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Winter Storm Guide: How to Stay Warm During a Power Outage

Each and every year, many homeowners in Ontario experience major power outages due to the harsh winter weather and storms. Though the lack of hydro may be boring and cumbersome, it is also incredibly dangerous, as families are left to find alternative ways to stay warm. 

Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen many posts on Facebook or social media that give tips and tricks on how to create heat in your home that are either ineffective or incredibly unsafe. This is why we’ve created our foolproof winter storm guide that can adequately prepare you and your home for any upcoming power outages. 

While the Greater Toronto and Halton areas don’t typically experience too many outages, it’s always best to be ready!

Keep the Heat in a Centralized Area

When the power goes out, it is important to keep the heat in a small and centralized area so that everyone can stay nice and warm. This means closing off doors to unused rooms or areas and adding covers to the window (or shutting the curtains) to prevent the cold from seeping in.

We also recommend staying indoors and keeping external doors closed at all times. While it’s hard to notice a cold blast from a door opening when the heat is on, it’s much easier to tell when the heat is off. In fact, a gust of wind into the home can even lower the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees.

Now we have seen some individuals post about pitching a tent in their living room or home to keep the heat centralized. While this isn’t something we typically recommend, it would definitely help. The smaller the area, the easier it is to increase the heat and stay warm, which is something to think about should temperatures drop.

Also Read: Furnace Maintenance Tips for the Winter

Use Blankets and Warm Clothing to Stay Warm

Often we get asked, “what’s the best way to stay warm during a winter storm power outage?” The answer is simple; layer blankets and warm clothing. Depending on how bad the weather is and how long the outage lasts, you may have to work to prevent yourself and your family from frostbite and hypothermia.

The best way to do this is to layer on clothing and wrap yourselves up with blankets to stay warm. Then, be sure to monitor how everyone is feeling. If anyone is too hot, remove some layers to prevent sweating or if anyone is feeling cold, add on some layers to heat up.

Candles Should Only Be Used For Light

The last thing you want to do during a power outage is start a fire! Many may recommend using candles as a heat source, but this can be incredibly dangerous. Instead, we recommend using flashlights or battery-powered lights to be able to see. If candles are your only option as a light source, then we recommend using a few, but taking the proper precautions while using them.

The only heat source we’d recommend using during a winter storm outage is a fireplace if you have one. We’ve seen a few tweets or posts about homeowners using either charcoal barbecues or turning on their gas stoves to create heat. This is incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. While you may feel called to find an additional way to add heat into your home, the safest thing to do is focus on keeping your body heat in.

If You Need Help, Get It

We’re incredibly grateful that for the most part, power outages caused by a winter storm are relatively quick, and usually within a few hours to a day, the power comes back on. However, there are times when this is simply not the case.

If you experience a power outage in which you or your family require help or assistance, do not wait, get help immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the situation could get or the colder you could become. It’s a safe and smart move to get help when help is needed.

Winter Storm Checklist

To ensure your home is ready for a winter storm outage, it’s important to have a couple of resources and items on hand. We recommend storing some flashlights and even battery-operated candles in a safe space that can be easy to access if the power goes out. It’s also recommended to have bottles of water, additional blankets and sleeping bags, winter gear; such as hats, mitts, and even hand warmers on hand, and even a backup generator with fuel for it, if possible.

With these safety and heat tips, along with the additional resources, you can rest assured knowing that your family should be able to easily make it through any winter power outage this year. Of course, should any issues arise, it is necessary that you seek help, or additional shelter when needed. 

Wishing you all a wonderful winter season and should you require any assistance with your furnace throughout the cold months, be sure to give us a call. Stay safe and warm everyone!