How to Prepare Your Home For a Blizzard
When the winter weather outside is frightful, dealing with the aftermath of a blizzard is certainly not delightful. Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc in numerous ways—from keeping you stuck in the house to causing power outages to damaging your home—so knowing how to prepare for a blizzard is a priority. When preparing for a winter storm, keep the following tips in mind.
Purchase Food and Supplies
Road conditions during a blizzard may make it impossible to get food. Fill the pantry with nonperishable items in advance in case you’re unable to get groceries. These foods are good to have on hand in case of an emergency:
- Peanut butter
- Dried pasta
- Various canned goods
- Instant oatmeal
- Pickled vegetables
- Hot chocolate mix
Also, it’s important to keep enough water ready in case your pipes freeze. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should have at least one gallon of water per day for every member of your household, including pets. Although having a two-week supply on hand is ideal, try to store at least three days’ worth of water when preparing for a winter storm. Be sure to pay close attention to the expiration dates on the bottles you buy. If you’re storing water from the tap, change it every six months. It’s also a good idea to have paper plates and plastic utensils in the house so you do not need to worry about washing dishes when you are without running water.
In addition, consider ways to cook your food should the electricity go out (especially if you do not have a gas-powered stove). Consider buying a small camping stove that heats up using things like pine cones, sticks, and twigs.
Other supplies to consider purchasing include:
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene products
- First aid kit
- Ice melt
- Blankets and pillows
Winterize the Home
Wondering how to prepare for a blizzard when you need to protect not only yourself and your family, but also your home? Pay special attention to the following areas of the house.
Windows and Doors
Check your windows and doors to make sure no drafts can get in during a storm, which will not only make you uncomfortable, but will increase energy bills as you try to stay warm. To keep cold air out, caulk your windows. For extra protection, add a sheet of plastic film to stop the flow of cold air. Doors that are letting in drafts can also be caulked, or you can add a door sweep to prevent cold air from getting in at the bottom.
During the storm, heavy winds can cause tree branches to scratch against your home, or break altogether and cause damage to the roof, windows, car, or any other property in the way. To prevent this, trim tree branches that are close enough to the house or car to cause damage.
Frozen pipes can lead to leaks, so in order to prevent indoor pipes from freezing, protect them with insulation. Also, insulating your attic can help prevent cold air from getting into the home, thus keeping utility bills in check.
Make sure you know the signs your gutters are clogged so when snow falls, it doesn’t turn to ice inside of them and cause damage. In addition to removing clogs, check for leaks that can cause water damage as snow and ice melt. If you find breaches in your gutters, they may need to be repaired or replaced.
Your furnace should be inspected by an experienced technician every year to make sure it’s functioning properly during the winter months. Also, change the filter on a seasonal basis so lint, dust, and pollen don’t clog it and prevent the flow of air.
Prepare for Power Outages
If your power goes out during a storm, you want to be able to move around freely, communicate with the outside world, and get the information you need. Have flashlights on hand so you can get around your home, as well as a portable radio to listen to news updates. Always stock up on batteries for any battery-operated products in your house. It also helps to have a cell phone charger in the car in case the battery dies.
Learning how to prepare for a blizzard may seem daunting, but if you follow these tips, it can go a long way toward not getting caught off guard if the worst happens. As you’re preparing for a winter storm, you may need to hire an experienced contractor to get your gutters repaired, windows replaced, or furnace maintained.