Like so many others, my family has been re-thinking our winter prep plan since the ice-storm of early 2021. Texans know about and understand heat, however frozen weather throws many of us for a loop since it doesn’t happen as often.
While we know many ways to be careful with icy conditions, 2021 was unusual with huge portions of our state losing power. Our family lost electricity and water for almost a week. I had a toddler and was pregnant at the time, so we spent most of those days with a gracious couple who opened up their home to us and another young family. We will forever be thankful for these sweet families.
Life brings opportunities to learn from experience, and this is one of those cases. We’ve been preparing more each year in case something similar happens. While we have already been hit with some pretty cold temps here in Central Texas, the storm of 2021 didn’t take place until the middle of February. So, winter is far from over! Here are some helpful checklists this Wacoan has prepped to stay warmer this winter.
You want to make sure that your house is able to retain heat as much as possible. There are some easy and inexpensive winter prep options, with some long-term options to consider as well.
- Turn off water to irrigation and hoses and drain the backflow.
- Place insulated covers on exposed pipes and faucets.
- Fill any gaps around faucets, doors and windows. Houses shift with drastic changes in weather which can lead to cracks during certain times of the year. We love Great Stuff Gaps & Cracks Spray Foam Insulation for a quick fix.
- Close curtains and blinds to minimize heat loss from windows. Adding blinds to windows can make a big difference in winter and summer. If you have a window that seems to be a weak link, you can also place a thick blanket over it to add a buffer.
- Bring potted plants inside and cover garden beds.
- Open cabinets under sinks if they are on an exterior wall.
- Charge battery backups for phones, computers, etc.
- Check that flashlights, lanterns and candles are ready and easily accessible.
- Prepare generators, extra gas cans, space heaters, portable heaters and propane tanks. Our family has enjoyed a Mr Header Buddy Heater and Vornado Space Heater.
- Prepare indoor/outdoor grill options.
It’s a good idea to be prepared in case you don’t have access to the grocery, power or water for a few days. There will be a mad rush at the grocery 2-3 days before the freeze so do as much of this ahead of time as possible.
- Make sure car gas tanks are filled and in a garage (when possible).
- Have bottle water on hand for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. You can also fill bathtubs or large pots.
- Plan ahead for meals that don’t require power or water. Some easy options are sandwiches, cereal, protein bars, fruits and veggies, jerky, crackers, canned goods, etc.
- Don’t forget coffee/caffeine alternatives like instant coffee or a french press with ground coffee. Nobody wants to go through caffeine withdrawals on top of everything else.
- Have a cooler ready to store commonly used cold items so you don’t open and close the fridge often if the power goes out.
- Food for your pets for a week.
- Refill any medications from the pharmacy.
- Stock up on young children’s favorite snacks.
- Any baby supplies you’ll need for a week in case you can’t get to the store.
- Have hand sanitizer ready in case you lose water.
- Thermoses for each family member to keep drinks, soups and hands warm.
There are easy winter prep items you can complete ahead of time that will make a difference in keeping your family comfortable during freezing weather.
- Wash laundry and dishes before the freeze.
- Check that each family member has warm layers that fit. Don’t forget thick socks, gloves and a beanie.
- Make sure beds have extra layers easily accessible to add warmth in the middle of the night.
- Shower before the freeze in case you don’t get a chance for a few days.
- Fully charge any child’s devices or have extra batteries handy.
- Keep books, puzzles and games on hand for easy entertainment.
- Have a few ideas ready to turn rough situations into a game or experience for young children. This could be a “dance party” to move and get warm, a family “inside camping experience” to stay warm in one room, or a “snuggle party” with blankets and hot chocolate to read books and stay warm.
We hope this helps relieve some stress and helps you weather the winter temperatures!