What Should I Do If My Power Goes Out This Winter?

If you live in the Twin Cities, you’re probably already good at preparing for our intense winters. You have snow tires, windshield scrapers, shovels, sidewalk salt, insulated gloves, canned food, extra water–the works. What you may not have, however, is a plan for what to do if your power goes out this winter. 

Unfortunately, power outages are a real threat worth preparing for, even in the heart of the Twin Cities. Extremely cold weather can and does cause power outages. If your power happens to go out this winter, it’s very important to have a safety plan in place. Think of it as part of your standard winter prep. We can help. Here’s everything you should do if you lose power during a cold winter:

Take preventative measures. 

Power outages are always inconvenient and frustrating, but if you don’t prepare for them before they happen, they can be dangerous, too. Every winter, you should conduct each of the emergency preventative procedures. Make sure you have all of these supplies on hand and you’ve made each of these updates or adjustments. At least this way if the worst happens, you’ll be ready for it! 

  • Invest in a portable space heater. If your power ever goes out, your heat could go out, too. It’s always a good idea to keep a solar-powered heater on hand just in case you can’t heat your home.
  • Make sure your battery-powered necessities are working. Testing them when the cold season starts is a good idea. Of course, if you didn’t get a chance then you should check them now! Make sure your flashlights, portable radios, and small heaters all work. It’s also a good idea to have a backup battery stash just in case. 
  • Don’t fall behind on maintaining your insulation. Weatherstripping and caulk wear down over time. Keep them regularly updated and cared for.
  • Know how to shut off your water main. If your pipes get extremely cold, they’re more at risk of bursting. If that happens, you’ll want to know exactly where to go to turn off your home’s water

Have Communication, Transporation, and Information Options 

As soon as you lose power, you should look for communication from your provider. Keep your laptops, cell phones, and other communication devices charged at all times so you can use them even after you lose power. Consider investing in a wi-fi hotspot so you can access the internet temporarily even if your router goes down. Keep a battery-powered radio on hand to hear updates on power outages, as well.

In case you don’t have a means of receiving communication at home, make sure you have a means of safely leaving your home. Keep your car’s gas tank full all winter, and consider storing some extra gas on-hand just in case. Have a plan for what to do if you can’t get power back in an hour, a day, or a week. You should never have to enact these plans (unless something drastic happens), but it never hurts to be prepared.

Mitigate additional damage.

Winter power outages aren’t only a problem while they’re happening. They can also cause problems even after the power comes back on. Prevent power outages for making lasting problems for you by: 

  • Unplug as many electronics as you’re able. Power surges are a definite risk after an outage. Let things connect to your electrical system one at a time so it doesn’t become overloaded. Start with your heating system, appliances, and then everything else as needed. 
  • Throw out any food that may have gone bad without power. If the power has been out for multiple days, you should be fine as long as you didn’t open the door to much. If the outage has lasted much longer than that, however, you’ll likely need to dispose of most of the contents.

Sometimes your power goes out for reasons you can’t control like cold weather. Sometimes, though, there are things you can do to prevent such things from happening. To make sure your home is best prepared for any type of weather, give Early Bird Electric a call. We can inspect your home and make sure all of your wiring and fixtures are operating properly.