Updated: Nov 23
We Texans have grown pretty familiar with polar vortices. Although it’s a little difficult to imagine how a polar vortex can make it all the way down to us–it has, and it probably will again!
First things first, what exactly is a polar vortex? According to the National Weather Service, a polar vortex is a “large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles”. These polar vortices exist year-round; however, they strengthen during that hemisphere’s winter and can move around into other parts of the world, bringing very cold, arctic air to areas that may not receive that level of cold very often. Although it may not seem like a big deal, polar vortices can be quite damaging to communities that don’t have the infrastructure to withstand the bitter cold–something that Texans experienced in February of 2021 in what is now called the North American Cold Wave.
All Texans know at this point that a polar vortex is something worth preparing for. It may not mean just cold temperatures–it can mean long-winded power outages, lack of water, and no indoor heat. What are some things you can do to make sure your family and your home stay safe in the event of a polar vortex?
Prepare for power outages
In the land of hurricanes, we aren’t strangers to power outages. When it comes to a winter outage, it’s very important to make sure you’re stocked with water, lots of blankets, flashlights, candles, and nonperishable foods. If you can even prepare your home with a backup generator–even better. Trying to make sure that your electronic devices remained charged up is also important, and portable charging devices can provide some relief during those times as well.
Prepare your car
Filling up your tank and outfitting your car with some winter necessities like blankets and flashlights can really help in the long run. During particularly severe polar vortices, it’s not uncommon to see a state of emergency emerge, and having a full tank of gas can take a huge burden off your shoulders in the event of an emergency.
Make sure your home is protected
During polar vortices, the temperature will drop significantly and wind speeds can pick up to unsafe speeds, which can force extremely cold air into your home if it’s not secured enough. Before the vortex hits, make sure to go around your home to make sure all doors and windows are closed, locked, and secured to ensure that the cold air won’t break its way into your home.
Watch your pipes
One of the biggest things on a homeowner's mind during the cold temperatures is undoubtedly the pipes! Keeping your home at a steady temperature, opening cabinets to allow warmer air to course around pipes, and letting your faucets drip during freezes can save your pipes and your wallet from frozen or busted pipes due to freezing temperatures.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
With your furnace running during the polar vortex (or any winter, really), the risk of carbon monoxide in the air is naturally higher as you are using a gas-powered appliance. Since carbon monoxide originates from furnaces, it’s very important to not only have your furnace checked out before the winter season as you winterize your home but to also make sure that your detectors are fully functioning.
The bottom line
Your health and safety are important, and a severe winter vortex can jeopardize that. In the wake of a winter vortex, take the proper precautions to secure your home and yourself to keep you and your family out of harm's way.
Interested in a furnace inspection or need help winterizing your HVAC system for the coming winter season? Please, don’t hesitate in giving us a call here at Tri-Point Refrigeration. We’re happy to hear from you and are excited to help you along the way.
For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community.
Or check out our website at www.tripointrefrigeration.com