The latest cold snap Houston has been going through has been challenging, to say the least! This weather is certainly a far cry from what we’re accustomed to, and these frigid temperatures and icy weather have left the city with various troubles ranging from power outages to a total loss of heat. We hope that despite it all, you are staying warm and safe. We’re in this together, and we’re here to tell you that there are some things you can do to make yourself safer and more comfortable. Luckily, this is Texas, and warmer temperatures are on their way!
We know it’s cold and that a generator might help you to stay warm and comfortable if you’ve lost power. However, don’t keep it indoors or even in a garage when in use. Generators pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when used improperly. The same goes for using an oven to heat your home – just don’t do it!
Speaking of power, we know how tempting it is to go to and from the refrigerator when we’re bored or in search of a little comfort food. However, you should avoid opening and closing your refrigerator door as much as possible during a power crisis. Food needs to maintain temperatures below 41° to remain safe for consumption, and a little bit of cool air slips out every time you open the door. A few trips a day per person adds up to a lot of heating!
Also, be sure to maintain awareness of water boil orders in your community. At present, you should assume your neighborhood is under one unless you have heard differently.
Keep your furry family members inside to prevent hypothermia. You may be able to take them out to do their business, but keep playtime indoors for now.
Keeping your home as warm as can be is crucial when temperatures have plummeted. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do:
- Stuff towels under doors to trap heat in small rooms.
- Avoid going in and out of the house as much as possible.
- Close off rooms you are not using to help conserve heat. We’re looking at you, spare bedrooms and home offices! Just don’t close off bathrooms, kitchens, or areas with piping that you have concerns about.
- Keep heavy curtains closed to prevent drafts from blasting into your home.
If your home is already feeling chilly, here are some steps you can take to boost your own temperature:
- Eat and drink to produce more body heat, and keep moving.
- Layer up! Keep that winter coat on, and layer socks, pants, and shirts as needed. You might feel awkward wearing your winter gloves or hat inside, but it’s a smart thing to do!
- Avoid drinking alcohol, as tempting as it sounds during inclement weather. Alcohol can cause you to lose body heat, and that is exactly what you’re trying to avoid!
Turn the thermostat down to 68° or lower to avoid another blackout. Minimize all other power use. This is a great time to break out the board games!
At present, the city recommends not dripping water to keep the pipes warm. If too many people drip water, it may cause a city water pressure crisis, which can prevent water from being used in hospitals or for fighting fires, for example. And if you are currently without water, you should get it back once power has been fully restored to Houston.
It certainly feels like winter this year, but we’re not so sure about the “Wonderland” part. With all that the city is going through right now, you would never believe that it will be 70° next week. Bring on the heat, we say!