Adventures in Home Owning: Weathering the Winter Storm
As we continue to push through the darkest days of the year, the likelihood of winter storm weather increases exponentially. February brings with it biting cold, strong winds, heavy snows, and, if we’re unlucky, potentially devastating sheets of slick ice. No matter what Mother Nature throws at you this winter, you can be sure that any of it—cold, wind, snow, or ice—will make its best attempt at damaging your home’s ability to keep you safe.
Perhaps the most devastating result of these winter storms are power outages due to fallen trees and broken branches. Without power, your home loses its ability to heat, to prepare food, run water, and to provide light, which can make weathering out a few days of cold and dark weather very difficult. When word of a winter storm coming your way reaches you, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself if you don’t already have a stockpile of emergency equipment. Ample stores of batteries and flashlights will allow you to see as you walk both indoors and outdoors. Larger LED lamps can provide hands-free lighting for activities that require both your hands, or for setting up a social space in a darkened house. Candles and oil lamps can also serve as a means of creating some light within rooms and generating a little extra heat. With the potential for no running water, storing and accessing clean water is a must. Filling up a bathtub with water before the storm provides you with a source of water for washing, cleaning, and flushing the toilet. Gallon jugs or packages of water bottles will also come in handy for fresh drinking water. Unless you have a means of preparing food with gas, it’s a good idea to have simple and easy foods that can be eaten without too much effort. Non-perishable foods such as canned fruits and vegetables, soups, crackers, cereals, and peanut butter will all weather a storm. Other foods such as apples, bread, and almond or soy milk, although not good forever, should stay long enough to see you to the good weather on the other side. In terms of keeping warm, blankets and warm layers of clothing are your best defense as the temperatures drop outside and inside of the house. Be sure to close off the doors to extra rooms to help consolidate the heat in areas of the home where you will be most active.
If you have the ability to run power to your home via a generator, make sure the generator is only operated away from the house and out under the open air. Backed-up generator fumes can cause carbon monoxide poisoning inside your enclosed home. If you choose to heat by fireplace that will resolve this particular issue, but take care to ensure that you have enough clean, dry wood already stacked within the home to make it through the storm. Armed with these tools you’ll be fit to tackle the fiercest of winter storms and thaw to tell the tale.
Until next time, homeowner!