SAN ANGELO, Texas — Texas is not a stranger to cold weather and with an Arctic Freeze already on most Texan’s doorsteps, it’s important to prepare for the possibility of winter power outages.
In the wake of the arctic weather, state leaders sought to reassure Texans about the stability of the power grid addressing the fears that the bitter temperatures will lead to a repeat of the winter storm of 2021. According to The Provident Prepper, here are six lifesaving tips to keep warm during a winter power outage.
1: Secure Your Home to Prevent Heat Loss
It is vital to keep the cold outside and the heat inside your home, making this the top priority to keep as much of the remaining heat as possible. Start by blocking all cold air entry points such as:
- Gaps around doors and windows
- Kitchen exhaust fan
- Dryer vent
- External wall outlets and switches
- Fireplace flue damper
- Furnace or water heater vents and cold air returns
- Any other place that allows cold air in or heat to escape
Ways this can be done is by using rolled-up towels/sheets/blankets/clothing and stuffing under doorways and painter’s tape for smaller cracks (duct tape is not recommended since it can damage the paint).
Windows lose the most heat according to The Provident Prepper. It is suggested to keep all curtains/blinds closed and sealing over them by taping plastic sheeting over the window, cutting cardboard to place next to the window, or even draping an extra blanket over the top of the curtain rod.
2: Create Microclimates
In order to create microclimates, the air in these spaces needs to be warmer than that in the surrounding areas. One way to do this is by setting up a tent inside the house with blankets over the top and inside to keep you warm. A makeshift tent can be created by placing blankets over the top of a table with couch cushions for added insulation.
After creating a microclimate, confine all activities to one area of the home preferably one with the most benefits such as heat sources (fireplace, south-facing window, lower floor) or food.
It is important to remember if using an alternative heat source to regularly check carbon monoxide levels and leave the area if anyone feels an increasing headache or is sick.
3: Dress Appropriately to Stay Warm
This one seems obvious, however, it can be difficult to dress to stay warm indoors. The goal is to be comfortably warm, but not sweat. Sweating is meant to cool off the body and will wick heat away from your body.
The best way to accomplish this is by dressing in layers that can easily be removed or added on which can be simple if you remember these basics:
- Base layer – This layer is meant to wick moisture away from your body. Synthetic fabrics tend to work the best for the layer right next to your skin.
- Mid-layer – The middle layer is designed to keep you warm to retain your body heat. This layer could consist of a wool sweater, a flannel shirt, or perhaps a hoodie.
- Outer layer – The outside layer is intended to protect you from the elements but since you are inside this layer can help provide a little bit of extra warmth and can easily be removed.
- Protect your head and extremities – Heat escapes through the top of the head, feet, and hands so it’s important to cover these areas as well as prevent frostbite of the fingers, toes, and tops of the ears.
4: Drink Water and Don’t Forget To Eat
It is preferable to drink warm liquids and eat hot foods but without electricity, it can be hard to achieve this. Hydration is critically important in preventing hypothermia and frostbite and your body needs calories to create heat.
5: Get Up and Move Around
It’s important to move around to create heat and prevent stiffness.
6: Explore Potential Heat Source Options
- Visit a Friend or Neighbor – More people can keep a space warmer for longer and combining resources will help it to last longer.
- People Warmers – Keeping warm under a blanket with another person(s) can do a lot for retaining warmth.
- Pet Warmers – The same applies to your pets who will also need additional warmth.
- Warm Objects – High-density objects such as water, concrete, brick, and tile can be used as thermal mass. They can store heat and slowly release it.
- Hot Water Bottle Warmers – Water can do a surprisingly good job of retaining heat.
- Dry Rock or Brick Warmer – You can place a rock or brick near a heat source, and it will retain the heat long after the heater has been turned off. Make sure the rock is COMPLETELY dry or it could explode.
- Hand, Foot, and Body Warmer
A reminder that safety is the top priority. It is better to be cold than to burn down your home or die from carbon monoxide poisoning. For live updates on the current weather in the Concho Valley, follow the link below.