Sometimes a bad snow storm hits your area and puts the power out. This can be problematic especially if you heavily rely on your HVAC or furnace to keep your home warm and comfortable. This is why it’s important to anticipate such emergencies; you can never be too prepared if it means keeping your home safe and warm even during the coldest days of winter.
If you’re wondering how you can better prepare yourself for the worst of the winter season, our HVAC maintenance and replacement experts at Cardinal Heating & Air have shared below what you need to do:
What to Do/Prepare Before the Storm
- Check Your Windows and Doors – When the snow storm hits and the power goes out, you’ll want your home to be as airtight as possible to prevent heat from escaping. Make sure that your windows and doors are in good condition to ensure that you won’t have any air leaks around them.
- Get a Generator – As a trusted heating and thermostat company, we understand how your HVAC and furnace is crucial in keeping your home warm and cozy throughout the winter season. To ensure you can still get proper heating even during the power outage, get at least a dual fuel generator. A dual fuel generator can use two different types of fuel at the same time and switching between them is typically done automatically depending on which fuel is most efficient at the time.
- Get a Propane Heater – Aside from getting a generator, invest in a propane heater. They’re actually safe to use indoors, and they can come in handy while the power’s out. Make sure to test it out as well!
- Keep Emergency Numbers Within Reach – Aside from the usual numbers for emergency services, make sure to keep the number of your trusted home improvement company as well as your air conditioning and heating service company within reach. This will definitely come in handy later when problems arise in your system during the winter storm.
- Restock on Firewood and Water – If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, restock enough firewood to wait out the entirety of the storm and the power outage that might come with it. Stock up on drinking water as well, and don’t forget to fill up your bathtubs and sinks.
If you were already given a warning that a storm will hit your area and that there’s a high chance that the power will go out, set your HVAC or furnace at a higher temperature in your home. The higher the temperature, the longer it will take for it to cool down. Include other rooms and unused spaces to create more thermal mass.
During the Storm
When the winter storm starts to hit, your priority is to eliminate as much heat loss as you can. Only then can you maintain and add more heat safely. Here’s what you need to do:
- Keep Your Exterior Doors and Windows Shut – This isn’t usually a thought when your heat pump is working yet a blast of cold air easily drops the temperature from five to 10 degrees with no easy way to get that heat back. This is why professional heating and thermostat experts recommend that your doors and windows must be shut tightly as soon as the storm hits.
However, if you have to go outside, go through a porch or garage or other area that can act as an airlock to prevent colder air and wind from entering the home. You can even use the open area of your home as a portal and keep a room closed for sleeping and living until the power comes back on.
- Block Drafts – To ensure you don’t have any drafts inside your home, place a rolled-up towel at the base of each exterior door or drafty window to keep the heat in and the cold out. We suggest hanging blankets over windows and doorways as well to block out more cold. Also make sure to close your blinds and curtains to help insulate your windows and reduce heat loss.
After doing all this, it might be better to go to your basement and wait out the storm there. While basements are colder under normal situations, they can actually be warmer because of the insulating quality you get from the ground. Remember, 45 degrees ground temperature is a lot better than 20 below zero air temperature, especially during a snowstorm.
Conserving Heat During a Power Outage
When you’re facing an extended power outage, consider living and sleeping in a single room to help conserve heat. Make sure to select a room that’s far away from the prevailing winds. It’s an even better choice to choose a room that usually stays warmer than the rest of your home, such as the fireplace in your living room.
Most professional HVAC maintenance technicians would also suggest hanging blankets over the doors and windows, as these will act as an insulating layer that will keep the room warm. You can even use duct tape to properly seal the blankets over the windows. If you have bubble wrap, Styrofoam sheets or fiberglass insulation lying around, you can use them to cover your windows as well.
Add More Heat Safely
As soon as you’re able to eliminate heat loss, you can now safely add heat to your home. This is where your wood stoves or fireplaces can be useful, even during a power outage. If you have either one, fire it up and keep it burning. If you’re aiming to conserve firewood, you can burn at regular intervals and let it get cold in between. If you already prepared an indoor propane heater, now’s the time to use it.
If you’re planning to use an open flame, use it with caution. Don’t burn anything larger than a candle inside your home, because then you’ll need to provide proper ventilation which means opening a window and letting the cold air in. Also keep a fire extinguisher nearby, as carbon monoxide from the fire can be deadly, so pay good attention to your kids and pets when you have an open flame.
If you’re looking for a trusted air conditioning and heating service expert, be sure to call Cardinal Heating & Air. With our services, you can be confident that your HVAC installation will be done professionally and efficiently. To get started, you can reach us at (425) 827-9997 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.