What to Do during a Winter Power Outage

A heavy snowfall, an ice storm, or a switchboard overload are just some of the scenarios that can cause a power outage during the winter. No matter the cause, staying safe while waiting for power to be restored is important. Here are just some of the things you should remember if your power goes out this winter.  


If you can do so safely, disconnect some of the appliances in your home, including televisions, microwaves, and computers. When the power returns, if you have a high number of devices powered on, this could cause a power surge or a power drain. If you are able to turn off any of these items by an on or off switch, you can simply turn them to the off position as an alternative.   

Take a Hot Shower

Many hot water heaters have reserve tanks that can keep water warm for a while, even when the power is out. Consider taking a short, hot shower to elevate your body temperature. Once you've dried off you can dress in layers to help retain some of the heat. If you don't want to shower, run a hot shower and stand in the bathroom with the door closed to warm up.  

Turn On the Water

In extreme cold, a pipe can freeze in as few as 1.4 hours. The effects of a frozen pipe, such as busted pipe or water leak, can be felt long after power is restored to your home, so it's best to avoid this type of scenario. Make sure you turn the water on to at least a slow trickle in some of the faucets around your house to prevent this issue.

Avoid a Total Power Loss

While these tips can help keep you safe during a winter power outage, you can avoid many of these nuisances if you properly prepare. Investing in a gas generator at the start of the season is one great preparation tool. Many of these generators are equipped with sensors that can immediately detect a loss of power, causing them to automatically power on and serve your home's electrical needs with the use of natural gas.

When shopping for a generator, it's imperative that you are looking for a unit that is designed to disconnect from the main power grid when it is operating. If it does not disconnect, this can send electricity back through the lines, sometimes known as backfeed, which can prove fatal to any technicians working on the power line. Additionally, once power is restored, the surge of electricity could damage the generator.

Before the harsh effects of winter take center stage, make sure your home is equipped with an electric or gas generator.