How to prepare for freezing temperatures.
You don’t have control over the weather, but you can make sure you’re ready for freezing temps. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones warm while making sure you’re conserving energy as much as possible.
Protect your home and watch for ways to conserve energy.
- Take care of your pipes. Lower the risk of damage to your home by wrapping your pipes and letting faucets drip throughout the house. Shut off exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes to prevent them from bursting.
- Charge your devices. Make sure your cell phone, medical equipment, tablets and laptop are fully charged ahead of time.
- Weatherstrip exterior doors and windows. Even the smallest cracks in doors and windows can let heat escape, making your heating system work that much harder.
- Check your water heater. The optimal working temperature for a hot water heater is 120°. Make sure yours is in proper working order by flushing your water heater tank and checking the pressure relief valve.
- Inspect your attic insulation. Make sure it’s still up to the job of keeping your home comfortable and replace any wet, moldy or damaged insulation. This is especially important in the area around the access door.
- Set your ceiling fans to save energy. When you use your heater, you can make its job easier by setting your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise in order to recirculate heat that’s risen in your home.
- Inspect your chimney for wear and tear. Be sure to also keep the chimney damper closed when it is not in use.
- Set your thermostat for energy efficiency. If you have an electric heater, set the thermostat to 68° while you’re awake and lower it while you sleep to save energy. When you leave the house, lower the temperature by 4°. If you have a smart thermostat, program it to adjust automatically.
- Have a backup power source. Additional power sources can keep your home powered in case of a power outage. If you’re our customer, you can get 15% off sustainable backup power from Goal Zero.
Stock up on supplies.
Before it freezes, make sure you’re stocked up on these essentials:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food
- Medications (prescription & over the counter)
- First aid supplies
- Pet food
- Warm clothing
- Battery-operated radio
- Solar-powered phone charger
- Backup power solutions, including a generator and a portable power bank
- Gasoline for cars and generators
Know where to go in case of long power outages.
- If your home is vulnerable to extended power outages, or if members of your household have medical conditions that may worsen due to cold weather, make plans to evacuate to a safer location. It could be too dangerous to drive once freezing temperatures hit.
- If you’re sheltering in place, close off unimportant areas of the house and stick to a few rooms to maximize heat retention.
- Pack a bag of essential items, including a phone charger, clothing, socks, shoes, toiletries, cash and important documents (in a resealable plastic bag).
- Get your car ready by filling up with gas, performing any necessary maintenance, checking and replenishing all fluids, replacing your windshield wipers and filling your tires with air.
- Keep emergency phone numbers in multiple places and ensure everyone in the family knows what to expect if the power goes out.
More winter weather tips and resources:
How to stay prepared in freezing temperatures.
When temperatures drop below freezing, take steps to stay prepared and get in touch with emergency contacts if needed.
- Listen to local radio and television reports for weather condition updates.
- Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, including gloves and a hat that covers your ears.
- If the power is out, turn off and unplug all major appliances.
- If power is out for extended periods and you need to evacuate due to freezing temperatures, locate your nearest warming center and follow local emergency guidelines for road safety instructions.
- Whether you choose to stay home or evacuate, you’ll want to unplug electronics and appliances.
Emergency phone numbers:
For a medical/functional emergency, call 211. For a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
Where to report power outages.
If the power goes out, call your local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP) to notify them of the issue. You can also track power outages by visiting your TDSP’s outage tracker.