As we face winter storms with potential for power outages, here are some tips from AmCon repair expert DennyG:
- Look to alternative power sources to create a heat source. If you have a wood burning fireplace now, is the time to light a fire. If you have a gas fireplace, it likely has a manual way to light it. It’s good to familiarize yourself with manual operation of a gas fireplace before an emergency happens. An electric fireplace can be wired with a manual igniter if it doesn’t already not have one. It is best to get this taken care of in the summer when it is warm.
- If you have a generator, it’s time to fire it up. The generator should be outside of your home. You can run an extension cord back into the house to power some circuits to keep you warm. It’s best to plan which circuits you will need ahead of time and prepare a generator before you need it.
- Create a warm room. Use a room that is smaller and preferably with no windows. Cover the windows and egress points with plastic and/or blankets to help keep cold air out. Heating just one room is more efficient and easier than trying to warm multiple rooms. If you are using a space heater, check manufacturer recommendations for proper ventilation.
- Layer your clothing, starting with a thin base layer. The middle layers should be something warm like a flannel shirt and a hoodie or a thick sweater and pants. If you need to go outdoors, add an outer layer such as a coat and maybe some snow pants. Remember to wear a warm head covering. Most of the heat loss will leave your body from your head. Don’t forget gloves, of course.
- Keep your mind busy so you think less about being cold. Play a game or create tasks to do while to power is out. Keeping your body moving will help you stay warm.
- Within the first few hours of the power going out, you can fill up hot water bottles, or other items with hot water to create a warming device that can be held under clothing. The heat will radiate for a while.
- Make some hot drinks or food while you still have hot water in the water heater. Cocoa or tea will warm the soul and a boost from coffee will help with those tasks you may have planned.
- Set up battery-operated or solar lights in the rooms you use the most most. Outdoor solar lights can be brought inside for this purpose. If using candles or oil lamps, never leave a burning flame unattended, and make sure to keep potentially flammable substances, pets and children away from the flame.
- Body heat works wonders. Get into a sleeping bag or snuggle up with your pet.
- Use your car as a warming room. Make sure the car is outside and not in your garage.
While the power is out it, consider taking time to make note off all the things you can do to better prepare yourself for future outages.