BRYAN, Texas — With the worst winter storm Texas has seen in decades upon us, people could experience a long-term power outage. This can be a dangerous situation, considering the temperatures outside are below freezing. It also means you won't have the electricity to power up your electronics like cell phones, which you may need to use in case of an emergency.
Here is a list of things you should consider when the power goes out.
Unplug your power sucking appliances
When the power goes out, you should unplug your larger appliances like computers and televisions. Go around and make sure lamps, radios and smaller appliances are also turned off. When the power does come back, there could be a surge and that means you could fry your electronics or possibly overload your house's circuits.
Be careful of candle and oil lamp use
Be careful of using candles and oil lamps around your home. They can be knocked over easily or forgotten about once power is restored. Use flashlights instead. Make sure you've got extra batteries.
Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer
If you have a snack craving, it's best to keep that fridge and freezer closed. If you avoid opening the doors, the appliance will keep proper temperatures for several hours, as long as your fridge and freezer are in good working order. When you're experiencing below freezing temperatures, remember, you've got a giant refrigerator and freezer right outside your door! Set items in food safe containers or wrapping on your back steps, patio, or other nearby place. Just don't forget it's there!
Using space heaters and generators
This one is always tempting. You want to have a nice warm place to go to sleep. But don't keep your space heater on over night. You run the risk of knocking it over or a flammable object getting too close and starting a fire.
When it comes to generators, do not use them indoors! Because it's not a properly ventilated area, it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which could kill you and your loved ones. Just don't do it.
Make sure you have battery operated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors!
Pay attention to your pipes
Keep monitoring those pipes you've got. When temperatures are below freezing, the water inside the pipes expands as it freezes and this leads to busted pipes. Check the basement or any other area where you have exterior plumbing. Wrap uninsulated pipes with foam, blankets or towels to keep them from freezing. You should even keep a small stream of water running to keep the pipes clear.
Don't use up all your water...can I still use the bathroom?
There is some good news here. Most plumbing does not require electricity to keep it going, unless, of course, you get your water from a well. Most well pumps are powered by electricity so flowing water is a no-go. If you live within a city that gets its water from a tower, then water will flow, however, during a power outage, only the water stored in the towers will be available.
Your hot water tank only holds so much water and without the electricity to power it, you've got use that sparingly, especially when you don't know how long a power outage will last.
When it comes to your toilet, usually you won't have to worry, however, flush sparingly. Some homes use electric sewer pumps and flushing the toilet too many times could cause a sewage backup. While most toilets work during a power outage, those that rely on a pump to operate won't work.
Use your electronics sparingly
Don't let your cell phones and other electronics get too low on batteries. You will need them if you have to call for an emergency, especially when it comes to dangerous weather like we're facing.
Have more power outage tips? Text them to us at 979-703-8404.