To those of us in the northeast, getting through the winter is no mystery. We know the familiar grocery store rush before a nor’easter hits (milk, eggs, bread…) and the tricks to get a car unstuck from snow (hint: keep a small stash of kitty litter in your car). It’s easy to get complacent when you deal with winter weather year in and year out, but getting too comfortable can cost you time and money. Here are 5 things that can help you stay weather-ready this winter:
1. A Generator
Generators are great devices for powering your home in an emergency, but if you haven’t checked yours in the last few months, it might not operate when you most need it to. Check your user manual for what general maintenance your generator needs to function reliably. Skip this step and you might end up losing all of the food in your fridge and freezer and spending hundreds to replace it.
I only realized that my two flashlights didn’t work after the power went out one night. Not a great time to learn that. Every year or so, flip them on to make sure they still work the way you want them to. Starting to dim? Consider buying some backup bulbs or a new flashlight.
Almost as bad as realizing your flashlights don’t work is realizing you never bought batteries for your brand-new flashlights. Make sure to have plenty of backups of each size you need, just in case. Another tip: don’t store batteries in the tools themselves, especially if you don’t use them often. They can slowly drain the batteries over time and could even cause them to leak if left sitting long enough, forcing you to replace the batteries and whatever they were in. Keep batteries handy and pop them in when you need them.
4. An Additional Phone Battery
If you have advance warning that a severe storm might be heading your way, you probably know to charge devices like phones, laptops, and tablets. But if you lose power, it might not get restored before your phone battery runs out of juice. A backup portable battery is a handy tool to have just in case. Some have double or triple the capacity of the average smartphone, keeping you connected in a multi-day outage. If you have one of these, great! But remember to fully charge it before you need it!
5. A Plan
Whether you live alone or are part of a household of 10, you should have an emergency plan. If you live alone, where would you go if you couldn’t stay home, such as during an evacuation? Who would you contact? If you’re part of a large household, do all members of the household know and understand the emergency plan? Would you all be able to contact each other? These are just some of the questions you may want to ask yourself periodically so that everyone is on the same page.
Hanscom Federal Credit Union is a participating statewide lender for the Mass Save® Heat Loan program. To learn more about this program, what it covers and how to qualify, click here. Together with Mass Save®, we can help you make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.