Household Storm Hacks You Probably Didn't Think About
HOUSEHOLD STORM HACKS
Entering storm season is a yearly anxiety-inducing occurrence in the U.S., but even still, people regularly find themselves unprepared. Writing down a few good household storm hacks can mean the difference between having safe drinking water and not. If you suddenly find yourself in the path of a storm and stores are out of essential supplies for riding it out, knowing a few good household storm hacks can make a terrible situation a little better.
HOUSEHOLD STORM HACKS FOR SAFE WATER
If you're late jumping on the storm preparation band-wagon, you could find that all the grocery stores near you are out of bottled water. If this is the case, here are couple household storm hacks for safe water.
- Ziploc bags. If the grocery stores are out of bottled water, they probably aren't out of gallon Ziploc bags. Buy a box and fill each bag ¾ full of tap water. Place them standing upright inside your freezer. Even if you lose power, you will have drinkable water at your fingertips. The National Hurricane Center recommends stockpiling one gallon of water per person/animal per day, for a minimum of three days.
- Bathtub. Fill the bathtubs in your home with water, which can be used for flushing toilets and cleaning. Try using a silicone pot cover to seal the drain. The National Weather Service recommends buying bags to line the tub if you're planning to use it for drinking water.
- Water filter. If you're in a pinch, you can engineer a simple filter to remove dirt from water. Fill a glass with the dirty water and twist a cotton cloth or paper towel into a rope. Insert one end into the glass of dirty water, and the other into an empty glass. Capillary action naturally draws the water through the rope and into the clean glass. Please note that this only filters dirt, not microbes. The water still needs to be boiled before it is safe for drinking.
HOUSEHOLD STORM HACKS FOR THE FRIDGE
If you lose power, your fridge becomes useless, and you risk losing everything inside. These next household storm hacks are just the thing you need to protect the fridge.
- Quarter on a mug of water. If you're evacuating from your home because of a storm, this simple household storm hack will tell you if your food is spoiled when you come back. The day before you evacuate, fill a mug full of water and place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, put a quarter on top of the frozen water and return to the freezer. If you come home and the quarter is now at the bottom of the mug, you know you lost power, and the food in the fridge is spoiled. If you find the quarter in the middle of the mug of water, you lost power, but it was briefly, and some of your food may be salvageable. If the quarter is still on top of the water, your food is fine.
- Washing machine cooler. If you have food and drinks, or even medicine from the fridge that need to stay cold if you lose power, fill your washing machine with ice. It will keep the ice and items cold just like a cooler you take to the beach. You don't even have to worry about what to do with the ice after the storm, or if it melts because washing machines are designed to drain water.
HOUSEHOLD STORM HACKS FOR LIGHT
No one likes sitting in the dark, especially during a storm, so knowing these next few household storm hacks will keep you in the light.
- Crayon candle. Crayons are just colored wax wrapped in paper, so any crayon can be turned into a nifty little candle. Start by burning the wax of the crayon down to the paper wrapping. The paper will catch fire at this point and give off a short-lived 4-inch flame. Please note, this will make a colorful mess.
- Orange lamp. For a longer lived light source, cut an orange around it's middle without cutting the meat of the fruit. Pull off the peel half with the stem, and use the half as a bowl to hold olive oil. Light the stem and you've got hours of light.
- Water jug lantern. If you're not a regular camper, you probably don't already own a lantern, and your local stores will sell out fast. A clear milk or water jug full of water turns into a lantern when you balance a flashlight on top of its mouth. A small water bottle will do the same thing.
HOUSEHOLD STORM HACKS FOR VALUABLES
They're called valuables for a reason, so saving them from the damaging effects of water is what these last two household storm hacks are all about.
- Aluminum dishpans. This household storm hack works if you're only dealing with a couple inches of water, but even a couple inches can cause lasting damage to your furniture. Place an aluminum dishpan under each leg of your furniture to protect them from any water intrusion your home has.
- Dishwasher. Dishwashers are designed to hold water in during the washing cycle, so it stands to reason they will keep water out just as well. Double wrap valuables in plastic bags and place them in an empty dishwasher to stay safe during the storm. Make sure you remove any dishes inside, and you turn off the dishwasher's water supply.