A variety of natural disasters, from blizzards and ice storms to hurricanes and heat waves, can damage power lines and leave entire cities in the dark. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home for a power outage.
• Improve insulation. Add caulk and weatherstripping around doors and windows. During an outage, cover your windows with curtains or a blanket to keep the heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.
• Prepare your fireplace. It should be cleaned at least once a year. A fireplace is a great source of heat, but a buildup of debris along the chimney walls can cause a fire or backdraft. Don’t forget to top up your wood supply before winter.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors. If you already have them, make sure they work and that you have extra batteries. Never use a propane stove, barbecue or portable generator indoors.
• Ready your sump pump. Make sure it works and install a battery backup system. This will ensure that your basement is protected from flooding during a power outage, especially one caused by a storm with heavy rainfall.
• Protect your plumbing. Purchase non-toxic antifreeze to pour down plumbing fixtures during an outage. This will help prevent the drainpipes from freezing. Wrap exposed pipes in towels and let the faucets drip to keep water circulating.
A lengthy power outage may require you to evacuate your home. Before you leave, turn off the main circuit breaker, close the water main and drain your plumbing system.