A power outage during the winter can lower temperatures indoors to uncomfortable and unsafe levels. These four tips might help you maintain warmer conditions while the heating system is down.

1. Dress in layers.

You’ll stay warmer if you dress yourself and other family members in several layers. The air that gets trapped between the layers will retain body heat, keeping you warmer. Wool clothing is always warmer than cotton and synthetics, although thick fleece sweat pants and shirts also retain heat well.

2. Confine yourself to one room.

If the outage will last for more than several hours, bring the family into one room. Your combined body heat will keep it warmer. The ideal room should be on the first floor with as few exterior walls as possible and a fireplace.

3. Drape the windows.

Clear shower curtains are usually large enough to cover a window and are an inexpensive way to retain heat through windows. Tape the curtain tightly to the window frame to let the sun warm the room without letting the heat it generates escape.

4. Cover the floors.

If the room you designate as the warm room has hard surface flooring, lay throw rugs on the floor to retain heat. The fibers in the rugs will trap the warm air, keeping it in the room longer.

What Not to Do

As tempting as it might be during a power outage, don’t use a gas or charcoal grill indoors. If you have a gas unvented heater or fireplace, use it carefully and be sure your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working. Open a window occasionally to let in fresh, oxygen-rich air.

Do not leave the furnace on. Turn it off at the circuit breaker until the power has returned and is stable. Power surges are common after outages, and they can damage the furnace’s electronics components. Component damage may occur, sidelining the furnace even longer.

A power outage during the winter isn’t pleasant, but it can be tolerable. If you’d like to learn more about keeping your heating system safe, contact Jackson & Sons, offering HVAC services for homeowners in eastern North Carolina since 1974.

Jackson & Sons, Inc.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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