripped
  • Stock up on food, water, and other necessities
  • Block cold drafts in the home and dress in layers to stay warm
  • Perform pre-winter home maintenance and consider installing a secondary non-electric heater
  • Keep refrigerator/freezer doors closed and use snow and ice to keep food cold during long-term power outages

Did You Know?

1. During a power outage in the winter, it is recommended to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A closed refrigerator can keep food at a safe temperature for up to four hours, while a closed freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours.

2. If you need additional heat during a power outage, using an indoor-safe generator is crucial. However, it’s important to remember that generators should never be operated indoors or even in a garage, as they emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. The safest place to operate a generator is outside and at least 20 feet away from any doors or windows.

3. To conserve warmth during a power outage in winter, consider gathering everyone in a single room and closing off the other rooms of the house. This will allow body heat to accumulate and keep the space warmer for longer periods. You can also use blankets, sleeping bags, or even pile up layers of clothing to provide additional insulation.

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4. If you have a fireplace, it can be an excellent source of heat during a power outage. However, ensure you have a supply of seasoned firewood before winter arrives. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been dried for at least six months, making it burn more efficiently and produce more heat.

5. Assemble a power outage kit specifically for winter emergencies. Include items such as extra blankets, hand warmers, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, flashlights, spare batteries, non-perishable food items, bottled water, and a manual can opener. It’s always better to be prepared in advance for any unexpected power outages!

Protecting Your Electronics During Power Outages

Winter power outages can be particularly damaging to electronic appliances, including HVAC units. Power surges that occur when the electricity is restored can fry delicate circuitry and render these devices useless. To protect your electronics during a power outage, it is important to take some precautions.

  • Firstly, unplug all your appliances and electronics during a power outage to avoid a surge when the power comes back on. This will help prevent damage to these devices.
  • Secondly, consider disconnecting your electronic devices altogether and only reconnect them once the power is stable. This avoids the risk of a power surge damaging your appliances.
  • Lastly, use surge protectors for your valuable electronic devices as they provide an extra layer of protection against power surges.

Steps To Prepare For Winter Power Outages

Preparing for a power outage before a snowstorm hits is crucial to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe and comfortable during the blackout. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for winter power outages:

  • Weatherize your home by insulating windows, doors, and the attic to help retain heat and keep your home warm for longer periods without electricity.
  • Check for broken or missing shingles on your roof and clean the gutters to prevent ice dams, which can cause damage to your home during a winter storm.
  • Inspect and clean wood-burning fireplaces before winter arrives to ensure they are in proper working condition. Also, make sure you have enough stock of wood to last throughout the winter season.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items in case of a long-term power outage. Canned food, nuts, granolas, cereals, crackers, juices, powdered milk, and instant coffee are great options to have on hand.

Securing Your Home Against Winter Weather

Winter storms can cause significant damage to your home, including power outages. Securing your home against winter weather is crucial for protecting your property and ensuring your safety.

One important step is to block drafts by sealing gaps and cracks in various areas of your home, such as doors, windows, the attic, fireplace, electrical outlets, chimney, and ductwork. This will keep your home warmer and prevent cold air from seeping in during a power outage.

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Consider investing in a generator, either standby or portable, to provide power during storms. If you decide to get a generator, remember to set it up at least 20 ft. away from your home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, regularly inspect vents and chimneys with the help of a professional to ensure proper ventilation and prevent potential hazards.

Essential Supplies To Stock Up On For Winter Power Outages

When it comes to winter power outages, being prepared with essential supplies is crucial. Stocking up on the following items will help you navigate through a power outage with relative ease:

  • First and foremost, keep a sufficient supply of non-perishable food items such as canned food, cereals, crackers, and powdered milk.
  • Don’t forget to include granolas, nuts, juices, and instant coffee in your stockpile.
  • It’s also essential to have an adequate supply of water bottles as tap water can freeze or become inaccessible during power outages.

Check your flashlights and stock up on batteries to ensure you have lighting options during power outages. Additionally, gather supplies such as spare batteries for devices like smoke detectors, radios, and other essential electronics. Since heating is a major concern in winter power outages, consider purchasing extra blankets, warm clothing, and sleeping bags to stay warm and comfortable.

Remember: Preparation is key to effectively handle winter power outages.

Important Measures To Stay Warm And Safe During Power Outages

During a winter power outage, lack of heat becomes the biggest threat. You need to take certain measures to stay warm and safe throughout the blackout.

  • Dress in layers, starting with thermal wear and adding warm clothing, such as sweaters and jackets. Warm mittens and woolen socks can help prevent heat loss through your hands and feet.
  • Ensure that you keep children warm and occupied with warm clothes, blankets, and their favorite toys.

Consider purchasing extra supplies such as extra cereals, baby milk formula, and emergency medication well in advance of a power outage. Keep emergency numbers close to your landline phone and also maintain a classic radio as a backup to stay connected to news and updates in case your phone battery dies.

After power is restored, make sure to check for damaged pipes and replenish any necessities such as food, water, batteries, and fuel. If your refrigerator has been without power for more than two hours and the temperature inside rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, check food items for spoilage. Signs of frozen pipes include water damage on walls, floor, or ceiling, water pooling around pipes, and non-functional faucets. In such cases, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve immediately and call a professional plumber for assistance.

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Remember, the power may take some time to heat up again after an outage, so be patient and stay prepared for any potential challenges until everything returns to normalcy.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I survive winter without electricity?

One way to survive winter without electricity is by investing in a solar generator. With a solar generator, you can harness the power of the sun to generate electricity, providing you with an alternative source of energy during the winter months. Additionally, dressing in layers is an effective way to stay warm without electricity. Layering your clothing helps to trap heat and insulate your body, keeping you comfortable even in cold temperatures. Combine this with using blankets and sleeping bags to provide extra warmth, and you can create a cozy environment without relying on electricity. Lastly, minimizing the opening of doors and windows helps to prevent heat from escaping and cold air from entering, which can greatly improve your chances of surviving winter without electricity.

Can you lose power if it gets too cold?

Yes, extreme cold temperatures can potentially lead to power outages. When temperatures drop to very low levels, the high demand for electricity to heat homes and buildings can strain the electrical system. This increased demand puts pressure on the infrastructure, potentially leading to equipment failures and power failures. Additionally, severe cold weather can cause damage to power lines and other electrical components, further contributing to power outages.

Will I have heat if the power goes out?

No, if you have a power outage, you will not have heat if your home is equipped with a forced air heating system. This type of heating system relies on electricity to function, so when there is no power, there will be no heat. It’s important to have alternative heating methods available in case of a power outage to keep you warm and comfortable.

What happens if power goes out while PC is on?

If the power goes out while your PC is on, there is a risk of potential damage to the computer hardware and the loss or corruption of data. While improvements have been made to mitigate the risks, sudden power loss during a system update could still result in damage to the computer. It is crucial to regularly backup your important data and consider investing in a surge protector or an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system to minimize the impact of power outages.

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