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Be Prepared if You Lose Power

With the upcoming blizzard and frigid temperatures in Northern Virginia, the question begs – “what do I do if my home’s power goes out?”

When your home loses power during the winter:


  • Call your power company to let them know you don’t have power. They may be inundated with calls or they may not be aware of the problem yet. Do not call 911 unless it’s an emergency!

  • If you own a portable generator, use it....But NEVER BRING IT INSIDE. Run the generator as far away from the house as possible and point the exhaust away from open doors and windows. Depending on the size of your portable generator, they can typically handle a refrigerator, a light and a small 1500W space heater. **Remember- a generator gives off Carbon Monixide, the same stuff that kills people who leave their car running in the garage.

  • If your home has a fireplace, light a fire or turn on your gas fireplace in your home. Be sure the flue is open and clear.

  • Gather everyone in one room – the room with either the space heater or fireplace – and close all the doors to trap as much heat as possible.

  • Add layers of clothing and put on a winter knit hat and gloves. You lose the most heat from your head and feet so make sure they are as warm as possible.

  • Make sure all the window coverings are closed to help prevent cold drafts from outside and the help to insulate the warmth inside.

  • Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge, causing harm to sensitive equipment. However, leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.

  • If you have an elderly neighbor, those who have medical conditions or those needing medical equipment, check on them to make sure they are dressed appropriately to stay warm.


  • Do not bring any type of outside heating sources into the home in the attempt to heat it. It’s a fire hazard and the fumes could be dangerous with restricted ventilation.

  • Don't ever bring your generator inside your house or garage!

  • Try to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Although the power is out, it still adds cool air to your house every time it’s opened. Besides that, keeping it closed will help preserve the food longer.

  • Don’t stay in wet clothing if you are coming in from the outdoors. Change clothes as quickly as possible to keep your body warm.

If you are considering a home in Northern Virginia or will be transferred to the Virginia and DC area with a military move, Heidi Robbins can help guide you every step of the way. You can email Heidi to set up a free consultation or give me a call at: 571-296-2312. I look forward to meeting with you!


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