How to Stay Warm During a Winter Emergency

Making sure you stay warm in the winter is essential, and your home's HVAC system can support this goal. However, winter weather and extreme storms can threaten your family's comfort by causing power outages for more extended periods. You can respond better to unknown situations and snowstorms by developing plans and strategies for staying warm without power.

How Does Winter Weather Affect Your Home and Power?

While you can lose power in any season or weather phenomenon, winter weather poses unique challenges and risks you must consider when preparing for the season. When staying healthy and safe is everyone's top priority, you can better tailor your strategies by understanding how winter conditions impact your home and power, including:

  • Weather conditions: Wind, ice and snow can create various challenges and threats. Powerful winds can knock over trees and branches onto power lines while pushing cold air into your home through cracks. Heavy snowfall can build up on rooftops and become too heavy, threatening to cave in. Further, ice can grow on pipes and cause them to burst. The proper precautions and preparations can decrease the impact of winter weather on your home.
  • Road conditions: Snow and ice create unsafe road conditions in winter. Unsafe or unplowed roads can keep families stuck in their homes without power, but it can also prevent others from coming to help you. Under other conditions, repair services might be able to reach your home or response teams can fix power damage, leaving you without power for longer.
  • Home conditions: When the power goes out, you will lose all heating and electricity. To carry out daily tasks, you will have to find alternative sources of light and heat. You have the most control over your home. How you prepare and stock your house can determine the impact of power outages and winter storms on your family. When winter weather can cause power outages and damages, maintenance like caulking cracks and investing in generators are essential for keeping your home and family safe.

As winter storms become more present on weather forecasts, you can implement strategies to keep your family safe and warm until spring.

How Can You Prepare for Winter Weather Emergencies?

Winter storms can be unpredictable, making it hard for homeowners to judge when snow or ice on the forecast can turn into an emergency. You can keep warm without electricity and throughout winter storms by preparing your home with the right maintenance and resources.

Seal Windows and Doors

Drafts can let cold air in, even on days without winter storms. Drafts and cold air seeping into your home can lower the temperature during power outages, making it harder to stay warm. Even when the power is on, poor insulation and sealants can cause your HVAC system to work harder to maintain the same temperature.

To optimize your heating system and prevent extreme chills when without power, you can caulk your doors and windows. You can identify weak spots in insulation and seals with a candle or incense burner. Carry one around all the windows and doors while watching the flame or smoke. The air will move it, showing you which entryways need sealing. Locating these spots early can help keep the heat in and the cold out during a power outage.

For comprehensive care, consider buying insulating curtains or blinds. When you put up these materials, they can work against drafty windows, helping keep your home warmer during the winter, especially when winter storms cause you to lose power. Draft guards can assist leaky doors, so purchasing these before winter storms can boost your home's warmth.

Create Winter Storm Kits for Each Family Member

Power outages and winter storms create unique circumstances requiring materials you might not usually have. Young children especially can get scared without sources of light. You can act quicker after losing power by assembling winter storm kits for each family member with everything they will need for the storm. In your kit, include the following:

  • Flashlights with spare batteries
  • Hats
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Socks and boots
  • Jackets, sweatshirts or vests
  • Cards or board games

Having these materials ready can ensure your family members can quickly move to the warmest part of the house and keep themselves safe while without power. Packing the right materials is essential. Wool and thicker clothing fabrics can better insulate the body, keeping you warm with less. You should also stick to loose, bulky clothes because they keep you warm better than tight clothes.

Having the right resources are essential when extreme colds can risk hypothermia and other damage to your extremities. You can also consider adding individual hand warmers to your packets. These are single-use, making them easy to store and add to packs. However, these items can get very hot. Most directions recommend not putting them directly on the skin but instead over gloves or socks.

Ensure You Have Plenty of Blankets and Supplies

Staying warm in the cold requires suitable materials in addition to proper clothing and layering. If you need to go long periods without power, you can get more comfortable and warm with blankets and other supplies. Sleeping bags can further insulate body heat in extreme colds and provide safe spaces to rest if the power outage extends into the night. Before winter storms hit, you can prepare your home by stocking up on thick, insulating blankets and sleeping materials.

Stock Non-Perishable Foods and Water

Long periods without power may prevent you from using the stove, microwave, oven and other cooking essentials, making you unable to cook. Instead, you can stock up on non-perishable items, like:

  • Bread
  • Granola or protein bars
  • Cereals
  • Dried fruit
  • Jerky
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Crackers

Instant meals and beverages like coffee, soup and mashed potatoes can be great options when you want something with more substance or energy, but you will have to be okay with eating them cold or at room temperature. While shopping for winter weather, consider getting packaged water as well. Water jugs and bottles can save families from dehydration when power outages stop pumps from working. Further, areas with water filters can ensure drinking water is safe with prepackaged options.

Invest in a Generator and Fuel

When you want to maintain power after losing it, you need a generator. Setting up a generator before you lose power can automatically allocate energy to essential parts of your home, like the HVAC units and kitchen amenities.

Depending on the model and type you choose, you can have more comprehensive power during the outage. Portable options can provide enough power for basic functions, like adding light and charging devices. Central generators can power your entire home, optimizing comfort and functionality for every family member. Depending on your area's weather patterns and your family's needs, you can power your home to your desired level.

You can also prepare your home for winter weather by ensuring you have enough fuel to last the season. If your heater uses propane or wood pellets, you can keep your home warm during the winter by ensuring it can continue to produce quality heat. Running out of fuel during a storm might leave you without heat until the road conditions clear.

You can also consider getting portable heaters. These options can bring more heat to smaller spaces and individual rooms, like bedrooms or living rooms. As the temperatures drop, you can stay comfortable and counteract the cold with more heaters that concentrate warmth.

How Can You Stay Warm During Power Outages?

While preparation can help ensure you have the resources and equipment you need during the winter, once the power goes out, you will need to implement the right strategies to keep your family healthy and safe. Cold weather can lower your internal body temperature and damage your extremities. Knowing how to stay warm when the power goes out can keep you safe from hypothermia and frostbite until the heat can return.

Dress in Warm Layers

While having the right clothes ready is important, you should know what to wear to keep yourself warm when you don't have heat. To prevent frostbite, you will want to protect your extremities:

  • Hands: Because your fingers are farther from your chest, they get cold easier. Mittens are great because they are looser and allow your fingers to share body heat. If your fingers get too cold in mittens, you can layer them with gloves underneath to keep them more insulated.
  • Feet: Like your hands, your feet also need extra protection. Thick wool socks are great ways to keep your feet warm when without heat. Boots can keep them further safe from cold and protect them from any moisture.
  • Ears: Body heat can escape through your ears and their vulnerability to frostbite makes them essential protection when without power. Choose something that keeps your ears close to your head and covered. Many people opt for hats because they thoroughly insulate the entire head. However, you can also use ear muffs and headbands if they provide enough coverage.

These layers are essential for staying warm when power outages leave you without heat. Paired with warm clothes on your limbs and chest, you can support your natural body heat and stay healthy and safe until the power comes back.

Huddle Together

Because each person produces body heat, staying together can help you optimize warmth when without power. Stay close together or consider sharing blankets. This system can also create a cozy atmosphere where everyone can play games, tell stories and stay entertained until the power returns.

Eat More Calories

Your body uses food to produce energy, which it can turn into heat to keep you warm in the cold. Eating enough food can help your body better regulate its temperature when trying to boost your warmth without power. As the temperatures drop, consider opening up some snacks and sharing them with your family to help keep them warm and healthy.

How Can You Heat Your House When the Power Goes Out?

Boosting your body heat can keep you warm while the temperatures drop, but you can stay safe and healthy by increasing the heat in your home. When determining how to stay warm in a house without heat, you can implement these strategies to maintain warmth inside your home and prevent cold air from getting in.

Partition Off Your Home

In addition to increasing body warmth, staying in one space can also help trap the heat in one area. You can use temporary insulation to prevent heat from leaking and to keep the cold from getting in. Every time you open a door, the heat will leave and the cold will get in. Limiting your movement can keep your living spaces more insulated.

When you lose power, decide where you want to gather. Central locations are better, allowing you to access more resources and materials without opening other doors. Close the doors to other rooms. While this can keep your main rooms warmer, it also helps trap heat into the others, making them comfortable if people need to use them.

If you need to go outside, consider moving through another room, like a laundry room or garage. These spaces can keep the cold trapped, so it doesn't get in your house and get it colder.

Block Drafts

Even if you take the right precautions and caulk your leaky windows and doors, cold air can still get in. You can block cold air from creeping under doorways by stuffing the gap with unused towels or blankets. Additionally, you can hang blankets and towels over doorways and windows to prevent air from getting in through any gaps there.

Light a Fire

If you have a fireplace, you can use this option to generate more heat safely in your home. Fires can significantly raise temperatures, especially in concentrated areas like living rooms. Further, they are easy to maintain. With the right amount of wood, you can keep your family safe and warm throughout the duration of the worst winter weather. Many families even choose to have fires when they have power because of the coziness and powerful results they provide.

Fires can also open more opportunities to families without power. They can offer enough light that your family members can safely navigate spaces, allowing you to save battery power on flashlights for critical situations. Avid campers also know the benefits of cooking over a fire. You can go with classic s'mores for the kids, or consider wrapping hotdogs in foil for something easy and filling for dinner.

Upgrade Your HVAC System With Ingram's Water & Air Equipment

When trying to stay warm during a winter storm, you need quality HVAC systems. Good heaters will work efficiently to warm all spaces in your home effectively. Ingram's Water & Air Equipment offers a wide selection of heaters and HVAC equipment to connect your family with the right system for your needs.

Effective heaters can even keep spaces warm after the power goes out. When heaters function at their best, the rooms in your house will stay warm for longer after you lose power. You can pair high-quality heaters with insulation techniques to keep your family comfortable and safe until power returns. With many generator options, you can expand how your family enjoys the winter weather with Ingram's Water & Air Equipment.

1 comment (view/add)
  • April
    Posted on 1/26/2023

    This is so informative and something everyone should know in case of emergencies. Thank you!

* All fields required.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by our moderators. Comments may be edited for clarity.