Prepare for the Incoming Winter!
Photo from the 2020 Winter Freeze
According to the Farmers' Almanac, the South is due for another winter freeze! So to help my fellow Southerners out, I've put together a helpful list of things you can do to prep and items you can purchase! The items I link below are items that I hand picked myself. We have a lot of them, and the rest are items on my own list to purchase for our prep storage. Almost all the the links are affiliate links, meaning I earn some money if you decide to purchase the item. It took me hours to gather all the information, compile this huge list of items, vetting they're good items, getting the best deal, and getting the individual links. Right now we don't make any money except for donations and affiliate market links. So please help support us by using our links! Thank you.
I'm also including some photos of our personal storage items. We have a fair bit more, especially water, food, tools, and medical equipment, but I didn't want to add too many photos for you all. Hope you enjoy!
Photo Credit belongs to Farmers' Almanac
Now, onto the helpful tips and tricks! If you already know all of this and want to skip to the items, go right ahead! I will have the areas separated for your convenience. Each section, "Advice" and "Products", are organized and listed in the same manner to make it easier to locate the same topics. The section titles are also in a brown/gold color to make it as easy to locate as possible.
Trim back any low hanging branches and support any smaller, or freshly planted, trees with tree stakes.
Turn off outdoor water faucets and unhook any garden hoses.
Wrap and insulate your outdoor pipes and faucets.
Wrap any uninsulated pipes, including sink pipes under the counters. You should also open cabinet doors, under the sinks, to help circulate warm air in there.
Leave a bathroom sink faucet dripping. If you live in a multi-level home, leave one sink on each floor dripping.
Put some weather stripping around drafty doors or windows.
Make sure the caulk on the edges of your windows inside and out are intact. If not, buy some and repair it.
If you have an old hot water heater with an R-value less than 24, insulate it with an insulating blanket. The R-value should be written and located on the outside of your water heater.
If you have a fireplace, make sure the chimney flap is closed so you're not getting any down draft.
If you live in an apartment or condo on the 2nd floor or higher, I recommend getting some road salt for the stairs. Not only will it keep you safe, but your neighbors as well. However, do not use road salt on wood, as it will damage the wood.
Find out where your water meter is and buy a meter key and meter box key. If you notice a leak in your house, shut off the water to the house immediately and contact a plumber to come out as soon as possible.
Make sure your gutters are cleared, as full gutters will cause the snow to melt and refreeze, causing them to build up dangerous icicles.
If you have any plants that you can’t bring inside, or food growing in your garden, make sure to cover them with plastic and/or blankets to keep them safe. You can also add a thick layer of mulch to cover the dirt area of your plants to help them retain heat. Don’t forget about wrapping your small, young, tree trunks!
Leave all of your devices charging when you know of an incoming storm or freeze. It's good to just periodically charge your devices to make sure they're always at, near, full battery so that they're ready for any situation.
Invest in a whole home portable generator. If it doesn’t come with wheels, buy the wheel kit for it. If you have an electric start one, make sure you have the battery for it. There’s a tri-fuel kit for some gasoline models that allows you to change the carburetor out to be used with propane or natural gas as well. Make sure to get ethanol free fuel for storage, so the fuel can sit up to a year in the tank without gunking up the carburetor. You will probably have to get a generator outlet installed, outlet surge protector, and an interlock kit. The interlock kit switches you off the grid and prevents the power from flowing back into the grid, for safety reasons
If you can’t afford a whole home generator and the hookup, you can invest in smaller, portable, generators for your electronics.
Make sure you’re stocked up on your standard batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V) and any medically needed batteries (hearing aids, etc).
You can also purchase a car power inverter, where you plug it into the cigarette outlet, and it allows you to charge your devices. So long as your car starts, this is a good option for, absolute, backup power. Try not to use it too long, so you don't end up with a dead car battery too! It'd be best to also invest in small solar charging panels.
If you have a fireplace, make sure to stock up on firewood and fire starters. Don't forget lighters!
Invest in a good whole room heater. You can also place a fan behind it to help distribute the heat more. Just make sure you don't place it too close.
You can use mylar blankets and/or a foam insulation roll to cover up windows using tape.
Get some thick blankets, or more specifically a wool one. Wool is great for retaining heat, even when wet.