7 tips to help you prepare for cold weather power outages

Kateryna Dutik

7 tips to help you prepare for cold weather power outages

In Ukraine, power outages can happen at any time amid shelling of critical infrastructure, the continuation of a full-scale war and generally bad weather. This is certainly unpleasant, but it is worth being prepared for such a scenario.

Experts in the commentary Best Life gave some tips on how to survive the fall and winter without light. In particular, learn what to keep on hand and how to protect your home when the power goes out.

Read also: Seven important tips on how to prepare your home for winter to stay warm

1- Be prepared to store perishables in the cold.

Quickly store food in the refrigerator and freezer so it doesn't stay cold if the lights go out. You can keep food in the refrigerator for 4 hours and in the freezer for 48 hours. Ideally, you just leave the fridge and freezer door closed so that the food can stay chilled for as long as possible. After that, one option is to take the food outside, weather permitting.

2. Cooking options

In terms of cooking, if you have a gas stove, you can use it for cooking. Make sure you have matches or a lighter.

You can also use camping gas cans for cooking, but be sure to follow all safety instructions.

And of course, on the eve of a power outage, it's always a good idea to stock up on a variety of non-perishable foods.

3. Make sure your backup lighting is ready to go.

Especially after dark, a replacement light source is often the first thing we look for to be able to assess and resolve the situation. Remember to keep battery-operated flashlights and candles on hand and use them instead of your phone whenever possible to conserve your phone's battery life.

Experts suggest having a retractable LED camping lantern on hand. They are lightweight and are great for illuminating a room.

4. Stock up on batteries and battery packs.

When anticipating a power outage, make sure you have enough batteries for devices that will need them, but store them separately. Install them only when needed.

Portable charging stations or charging batteries that are ready to go can be a lifesaver for phones and small devices, and a dedicated backup power station can keep your Wi-Fi running smoothly.

5. Save your pipes

"If the power is out for an extended period of time and the temperature drops below freezing, your pipes can freeze and burst," noted Matt Hagens, carpenter and founder of Obsessed Woodworking.

To prevent this from happening, he said, make sure your pipes are properly insulated. You can use pipe couplings or wrap pipes with duct tape to keep them warm.

"If you find yourself in a situation where you don't have a backup power source (or a heating source that doesn't rely on electricity), your best course of action is to empty all the pipes in your home to prevent water leaks and freezing inside," the expert added.

Read also: How to efficiently heat an apartment without batteries and keep warm at home

6. Know how to keep warm.

Warmth at home can be a major concern. Experts suggest wearing layered clothes, using blankets and sleeping bags to keep warm.

If you have one, you can also use a fireplace or wood stove, but be sure to follow safety rules. If you have a backup generator, space heaters are also great.

7. Generator.

Having a generator in case the lights go out is a great option, but it's important to install it properly so that the carbon monoxide released doesn't hurt anyone. For apartments, such a thing is not recommended, but in a private home it will become indispensable.

In addition, there are home standby generators connected to the home electrical system, running on fuel that is available in your home. These types of generators start automatically during a power outage and will power a much larger number of appliances.

For both of these options, you need to have enough fuel on hand that is safely stored to power the generator. Make sure the unit is regularly inspected and maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

And be sure to follow all safety precautions: for example, never attempt to run a gas generator indoors.

Recall that many people tend to wash clothes at low temperatures to save water and electricity. However, experts warn that this can be harmful to health.

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