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Preparing For A Winter Blackout

January 27, 2022 | Blog

Preparing Your Home For A Winter Blackout

You don’t need to live in an area prone to winter storms to experience a winter blackout. All it takes is one heavy freeze and there’s a chance you can find yourself with no power in bitterly cold temperatures. To help you prepare for this situation ahead of time, Norman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has compiled a guide on how homeowners can prep their homes for a blackout this winter.

How to Winterize Your Home

Prepping your home for an event like a winter blackout might seem tedious, but failing to do so can put your home at risk of severe damage. Now is the best time to make sure your home can handle the harsh weather to come. Here are the main factors to consider:

Heating Insulation

When you’re left with no power in freezing temperatures, heating insulation should be the first thing on your mind. Consider these winterization projects that help prevent heat loss:

  • Weatherstrip doors and windows – upgrading your home’s doors and window weatherstrips not only prevents warm air from leaking out of your home during a blackout but also helps your home with energy efficiency by 20%, according to Energy.gov.
  • Insulate attic – similar to your doors and windows, your attic can also have air leaks that let warm air escape. In fact, Energy.gov has reported that a home can lose up to 25% of its warm air before it even reaches the vents. Make sure your attic has at least 6 inches of insulation to ensure your home stays as warm as possible during a blackout.
  • Consider purchasing a generator – while they can be considered a luxury, generators are a worthy investment. Generators typically provide more than enough energy to keep your HVAC system running during a winter blackout. They can also keep major appliances like a fridge running, which will prevent your food from spoiling.
  • Heating alternatives – use your fireplace, layer clothes, and blankets, place towels near all entrances, close unused rooms and cover windows with blinds or curtains.

Protect Your Pipes

If you leave your pipes exposed to the cold during a winter blackout, then the water within your pipes could freeze, expand, and thus burst if you wait too long. This issue is not one to take lightly – property damage from busted pipes can cost you thousands of dollars.

The most tried-and-true method is simply keeping your water running to thaw out your pipes during the blackout.
Another option is insulating your pipes with insulating foam beforehand. This will prevent your pipes from bursting without needing to keep your water running. There are also specially made insulating domes or coverings made for outdoor faucets and fixtures to reduce the likelihood of the water causing costly leaks.

Wait to Turn on Heating System

Winter blackouts not only affect your plumbing but can also affect the performance and longevity of your heat and air system. For example, many people aren’t aware that when you experience a winter blackout, you should turn off your AC and heat system at the thermostat while the power is still off. If you let your system turn on immediately after the power comes back on, the sudden jolt of electricity could damage your HVAC equipment and shorten its lifetime. Wait at least 20 minutes before turning on your system after the power returns.

If you give your system enough time to adjust, you shouldn’t experience any issues. But if your system fails to turn back on, there may be a deeper problem due to damage caused by the jump in electricity before or after the power outage that will require repairs.

Contact Norman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Do you need help with a winterization project? Have you been affected by a winter blackout and need plumbing or HVAC repair? Our team is ready to help! Our certified technicians are available at any point throughout the season for all your HVAC and plumbing needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly representatives!

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