Even when you live somewhere that doesn’t typically have extreme winter weather, the past couple of years has taught us, you can have several days of extreme cold. These are days when surprise winter storms can happen that can have quick devastating effects. People who live in warmer climates in the south aren’t really equipped to handle this type of weather and are taken by surprise most times and it can be dangerous. Let’s talk about some things you can do to stay warm and safe if when these weather systems pop up.
You have to prepare
First things first. You cannot bury your head in the sand. Listen to the news. If they predict severe winter weather is coming your way, take it seriously. Prepare for the worst ahead of time. Don’t wait until the day before. You should have a generator of some sort so you can power things like your cell phones, lighting, and even a source of heat in case the power goes down. Think of investing in an indoor propane heater and purchase enough propane to get you through a few days. If you have a gas fireplace maybe invest in a natural gas heater that can be connected to the gas source to be able to heat the entire room in the event of a power outage.
First thing, layer your clothing. Even if you live in a fairly warm place, you still will likely have a selection of fall clothing. Just grab a long sleeve tee and a sweatshirt and put them both on. Next, if you have leggings or yoga pants, slip those on as well and top them with a pair of joggers or sweat pants. That will give you some nice insulation.
If the power is out, you need to find out if it’s just you or if others in the neighborhood have the same problem. And if it is just you, what could the problem be? Sometimes it’s as simple as a tripped breaker and you can turn the power back on with the flick of a switch. It’s possible it’s a rolling black out and the power will be back on in a couple of hours. It’s also possible that there was an ice storm and the power lines are down and you could be without power for days. So you have to be prepared for this as well.
HVAC is out
If your HVAC is not working then and you cannot determine what the problem is, you’re likely going to need to call in a professional. Find a service to help you with your specific heating appliance, whether you need someone to fix your furnace or a heat pump repair service. It’s likely going to be difficult to get emergency help during a winter storm so be prepared to have to wait. Go to your emergency plan to keep your family warm in this case. There are indoor propane heaters that do a pretty good job of heating an entire room, but you cannot wait until a winter storm to try to purchase one. Get them ahead of time. You will likely need them at some point. You can buy electric heated throw blankets that do a good job of keeping you warm and are super cozy while watching tv and relaxing with the family. Have a few on hand.
A hot water bottle or a microwaveable pillow (one of those filled with oats or lavender) can be great for helping to keep you warm too. Grab a few hand warmers at the hardware store to put in hoodie pockets. Keep blankets and throws around the room to keep everyone bundled up until the heat is back on.
Check for drafts
Something you should do as a matter of home maintenance is to check your home for drafts. Checking your home for drafts is essential if you don’t want your heat escaping right out your doors and windows. If you can see daylight around your doors, then cold air is definitely coming into your home through those cracks. Adding weather stripping will stop this from happening. If you see curtains moving around your windows, then you can bet air is seeping in there as well. Adding clear silicone caulk around window frames can help stop drafts and staunch the flow of air and cut off that source of cold air as well.
Don’t forget the trusty ol’ electric blanket. If your electricity is still working, there’s nothing cozier than getting into bed and snuggling under a toasty electric blanket to help you drift off to dreamland. Most of today’s blankets have a butter soft, fluffy lining that feels like heaven. The thermostats come with a ton of settings and most shut themselves off after several hours of use. You’ll wake up refreshed and hopefully to a better day with better weather circumstances.
The most important aspect to any winter weather storm situation is to prepare ahead of time. Rarely do these thing happen by surprise.