Surviving a Power Outage During Winter in Ontario Canada

Shipton's Heating and Cooling in Hamilton provides expert advice for power outages in Ontario, Canada.

In previous years, it wasn’t uncommon for Canadians to start their winter migration south at about the same time the geese did.

But the onset of the pandemic has changed nearly everything about how we live, including our winter preparations.

With sheltering in place the only option for many, it now becomes essential to consider what you will do if your power goes out and you lose heat during the winter.

What plans do you have in place for yourself, your kids, your pets, your possessions and your home or workplace? Do you need help thinking through your options? Then read on! Our Shipton’s Heating and Cooling experts work with clients during power outages regularly throughout the winter months and know how to handle it well!

Conserve the Heat Already In Your Home

The very first thing to do when the power goes out is always going to be to conserve any heat generated before the outage.

Here is what we recommend you do right away to conserve all available heat sources.

1. Choose a room to set up as your “base camp.”

The first order of business is going to be choosing a room in your home to be your base camp. Ideally, this will be the room that naturally stays the warmest.

For many people, it ends up being a bedroom (or the basement) because these rooms tend to stay warmer during outages.

You want to bring water, blankets, snacks and flashlights into this room and then close all the doors and try to seal any air leaks.

Use plastic bags or a shower curtain to block air leaks around the windows and place rolled towels across the bases of doors.

2. Make arrangements for your pets to stay in this room with you.

As best you can, recreate your pet’s normal sleeping arrangement in your base camp room.

Bring their food, bedding, toys and other comforts into the room and get them situated.

3. Dress properly to conserve body heat.

Body heat is the easiest form of heat to conserve once you are hunkered down in your base camp room.

Layering clothing is a fast, easy way to conserve body heat – provided you dress properly.

The layer nearest your body needs to be moisture-wicking (aka not cotton). Opt for high performance polyester blends or wool to keep moisture away from your skin.

The next layer is your insulation. Fleece, down, synthetic down, wool, even a good old fashioned sweatshirt that is snug yet not too tight is perfect.

The outer layer is your wind and water deterrent. While you may not need either inside your space, the ultimate goal is not to let any air in to chill you. Any type of raincoat or winter coat will do.

Be sure to wear wool or high performance poly-blend socks and a warm winter hat. Any area of your body that is not protected is equivalent to an open window where heat can escape.

4. Add back heat with these ideas.

If you are lucky enough to have gas for your hot water, you can easily make hot water bottles out of any sport bottles and tuck those in your bed and in your pet’s beds.

Kids love to make tent forts and now is a perfect time to pitch that pup tent in your basecamp room and let them snuggle inside.

While you may not be feeling festive, if you can keep moving by doing some yoga or practicing your shuffle dance moves, this will help you feel warmer too!

Speaking of yoga, rolling out your yoga mats on the floor will help insulate the room and keep heat from escaping. Blankets, towels and rugs will also help!

What Heat Alternatives Do You Have?

It only takes one winter power outage for most of us to set earnest resolutions to make sure we are well stocked for the future.

But most of us also forget so quickly once the power is restored that we don’t actually follow through.

The truth is, many of the ideas we will come up with for emergency heat aren’t safe for indoor use.

Over the years, we have heard far too many stories of how everything from table tops to “flower pot” candle heaters have ignited from these types of creative ideas.

These are the safest options we know of to add back emergency heat until your power comes back on.

  • Invest in an emergency generator.
  • Switch to a gas or propane furnace.
  • Stock up on portable hand and foot heat warmer packs.
  • Keep some mylar radiant heat blankets handy.
  • Buy some small emergency heat kits.

How to Avoid Preventable Winter Furnace Outages

It is one thing to wake up and discover all the power has gone out. It is quite another to wake up and realize all your neighbours still have power but your furnace has conked out in the middle of winter!

The number one cause of preventable winter furnace outages is simple oversight. You forgot to schedule your annual preventative furnace safety inspection and maintenance.

So often when we get a distress call coming into our 24/7 emergency repair hotline, we discover during the service call that the cause of the outage could have been prevented.

Not only will you pay more for emergency service, but enduring a preventable furnace outage also takes its toll in terms of personal stress.

Call us to schedule your preventative furnace maintenance to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Shiptons Is Your Hamilton, Ontario HVAC Furnace Specialist

We can help you put plans in place to keep your family warm and safe this winter. With our safe contactless estimate, order, invoicing and payment options, your safety is guaranteed from start to finish.

Give our expert HVAC technicians a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online to get started.

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