Winter Blackout: How to stay safe

Winter Blackout: How to stay safe
Severe winter weather prep is crucial for homeowners. Winter storms that bring freezing rain, sleet, snow and below freezing temperatures can cause power outages that last longer than those during summer months. This is typically due to the weather conditions which damage power lines, and prevent teams from responding as quickly because of travel restraints and equipment. Because electricity is so vital for most of our heating, lighting, and cooking, winter blackouts can become challenging to endure, as well as cause damage to your home or building if the proper procedures are not taken during and after the outage.

Winter Blackout: How to stay safe

While experiencing a winter blackout, you should take the following precautions to stay safe -

  • Save Energy: If surrounding communities are experiencing outages, you should keep electricity use to a minimum to help power companies avoid rolling blackouts.
  • Turn off lights, computers, appliances, etc. When your power comes back on, the voltage can vary until the system is stabilized. Protect your properties electronics and appliances from a surge or electrical fire.
  • Know where your home's main water shut off valve is located to prevent water damage. If your home is on a city water supply, the shut off valve is typically located close to your water meter, or an exterior access point near the crawl space. In nearly all plumbing emergencies, you will need to shut off the water supply.
  • Keep areas well vented if you are using kerosene heaters, or a wood burning stove/fireplace. Only refuel kerosene heaters outside the home.

Winter Blackout: How to stay safe

When your power returns after a winter blackout, take the following precautions -

  • Before turning on the main electric switch, make sure that appliances and electronics were unplugged to prevent damage from a power surge.
  • Give your system 10-15 minutes to stabilize. Adjust the thermostat first, followed by other appliances, allowing about 10 minutes after turning on each appliance/electronic.
  • Watch out for broken or falling limbs, icicles, and melting snow/ice when assessing your home or property's exterior. Take extra precaution when checking your home or property's pipes, roof, and other areas.
  • Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Melting snow can lead to water damage; once trapped moisture gains entry through an open space or crack, increasing the risk for mold growth.
  • Don't forget to replenish your Emergency Supply kit!

More Info? You can learn more by checking out the AdvantaClean blog for healthy home and business tips!