Winterizing your home before the bitter chill
Is your home and its electrical service ready for winter? The best time to find out is long before you hear about the season’s first approaching winter storm.
Taking a little time to prepare your home for colder weather has many benefits. You’ll be more comfortable when those icy winds blow. And, even more important, you’ll have the confidence that your house will keep you safe on the chilliest nights.
SCI REMC recommends several simple steps to winterize your home:
- Winterize electrical outlets on outside walls with insulating covers by carefully selecting outlet kits made to fit. Turn off power to each outlet and check for loose wires or connections that could cause shocks or electrocution. If an outlet wiggles or seems to have loose wires, have a qualified electrician repair it.
- Check space heater cords for signs of wear or overheating and make sure the plug fits securely in the outlet.
- Never run cords under carpeting or rugs. Cords can be damaged when people step on them and are a trip hazard. They can also overheat and lead to a fire.
- Make sure trees are properly trimmed and away from your electrical wires. Tree branches can fall and snap your power lines during a winter storm. NEVER approach a downed power line; it could still be energized.
- Check your furnace or heat pump before you need it. A service technician can conduct a thorough cleaning and check. Make sure filters are clean.
- If you notice odd sounds or smells coming from your furnace or heat pump, turn it off and call a service technician. Mechanical problems can lead to fires. Furnaces that use combustion can also release gases, such as carbon monoxide.
- Have working flashlights or battery-powered lamps with fresh batteries on hand in case of a power outage.
Now is sweater weather. When you feel chilly indoors, putting on a sweater instead of turning up the thermostat a couple of degrees can add up to substantial savings. Each time you turn the thermostat up a degree, you can add as much as 2 to 3% to your heating costs, and you put more wear and tear on your heat pump or furnace.
Storm kit: home version
Being prepared for the worst is no small feat. You should assemble a storm kit that will get you through at least three days without leaving the house. Here are some items we recommend putting in your kit:
- Semi- and non-perishable food items
- Enough water for one gallon per person per day
- Lamps and flashlights (don’t forget the batteries!)
- A first aid kit stocked with essentials
- Basic tools
- An alternative heat source, such as a fireplace or kerosene heater
Start preparing your home for winter now and enjoy the comforts of knowing you and your family will be safe from unexpected dangers in and around your home.
Source: ESFI, Consumer Safety
Storm kit: mobile version
- Install winter wipers. They have an extra layer of synthetic rubber that makes them better in colder weather.
- Install winter tires. If you can see your breath, it’s time to install winter tires.
- Keep washer fluid full. Consider keeping a spare bottle in the trunk.
- Maintain proper tire pressure. Check the pressure more regularly during winter and refill your tires as needed.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full. A full tank can help prevent gas line freeze ups. And, if you’re ever stranded, a running car can help keep you warm until help arrives.
- Keep your rear-window defroster in working order. Being unable to see behind you could create unsafe driving conditions.
- Pack a winter safety kit: ice scraper, bag of sand and a shovel, cellphone, flares, first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, warm clothing, non-perishable food and beverage items.