With a record run of snowless days, bright, sunny skies, and temperatures in the 60s, it’s easy to overlook winter’s arrival. But savvy Coloradans know that Mother Nature is full of surprises and has a way of evening things out. So if you haven’t done it already, it’s time to take a look at how prepared you are for our predictable, unpredictable winters.
Look at What’s Changed
The seemingly never-ending pandemic has caused massive changes in most of our lives. Working from home is part of many routines (fortunately the schools are back open, hopefully for the long term) and household power demands have grown substantially. Dining and entertainment are recovering, but many folks have become fond of home cooking and movie nights.
The last year or so has, sadly, also aroused awareness of home security needs. And unfortunately, some people have the added need of home medical equipment.
These new circumstances have added to the importance having a safe, reliable source of electric power. Fortunately, long-term power outages are rare in urban areas, but when they occur, they can be major inconveniences now that we’re spending more time at home. In some cases, they can even be life-threatening. That’s why planning and preparation are important to make it through winter with the least inconvenience possible.
Here are some tips on how to be prepared when the inevitable outages hit.
Be aware of threatening weather
Our diverse Colorado terrain creates local subclimates that can vary considerably from the regional forecasts. Be aware of how that can impact your local conditions. Cold air sinks into valleys and river bottoms and the winds on mountains and hilltops, open prairies, and steep slopes can be much stronger than more sheltered areas.
Use your local forecast as a guide, but factor in conditions unique to your location.
Sign up for alerts
Radio and television stations broadcast emergency alerts, but other resources advise you of things like power outages that can be sent directly to your cell phone. Some utilities have outage maps and information on their websites and social media pages. Others let you sign up for text messages about outages that affect you directly. Check your utility’s website for sign-up information.
If power is out at your location, report it to your utility unless you know they are already aware.
Reduce the risk of downed power lines
One danger of a late winter is that trees may not have gotten the attention they need. Winds and snow loads cause hundreds of branches and whole trees to fall into overhead power lines every winter. If a line is down or appears threatened, leave the area and report it by calling 1-800-895-1999. If life or property is threatened, call 911.
Never touch or go near a sagging or downed power line. High voltages can arc and flow through wet or even damp ground.
Stock up for outages
Power outages of a few hours are annoying at best, but long-term outages or impassible roads can be an emergency. Keep your family safe and functioning by having things ready to get through an outage like:
- A battery-powered radio or television
- Fresh batteries
- Back up phone chargers
- A cell phone or land line that doesn’t need electricity to operate
- A non-electric clock, preferably one with an alarm
- Bottled water and nonperishable food
- A manual can opener
- A first aid kit
Also be sure you observe food safety and know how to operate electric locks and doors (including garage doors) manually.
And never use your stove or oven to heat the house. Or use outdoor grills indoors.
Have a backup plan
Dining by candlelight may be romantic, but it can get old after a while. Backup power options like storage batteries and generators can keep you functioning during an outage and can be a necessity for persons dependent on life-sustaining medical devices.
There are several options for backup power depending on your particular needs. Read this article on the Allstar Electrical Services website to help you choose the right one for you.
If you're thinking about adding safe, reliable backup power or have any problems or concerns about your electrical service, the pros at Allstar Electrical Services are ready to help. We offer homeowners, builders, and businesses reliable, professional electrical work that is safe and up to code.
Call Allstar Electrical at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. We've served the Front Range for over 20 years, are top-rated by the BBB, and are proud to be a preferred contractor on Angi’s Home Advisor®.