Experts explain how to winterize your home and what is important for your safety kits

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 10:40:34-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.— After a January storm brought wind, rain, snow and flooding to Hampton Roads, we're preparing for the potential for more winter weather this season.

Experts say it's always important to be ready for a storm before it hits, and this winter is no exception.

News 3 talked to emergency management leaders here in Newport News, and they tell us it's important to have a plan but a safety kit is helpful.

George Glazner, the deputy coordinator of emergency management, said, "You need to have food, water and medications. If you're going to be leaving your home for some reason, make sure that you have insurance documents and other documents you need specifically for your care."

Glazner told us many people who may experience a power outage may want to hook up the generator; however, he advises families not to do so.

"Generators produce carbon monoxide, and it's a killer," Glazner explained. "Generators are meant to be outside and the cords run into the house. We have had people die from putting their generators in their garage and be left on for too long."

For families living in flood-prone areas, Glazner said it's best to stay prepared and move your cars ahead of time.

Also, when it comes to cell phones, experts say you shouldn't depend on them during a winter storm. It's best to write down any important phone numbers and put them in your kit.

Another concern is power outages. Without power, many things we do that are second nature to us can't be done.

Dominion Energy officials say if the power does go out, it's helpful to have a portable charger, extra batteries and a cell phone to report any outages.

"If your power goes out and if you have a generator, make sure it's fueled, tested and properly connected before any severe weather arrives," said Bonita Billingsley-Harris with Dominion Energy. "You want to make sure you follow all the manufactures instructions and operate outdoors with good ventilation, because we know how improper use of a generator can be damaging and life-threatening."

Experts also encourage people to winterize their homes, starting with weather-stripping doors and windows.

  • Add an insulation blanket to the water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating costs by helping the hot water tank to retain heat when not in use. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.
  • Add insulation to the attic. When adding insulation, start at the top and work down, but only after sealing against air infiltration.
  • Seal air leaks. Seal all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space, including entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires.
  • Seal ductwork. Make sure that all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections with foil-backed tape or silicon caulking. If not properly sealed, supply ductwork can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return duct work, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically.

For more weatherization tips and information, click here.