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Winter Power Outage | 10 Survival Tips

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Cold adult woman covered clothes freezing | Winter power outage | Featured

Knowing how to survive a winter power outage is crucial for every survivalist to know. Here are some tips on what you should do before, during, and after this kind of emergency.

RELATED: Winter Survival Kit: The Prepper’s Guide To Winter Survival

What to Do Before, During, and After a Winter Power Outage

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Woman sitting next heater blanket on | Winter power outage

1. Weatherize Your Home

Worker protective goggles respirator insulating sock | Winter power outage

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Without power, your house will not be able to stay warm for long especially during the winter. Before the snows arrive, prepare your home for handling the cold.

Start by insulating your house’s doors, windows, and attic. This will help keep heat trapped inside your house should the power go out.

You should also inspect your roof for missing or broken shingles and make the necessary repairs before winter arrives. While you’re at it, prevent the formation of ice dams by cleaning out the gutters.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, check if everything is working fine. Make sure the gasket and chimney have no damages and that the fireplace itself is clean.

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Finally, do not forget to stock enough wood to make it through those cold winter nights.

2. Stock Up on Essentials

Customer looking product supermarket | Winter power outage

Food and water should top your list of necessities when preparing not just for a winter power outage, but for any kind of emergency.


Most of your foods may not last long without the refrigerator to keep them cool. In power outages caused by weather disturbances, power typically takes over 48 hours before it is restored.

As such, make sure to stock up on nonperishable items like cereals, crackers, canned food, instant coffee, and the like.

Additionally, prepare enough water that is good for at least three days for every member of your family. The rule of thumb is to have at least a gallon of water per person per day.

3. Gather Your Radios, Flashlights, and Batteries

Survival kit on warm blanket | Winter power outage

Having sufficient lighting is crucial in any emergency scenario.

With that said, it is a good idea to have a working set of flashlights on hand. Before storing, check to see if your flashlight is working fine and repair or replace it as needed.

Alternatively, you can also use candles, but of course,  a flashlight would be a safer option.

While you’re at it, grab a few boxes of batteries as well. These will come in handy not just for light sources, but also for other essential devices such as a radio.

Radios are great sources of information and updates in emergency situations and are a must-have part of any emergency preparedness kit.

4. Buy a Portable Generator

Gasoline powered portable generator home | Winter power outage

An energy-efficient portable generator may not be able to power your entire house, but it should be enough to run your most important appliances. With this, you won’t have to worry about the food in your refrigerator or your phones running out of battery.

Most of these portable generators run on propane or gasoline. Because of this, it is important that you stock up on that fuel as well. Just keep in mind that it should be stored in a well-ventilated area away from your house.

When your generator is running, try to keep it at a distance of at least 15 feet from your house as the exhaust created by gas generators are considered toxic.

5. Condense the Living Space

Feet wool socks warming by cozy | Winter power outage

It is a lot easier to warm smaller spaces compared to bigger ones. If you have a heat source such as a wood stove or a fireplace, try to close that room off from the rest of the house. This should allow you to use your fuel a lot more efficiently.

Even without these heat sources, just the body heat that you and the members of your family produce can help. Preserving that heat is a lot easier in a small, insulated space than in a wide-open one.

RELATED: 13 Winter Survival Methods To Keep You Warm

6. Keep Doors Closed

Frost on dooropen plastic doors frozen | Winter power outage

Generating heat during a winter power outage can be extremely challenging. This makes preserving that heat a lot more important.

As much as possible, avoid opening doors that lead outside. If you do have to go out, make sure you don’t linger. Open the door as little as possible and shut it as quickly as you can.

7. Dress in Layers

Best hand warmer winter vibes happy | Winter power outage

Layered clothing may prove to be one of your best defenses against the cold.

When dressing in layers, make sure to start with a warm base layer. Thermal underwear and some wool socks are some examples of this.

If you have insulated pants, throw these on next before putting on multiple layers of loose, warm shirts. The outer layer should ideally be water-repellant while also having a tight weave.

Finally, do not forget your head, hands, and feet. Put on a warm hat and some mittens as these are able to hold heat more effectively than gloves can.

8. Check Your Supplies

Mother preparing emergency backpack her daughter | Winter power outage

If food is left sitting at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for over two hours, you should be careful of it. As soon as the power comes back on, make sure to check the items in your refrigerator for signs of spoilage.

Some of these include unusual smells, texture, and color. If you are not sure whether it is still okay, err on the safe side and throw it out.

The same goes with medicine that needs refrigerating. If it has been left without refrigeration for over 24 hours, you may most likely need to replace it. When in doubt, however, contact your physician for instructions.

Once you are done going through your supplies, make a list of items that may need replacing. This includes not just food, water, and medicine, but also any other resources you may have used during the winter power outage like gas and batteries.

9. Look for Broken Piping

Frozen pipes winter cold | Winter power outage

Without central heating, water pipes in the home may freeze in frigid temperatures and can be costly to fix. Some signs of this include pooling water, low water pressure, or water damage on ceilings, walls, and floors.

If you believe that you may have frozen pipes, use your house’s main shut-off valve to turn the water off. Afterwards, call a plumber as soon as you can.

10. Assess Your Heater

Almost done worker set electric heating | Winter power outage

If the electric water heater isn’t working after a winter power outage, do not panic. It may just need about an hour to reheat. If, however, after that hour or two, the water still isn’t warm, then you might have a problem.

First, go through the house’s circuit breaker and check to see if one was tripped. If the circuit breaker isn’t the problem, then, like with broken piping, it is best to call a plumber right away.

Here’s an infographic guide that you can use. Feel free to download, save and share it with your loved ones:
Winter Power Outage Survival Tips

Now that you know what to do before, during, and after a winter power outage, master the art of keeping warm with this video courtesy of Survival Know How:

A winter power outage can be life-threatening to the unprepared. Knowing what to do before, during and after it will help you make sure that you are able to keep you and your entire family safe during this kind of emergency.

What is your go-to alternative heat source during a winter power outage?

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Do you have other tips on how to prepare for a winter power outage? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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