Each year, thousands of U.S. households lose power during winter storms. Although Mississippi winters are not usually severe, knowing what precautions to take and how to save energy in a worst-case scenario ahead of time is always a good idea. The biggest threat from these outages is the lack of heat, but there are several ways to stay safe and warm until power is restored. Ball Heating and Air Conditioning has been serving Biloxi, Gulfport and Gautier, Mississippi residents with top-quality heater maintenance, replacement, and repair during times of need, 24/7.
If, however, your heater stops working due to a power outage instead of a breakdown, we are still here for you! Keep reading for some tips to know what to avoid and how to stay warm in your home, even without access to electricity..
Buy a Generator
Sales for portable and recreational generators usually spike during weather emergencies, but it’s always worth trying to get one if you have lost power and don’t already have one. Recreational generators are great to use indoors and to recharge your cell phone, power space heaters and small appliances.
If you’re lucky to get your hands on a portable generator during an emergency, never run it indoors or in an enclosed space (like your garage). You should also be sure to direct its fumes away from your home, keep it dry and running at least twenty feet away from any of your home’s windows, doors and vents.
Insulate Your Home
One way to keep as much heat inside your home as possible, and as much cold air out as possible, is to insulate your home in the following areas:
The best way to ensure all windows are completely sealed is if they’re locked. Set up heavy curtains, storm windows or clear, thick shower curtains (to let in warm sunlight) if you have them. Otherwise, use towels, clothes, caulk, duct tape and thick plastic to seal windy cracks.
If you don’t have weatherstrips or door sweeps, use towels, clothing and spare blankets to seal the gap at the bottom of your door. You can also thumbtack thick blankets over doors and doorless doorways, if you have extras you aren’t using to bundle up with.
Choose a small, southern-facing room to occupy, or whichever room is typically the warmest in the house. Keeping everyone in the same room will raise the temperature, but the key to controlling where heat accumulates is closing off unused rooms. Using the above directions, seal those rooms. This will create as many insulated barriers between you and the cold outdoor air as possible.
Hard flooring is especially cold, so lay down rugs, carpets or blankets. If your feet can feel a cold sensation when touching the floor, lay down anything you can spare to insulate it.
Attic or Crawlspaces
If you have the necessary time and supplies available, seal and insulated these similarly to the rest of the house.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but the most efficient way to generate heat without electricity is with fire. If your home is furnished with any of these items, fire them up! Just be sure you have adequate oxygen access and ventilation for any smoke produced, and follow all safety directions.
- Fireplace: If you have a gas fireplace, the starter and controls will not work without electricity, but you should be able to light it using a match.
- Propane/Kerosene space heater: These should only be used in an emergency. Keep them away from children, pets and flammable material, near a cracked window to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and never leave them unattended.
- Wood-burning stove
Adding as many layers of cloth to your body is a great way to stay warm during a winter blackout. Start with thinner base layers – like a t-shirt, tights and long socks – then add layers onto those as much as possible. On top of your t-shirt, add a long-sleeve shirt, a sweater and a bathrobe, if you have one.
Using scarves, beanies, jackets, gloves, blankets and sleeping bags can also keep you warm until you have electricity in your home again.
The idea of laying under as many blankets as possible during a winter outage is appealing, but moving around is a good way to keep warm and generate body heat. Some ways to stay active while waiting for your electricity to come back are:
- Play games that will keep your mind busy and involve movement – like Charades or Pictionary.
- Exercising for ten to twenty minutes will warm you up and keep you warm for a while afterward. But sweating contributes to hypothermia, so don’t get carried away.
- Walking around sounds simple but will improve blood circulation, which is key to warming your body – your fingers and toes will thank you!
If your heater still is not working when your home has electricity again, contact us right away. Serving Biloxi and the surrounding areas with expert heating services, Ball Heating and Air is available 24/7 to ensure your home is safe and warm when a cold front hits.
Give us a call!