Last winter, Texans were faced with dangerous winter conditions of record cold temperatures. From February 13 – 17, 2021, we experienced a major winter and ice storm across most of Texas, including here in Corpus Christi. As we head into another winter season, many Texans are worried about being ready for another severe winter storm.
What lessons have we learned from last winter to make sure we keep our family safe?
What should homeowners across Texas, including here in Corpus Christi, do before the next round of freezing temperatures come?
Some of the worst situations that homeowners faced in 2021 during the winter storm in Texas include: power outages, power restoration delays, frozen water pipes, and other damage to property. Some people even lost loved ones during the winter. The death toll in Texas from that storm was around 200.
The power grid, operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, was unprepared for last winter’s harsh conditions. People across the state, including in Corpus Christi, experienced power outages. Some neighborhoods experienced power failures that lasted up to four days.
More than 4 million Texans were without power at one point during this past February’s winter storm.
With our winters being typically mild, many homeowners were caught unprepared for the extreme cold. Even with working electricity, many people across Corpus Christi simply do not have any sort of heating system in their home. While that is okay for a typical south Texas winter, homeowners need to be prepared if another extreme winter strikes.
What do Corpus Christi homeowners need to have in their homes to stay warm when the outside temperatures dip below freezing?
It is best to have power outage kits ready with batteries, flashlights, candles, or even a generator. Along with having backups for light or heat, here is a list of other items you should have in an emergency kit in case of a power outage in the winter.
Ready-to-eat food: Stock up on some foods that can be eaten without the need for electricity. Gather up non-perishable items along with plenty of bottled water to include in your Power Outage Emergency Kit.
Water Supply: In addition to having water available for drinking, consider having several jugs or other large containers of water. A big weather emergency has the potential of putting our water supply at risk, so having plenty of water can help you get by until the city water supply is restored.
Box of warm clothes and blankets: Have an emergency supply of coats, sweaters, wool socks, and heavy blankets.
Phone Charging Device: Have an external phone charger fully charged so that you do not lose the ability to call for help or to reach loved ones when your phone battery dies. You may want to keep this additional charger and a car adapter in your car’s glove box so that it is always ready when you need it.
Safe candles: Losing electricity will put you in the dark. While having candles around for such an emergency can be helpful, you want to be sure that you are lighting candles safely. Keep the flame out of reach of children, pets, chemicals, and anything flammable. Using candles in containers can be a good, safe way to provide light in a dark home.
Water Heater Blankets: It is important to keep hot water flowing through pipes during extremely cold temperatures. Water heater blankets add enough insulation to your water heater tank to reduce heat loss by 25% to 45%.
A List of Emergency Numbers Ready: Put emergency numbers in your phone now. If you run into problems with your heating system not working despite having electricity, you don’t want to waste time trying to track down help. Tiger Heating & Air provides emergency 24/7 heating repair service to the Corpus Christi area. Put our phone number – 361-852-4450 – in your contacts today.
Other advice to be prepared for a big winter storm:
Even if your home has a reliable heating system, problems can occur, even while it’s sitting dormant over the long Texas summer. Regular inspection and cleaning of home heating systems are important tasks to ensure your home is prepared when temperatures drop below freezing.
Padre Island pic.twitter.com/JoyleEtLj5— Caffeine (@GimmeeCoffeePlz) February 15, 2021
Check in on your neighbors, especially any elderly ones. Older people are especially at risk when temperatures drop too low. If you are experiencing power outages, make sure that everyone knows where to go if they need shelter from the cold if necessary. This includes family members or friends who live nearby with power that can offer assistance.
Also, have blankets, sleeping bags, pillows nearby so people will stay comfortable until help arrives or they’re able to walk outside safely for some time before returning indoors again. All of us need to help out our neighbors in need whenever we can. You may want to find out if you have any neighbors who do not have a heat source in their homes.
For the upcoming winter season of 2021-2022, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting colder than typical temperatures. In late January or early February, Texans and other people in the Southern Great Plains should prepare for cold and snowy weather. However, there is no way to know if we will experience as extreme of winter storm conditions as we did last year. Fortunately, the prediction is that this winter will not be as bad.
As far as our power grid, we can’t be sure the disaster will not happen again. The power grid in Texas is going through a major overhaul as we speak. While some work is being done to improve Texas power reliability, some electric grid experts say it will not be enough.
Perhaps one of the best ways to stay prepared for extreme temperatures is by ensuring that your home is ready to keep you warm through the winter.
If you do not currently have a heating system in your home, contact a local professional heating and air company about installing a heat pump or other system.
Tiger Heating & Air is the HVAC team people across Corpus Christi has been relying upon for decades. In addition to professional installation of air conditioners and cooling systems, we are trained and experienced in installing heat pumps, furnaces, and other types of heating system your home could need.
If you already have a furnace or other heating system in your home, you should get it checked out. Regular annual maintenance is key in ensuring any HVAC system works well and efficiently every time it’s needed. This is especially true if you have an older system. A furnace can last for as long as 20 years or more, but if it’s not maintained, a heating system might not even make it 10 years before breaking down and being beyond repair.
Our Tiger Heating & Air team of talented technicians are trained and experienced in repairing and servicing any type of heating system. Schedule a service visit with us today to make sure your system is tuned up and ready to handle the upcoming winter.