SAN ANGELO, Texas — Texas is no stranger to cold weather, and with an arctic freeze already on the doorstep of most Texans, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of winter power outages.
In the wake of the Arctic weather, heads of state have sought to reassure Texans about the stability of the power grid, fearing bitter temperatures could lead to a repeat of 2021’s winter storm. According to The Provident Prepper, here are six rescues tips for staying warm during a winter power outage.
1: Secure your home to prevent heat loss
Keeping the cold out and the heat in your home is essential, making it the top priority to retain as much of the remaining heat as possible. Start by blocking all cold air entry points such as:
- Spaces around doors and windows
- Kitchen exhaust fan
- dryer vent
- Wall sockets and external switches
- Chimney flue damper
- Furnace or water heater vents and cold air returns
- Any other place that allows cold air to enter or heat to escape
This can be done using rolled up towels/sheets/blankets/clothes and padding under doors and duct tape for small cracks (duct tape is not recommended as it can damage the paint).
Windows lose the most heat according to The Provident Prepper. It is suggested that you keep all curtains/blinds closed and sealed by taping a plastic sheet over the window, cutting some cardboard to place next to the window or even draping an extra blanket over the top of the rod to curtain.
2: Create microclimates
In order to create microclimates, the air in these spaces must be warmer than that in the surrounding areas. One way to do this is to set up a tent inside the house with blankets on top and inside to keep you warm. A makeshift tent can be created by placing blankets on top of a table with couch cushions for extra insulation.
After creating a microclimate, confine all activities to an area of the house preferably the one that has the most advantages such as heat sources (fireplace, south-facing window, lower floor) or food.
It is important to remember if you are using another heat source to check carbon monoxide levels regularly and leave the area if anyone experiences a growing 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 to sweat. Sweating is meant to cool the body and draw heat away from your body.
The best way to do this is to dress in layers that can easily be taken off 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 best for layering right next to your skin.
- Middle layer – The middle layer is designed to keep you warm in order to retain your body heat. This layer can consist of a wool sweater, a flannel shirt or perhaps a hoodie.
- outer layer – The outer layer is meant to protect you from the elements, but since you’re inside, this layer can help provide some extra warmth and can be easily removed.
- Protect your head and extremities – Heat escapes through the top of the head, feet and hands, so it is important to cover these areas and prevent frostbite of the fingers, toes and tops of the ears.
4: Drink water and don’t forget to eat
It is best to drink hot liquids and eat hot food but without electricity this can be difficult to achieve. Hydration is critically important to prevent hypothermia and frostbite, and your body needs calories to create heat.
5: Get up and move
It is important to move around to create warmth and avoid stiffness.
6: Explore potential heat source options
- Visit a Friend or Neighbor – More people can keep a space warmer longer and the combination of resources will help it last longer.
- Heaters – Keeping warm under a blanket with one or more other people can go a long way in retaining heat.
- Pet Warmers – The same goes for your pets who will also need extra warmth.
- Hot Objects – High density objects such as water, concrete, brick and tile can be used as thermal mass. They can store heat and release it slowly.
- Hot Water Bottle Warmers – Water can do a surprisingly good job of retaining heat.
- Dry Stone or Brick Heater – You can place a stone or brick near a heat source, and it will retain heat long after the heater has been turned off. Make sure the rock is COMPLETELY dry or it could explode.
- Hand, foot and body warmers
A reminder that safety is the top priority. Better to be cold than to burn down your house or die of carbon monoxide poisoning. For live updates on the current weather in the Concho Valley, follow the link below.