Coping with a Winter Power Outage
Living without electricity is no easy task, especially during cold weather. To make the best of the situation as we work to restore your power, follow these tips from UCEMC once you’ve called to report the outage in your area:
Wrap up in warm clothes. Wear several think layers instead of one or two bulky garments. Woolen hats and thermal underwear can also help you keep warm.
Keep refrigerator and freezer door openings to a minimum. If food starts to thaw during an extended outage, place the food outdoors if it is cold enough. Choose a shady spot, and make sure the food is protected from animals.
Cook in your fireplace or outdoors on your grill or camp stove. NEVER cook indoors on grills or camp stoves since they can produce dangerous fumes.
Prepare hot foods such as soups, stews or chili. They provide warmth as well as nourishment.
In extremely cold weather, gather the family in one room and seal it off from drafts. Select a room with a fireplace or wood burning stove if you have one.
At bedtime, use several layers of quilts or blankets or use a sleeping bag.
Take advantage of natural body heat. A sleeping person gives off about 75 watts of heat, so sleep with two or more people together under the blankets or zipped-together sleeping bags.
While the power is off, turn OFF your major electrical appliances such as water heaters and heating systems. After the power comes back on, wait about 15 minutes and turn on the appliances one at a time. If your own a heat pump, be sure to check the manual before turning the heat pump back on. This will help avoid additional outages caused by overloads.
If you have a heat pump, do not immediately reset the thermostat to the “ON” position when power is restored following a winter outage. This can cause mechanical damage to the heat pump unit. Instead, follow this rule: If the power has been off more than three hours, place the system switch in the emergency heat position. This will quickly bring our home to normal temperature. Leave the switch in the emergency heat position for 24 hours. At the end of 24 hours, set the thermostat for heat pump operation. This will restart your unit in the heat pump mode.