If you’ve ever endured a prolonged power outage in the dead of winter, you don’t need anyone to convince you how important it is to be ready in case a winter storm hits. No power means no heat, and if heavy snow, blizzard conditions and icy roads are part of the mix, getting out of the house might not be an option for a few days. Here are five things you can do to prepare for severe winter weather.
1. Back up your power
The first priority, of course, is the health and safety of your family. If you lose power, do you have a plan for keeping your family safe and warm? If you don’t already have one, purchasing a reliable generator should be the first thing on your list.
There are two main types of generators for winter storm preparation: portable generators and home standby generators.
A portable generator is great if you only want to back up a few essentials. Portable generators come in different sizes, they run on either gasoline or propane, and they don’t need to be installed.
If you’d like to power more than just the essentials, or even your whole home, you may want to have a standby generator installed. Standbys never need refueling since they’re connected to your propane or natural gas system. Your home standby generator starts automatically when the power goes out and returns to standby when power is restored, ensuring warmth and safety for your family during a winter storm power outage.
2. Prepare your home
To prevent expensive damage from burst water pipes, consider insulating pipes in exposed areas and when the temperature drops, remember to let water drip from faucets served by uninsulated outdoor pipes. Keep the warmth in and the cold out by installing storm windows or insulating your windows from the inside with plastic. Also, check around your doors for air leaks and add weatherstripping where needed. Trim any tree branches that could be a danger to your home if they fell, and make sure your roof and shingles are in top condition so they can withstand heavy snow and strong winds.
3. Stock up on supplies
If you live in an area where ice storms frequently cause power outages, make sure you have a first aid kit, medications, a portable phone charger, batteries, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio, as well as a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food for your family and your pets. It’s also smart to keep your gas tank full and have extra propane or gasoline on hand to fuel your portable generator.
4. Secure and protect outdoor items
Store or cover outdoor items that could be damaged during a winter storm. No matter how bad the weather is outside, it’s never an option to run your portable generator or inverter inside. The best way to protect your investment is with a Champion Storm Shield generator cover. You can run your generator with confidence in severe weather, since the cover withstands winds up to 70 mph, snow loads up to 18 inches and rain up to 12 inches a day.
5. Purchase a snow blower
Unless your idea of fun is removing waist-high snow from your driveway with a shovel, you might consider purchasing a snow blower. A snow blower can help you clear your driveway after a snow storm in record time, and it could be a lifesaver if you need to leave your home during an emergency. If you already own one, get it serviced each fall so it will be ready to go when you need it.
If you’ve been putting any of these items on the back burner, get prepared now and you and your family will be able to face the unknowns of winter weather with confidence.