Preparedness blog

How to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

By Ready Expert
More from this author

Now that the winter months are upon us, we need to be prepared for power outages. How do you stay warm if the power goes out during a cold winter storm? Here are some points to consider:

Move to One Room
Instead of trying to heat the whole house, focus your attention on heating just one room of the house. Everyone’s body heat in one room is a great help to keeping everyone warm. Try to pick a room that gets a lot of natural sunlight and has a heating source. Ideally, you would pick a windowed room on the southwest side of your home.

“We’re Not Heating the Neighborhood!”
Like your parents yelled at you as a kid, “We’re not trying to heat the neighborhood!” Try to plug up all those leaks where the heat is seeping out of the room. Stuff towels and small blankets into window sills, door frames and other areas where the heat is leaking out.

Shower Curtains Over Windows
You’ll want to keep heat in your room but still allow natural light to enter the room from a window.brown house surrounded by pine trees covered with snow A great way to help you do that is with a shower curtain. Remove the shower curtain from the bathroom - without power no one is going to want to take a cold shower anyways. Carefully tape or attach the clear shower curtain to the wall so that natural light can come through the curtain but it prevents hot air from leaving through the window.

Rugs or Carpet
Make sure that heat isn’t escaping through the floor either. Take rugs and mats from around the home and lay them down in your room. Add a few layers between you and the cold floor.

Tents in the Living Room
A great idea that we have seen is to set up tents inside your living room. One family had a tent for the boys and a tent for the girls. This trapped in the heat to an even more confined area inside their living room.

Put on a Hat
“[The] reason we lose heat through our head is because most of the time when we’re … in the cold, we’re clothed,” said Richard Ingebretsen, adjunct instructor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.”

Leave During the Day
You don’t want your home to become a cold dungeon. Make the family go outside and soak up the rays during the day. Obviously, if there is a winter storm, you’ll have to stay indoors. But make the house a warm location to return to at the end of the day instead of a cold jail.

Eat Before You Go To Bed
By eating before you go to bed, your body will be digesting during the night time - keeping you a little warmer than normal as you sleep.


#10 Cans

12 years ago
Comments
Susan
12 years ago at 3:42 AM
Lucky for us we have a fireplace. We can seal off the livingroom and gather sleeping bags for everyone. We can cook over the fire, play games(until dark) and then it's bedtime for all.
Lloyd
12 years ago at 4:06 AM
I wear as many layers of clothes as necessary inside. Sometimes that is a t-shirt, a heavy shirt and 3 wool sweaters; and long underwear, heavy trousers and wind pants over that. The wind pants work wonders. Of course, heavy wool socks in shoes that are not too tight, or down or fiberfill booties. About 5 blankets on the bed at night. Dressing this way, I don't need to use the heat at all. My electric bill is about $30 a month. You better be a loner, though. Friends won't tolerate such a cold house.
Doug
12 years ago at 4:33 AM
Our kids really enjoyed the winter we had to set up the tent inside the house. Stayed comfortable, but even more important to them was it was fun. They loaded it up with their stuffed animals, and played. Making the time pass without computers and/or television.
Diane
12 years ago at 5:17 AM
Layers of lightweight cotton clothing is one way that I have kept warm during the winter months. When I was a child, my mother and grandparents also had wool and thermal blankets for sleeping. I live in southwest Texas where it doesn't get cold for very long, but I still use lightweight layered clothing and a sweater when we do get a cold snap.
Daniel
12 years ago at 5:59 AM
I have an inverter for my car that I got off of solar1234.com and I can connect little heaters to it. I also have a mr heater it runs of little bottles of propane.
J K
12 years ago at 6:43 AM
When the power goes out, we stay warm by going into the den. We have a gas fireplace there.Having it on low does a great job. We profer to cook outside on the gas grill, which we keep several extra 40lb tanks of fuel in storage.
Rebecca
12 years ago at 6:45 AM
So this might be an obvious thing, but isn't it true that 9 months after blackouts, power outages, etc. that there is a spike in babies being born? :) I suppose that it would be hard to get all "lovey" with kids around, but it sure keeps me warm! (We don't have any kids in the house). Another idea is to cuddle up with your dog/cat. I tell you, even in the middle of winter I don't need to sleep with covers if I have my dogs and cat up on the bed with me. They are 100 lb boxers and LOVE to cuddle. My cat is just a 13 lb long haired tortie and her favorite place is laying directly on my chest. Her purrs put me to sleep while I can almost guarantee they have heat emitting cells in their body. Awesome in the winter, not so awesome in the summer.
JOAN
12 years ago at 7:42 AM
This is always been my greatest fear. I have no fire place in my home and often wondered what i would do in a situation like this. I have a basement and found that it is actually warmer down there than upstairs during a power outage. I purchased a severe weather sleeping bag at WalMart for $40.00. I like the tent idea inside a room, so that will be my next purchase.
TX Griff
3 years ago at 9:06 PM
Joan... fear not. And yes, your basement, being below ground, will be warmer than most anyplace upstairs. The basement won't get any colder than the dirt surrounding it... see this link for the mean annual earth temperature (the U.S. shown) with the lowest earth temp of 42°F near the Canadian border, and 77°F mean temp deep in Florida. With this info, you can figure out approximately how cold your basement could get, and prepare for that. Don't sleep on a cement or stone or dirt floor... raise yourself up a bit and use a military surplus foam sleeping pad under you. Your choice of sleeping bag is GREAT. Get some hot water bottles (adult-sized or baby-sized) and fill them with water your propane camp stove almost boiled... add them to your sleeping bag when you're ready for bed. Carry one around in your hoddie's kangaroo pocket during the day. Keep enough propane to ensure you can boil water for pasta (carbs help keep you warm) and warm drinks, be they coffee or tea or cocoa or whatever. ;-) You can get quick & easy protein with freeze-dried eggs (scrambled) and freeze-dried butter. Add some freeze-dried veggies and cheese and you've got a 5-star meal. For additional heat, I strongly suggest one of the Mr Buddy propane heaters. Buy a handful of shower curtains so you can section off a piece of your basement and keep the heat in your space. Make sure you have WATER and lots of it. You'll need it for cooking, and hot drinks, and hygiene... although you should limit your hygiene to the bare minimum. So that covers the bare essentials to keep you not just alive, but comfortable, too. Add some entertainment --cards, books, magazines, puzzles, word search books, a Kindle/Nook, etc-- and you'll be good to go. Charge your phone and any other electronics with multiple solar power banks. Put them in the windows upstairs that receive sun and rotate them throughout the day so they get as much sun as possible. Don't forget, your car can charge electronics too. In cold months, never let your car get below 1/2 - 3/4s of a tank before filling it up again. You'll be glad you did. Best wishes!
Susan
12 years ago at 8:13 AM
Candles. Stock up on cheap candles and burn them around the room. It generates both heat and light and cheers the atmosphere.
Lisa
9 years ago at 6:57 PM
If you take small flower pots and put them upside down on the candles it throws off quite a bit of heat. The terra cotta pots soak up and transfer the heat quite well. I have heated my horse trailer up to comfortable with 4 votives like this in 19 degree weather.
Cathy
12 years ago at 8:38 AM
I think my favorite idea is the tent inside the house. That makes things fun and contained.
gwynmarilyn
12 years ago at 9:39 AM
The candle idea must be used careful but if you do use candle put up your mirrors as well it spread the light around.
MrsP
12 years ago at 10:28 AM
We have a wood-burning stove that does double duty as a cook top. It was the only reason we were able to stay in our home during a 10-day outage due to an ice storm.
TLS
12 years ago at 11:35 AM
We have a wood stove and keep well supplied with wood over the winter. The stove will just about cook us out of the huge room it is in so we don't even have to close it off. It will heat a good portion of the rest of the house as well. We can also cook on it, so it can do double duty. A fireplace comes in second to a wood stove as the majority of the heat from a fireplace goes right up the chimney, although it's certainly better than nothing!
bre
12 years ago at 11:44 AM
We get out our emergency candle. It is smoke and smell-less so it is safe to use indoors. We move to one are of the house, bring in all the blankets and put on our sweats. We have had the power go out in snow storms and our room stays toasty enough we can usually move throughout the room without a chill. We do all of the things listed, but we add the emergency candles.
Liz
12 years ago at 12:23 PM
Warm bricks in your fireplace. Carefully wrap in many layers of old blankets or towels to avoid burns to skin. Cuddle with wrapped brick in sleeping bag or place at bottom of bag to keep feet warm.
Larry Q
12 years ago at 1:16 PM
I have wall sconces in every room that hold candles safely up out of reach.
Julie
12 years ago at 1:24 PM
The hand warmers are great too, put them in your shoes.
Dawn
12 years ago at 3:57 PM
We use hot hands toe, body, hand and insole foot warmers. Also ThermaCare back/hip wrap. Also their neck warmers. We keep these items in our cars also. If your stuck in trafic , you won't freeze.
Kim P.
3 years ago at 12:57 PM
Those warmers do a great job - I use them on top of each foot inside a double layer of socks, on the underside of wrists inside wool gloves and under a scarf wrapped around my neck when doing chores outside while wearing insulated winter coveralls - keeps me toasty warm and happy!
sawman
12 years ago at 5:19 PM
We have lived off the grid for 20 years, we heat our 1200 sq ft house with a wood burning cookstove, its great to cook on, [chech out www.lehams.com Bakers choice] Lehmans is a non-electric catalog for the Amish and us. For a bathroom you can use a 5 gal bucket with sawdust and a seat or you can use you toliet with a shopping bag and tie it up and dispose of it.
Dave
12 years ago at 6:00 PM
We rely upon redundant backup electric generation/storage systems. A whole house propane generator with 500 gallons of propane on the property is the first line of defense. Secondly,an older gas powered generator can provide power to all critical household support systems; pellet stove or gas furnace for heat, refrigerator, freezer, water heater and water pump. Finally, I use a 600 watt DC to AC inverter with a pair of deep cycle batteries when it's not appropriate to waist fuel on a generator, like during the early morning hours while sleeping.
Kenny
12 years ago at 6:09 PM
During our week long outage after Sandy, my wife and I would heat up a big 5 gallon pot of water on the propane burner. We'd take the hot water into the shower and just use a cup to shower with the hot water. Any water left in the pot, we covered, and then wrapped the pot with towels. It would keep a small room ,(bedroom or bathroom) warm for up to 8 hours!
John
12 years ago at 8:18 PM
@gigi Really depends on how your home and plumbing is laid out. Might ask a trusted handy-person friend for suggestions. I'd try to shut off and drain (or at least remove the pressure) from any taps you wont need - that might save some burst pipes later. Leaving a tap dripping water helps keep it from freezing. RV antifreeze in the commode tank and bowl will keep the standing water from freezing solid. Put a little down the sink drains too. One possibility to prepare now, if your circumstances allow, might be to "T" off a new water line near where the water main enters your home using a burst resistant water line like PEX. Wouldn't have to be fancy or expensive, just a piece of flexible PEX pipe and a shutoff valve at the end. An indoor garden hose basically. That way, you might be able to keep one source of clean water available, and carry buckets/pails to the bathroom to flush. If nothing else will work, then store lots of 5-gallon buckets and fill the bathtub. Add RV antifreeze to both, and use that for flushing water until it runs out. Good luck.
John
12 years ago at 8:22 PM
@gigi Sorry if this is a duplicate... Really depends on how your home and plumbing is laid out. Might ask a trusted handy-person friend for suggestions. I'd try to shut off and drain (or at least remove the pressure) from any taps you wont need - that might save some burst pipes later. Leaving a tap dripping water helps keep it from freezing. RV antifreeze in the commode tank and bowl will keep the standing water from freezing solid. Put a little down the sink drains too. One possibility to prepare now, if your circumstances allow, might be to "T" off a new water line near where the water main enters your home using a burst resistant water line like PEX. Wouldn't have to be fancy or expensive, just a piece of flexible PEX pipe and a shutoff valve at the end. An indoor garden hose basically. That way, you might be able to keep one source of clean water available, and carry buckets/pails to the bathroom to flush. If nothing else will work, then store lots of 5-gallon buckets and fill the bathtub. Add RV antifreeze to both, and use that for flushing water until it runs out. Good luck.
KO
12 years ago at 2:50 PM
You all gave great suggestions. One that everyone missed is the bathroom issue. Don't waste good water flushing the toilet. Wait until it starts to become foul (urine only)it will flush easily. Collect all your gray water and use that to flush your "duty". Conservation of good water is really important if there is no electricity at the water plant to pump water to your homes. You don't know how long the power will be down.
Chris
12 years ago at 12:03 PM
Highways closed, trees down from 2ft of snow & 13 days w/o power from snowicane sandy. Hauled water from our nearby creek to flush toilet. Car charged kids portable dvd player for nightly movies. Cozy fireplace. Bar-b-q food, snacks, roast marshmallows, camp soup. Wait, we're supposed to be suffering? Just like camping! We did this in July after the windstorm, except 5 days no power & it was very hot! Thank God I live in WV!
Christine
12 years ago at 2:57 PM
We use the 3 "C"'s....clothing, carbs, and chimney. Layers upon layers of clothing, loading up on carbohydrates, and using our fireplace to cook, bake, boil water for hot drinks, and for heat. I guess that you could add a 4th c.....cuddling!
Grimey
12 years ago at 2:54 AM
Good ideas. Do be careful about 'sealing off' a room if you are burning fuel in a fireplace or (especially) if you are thinking of a portable gas or kerosene fire, people die from this! A BBQ inside could do the same. I like the idea of getting outside during the day. We were stuck at home last year for a few days but the walks in the snow were magical.
Gene
12 years ago at 4:34 PM
You DO NOT want to use aviation or jet kerosene in a kerosene heater REGARDLESS of cost. Aviation kerosene or Jet A, contains more sulphur than K-1kerosene. It does not burn as clean as the K-1does. Go to the service station and get K-1 from the pump.
mike
12 years ago at 7:14 PM
heat up water over candles a humid room is warmer then a dry one
Neva
11 years ago at 3:21 AM
I printed out the instructions for draining my pipes (there would be no internet if there is no electricity) and bought a couple of gallons of antifreeze to pour into the toilet, washing machine etc. Make sure you get the kind suitable for houses -- not cars. Then I bought two Kandle Heeters. It is amazing how much heat they provide. You can use 5 oz jar candles or 50 hour liquid paraffin lamps, available at restaurant supply houses. The liquid paraffin lamps work better. I bought a case of them on line. I bought a solar panel but it didn't work and the company wouldn't refund my money. I wish I had a fireplace!
GreatDepression
11 years ago at 3:28 AM
One of my favorite things to help keep warm is by using newspaper. Layer newspaper in between your layers of clothes. Another is to take house bricks that have been placed in your fire while cooking. Once your done cooking remove the bricks and wrap in tinfoil being careful because they are very very hot. Then I would nest the tinfoil wrapped brick in some newspaper and place inside a cast iron pot with a lid. Bring inside the tent to keep warm will throw off heat for hours.
Jolly
11 years ago at 7:00 AM
Kerosene heaters are much safer than gasoline and unvented propane heaters; far less carbon-monoxide is emitted. Naturally, you'll want to crack a window or door for ventilation. For fuel - in the US, you can substitute diesel fuel for kerosene. Modern diesel has virtually no sulphur. However, some heaters don't like it, or the wicks clog prematurely. The wick problems also are frequently caused by dyed kerosene. If available, you want "clear" kerosene. As for heaters, I recommend those that use all cotton wicks, which run both dyed kerosene, diesel, and dyed diesel. These heaters include Omni-15, Kerosun "Rainbow", any Perfection, and Aladdin "Blue Flame" heaters. We heat about 50% with these heaters, and they are very safe. Kerosene / diesel is not volatile in the same manner as gasoline. If you throw a lit match in a bowl of kerosene, the match will extinguish.
Donna Brown
11 years ago at 7:42 AM
I like the fact that you've suggested things that were not bought specifically for the purpose of a power outage. A word about my experience with fireplaces is that fireplaces work fine when temperatures hover just below freezing, but if the temperatures plummet, a fireplace will draw heat from the room in order to keep the fire going. Also if using a propane or kerosene heat source, having a monitor to carbon monoxide levels may mean the difference between life and death. Candles may be cheap, but they also can lead to oxygen depletion. Plants inside your home and in the room will literally improve the atmosphere in that room both to help deplete the carbon monoxide and will also help keep the humidity up in the room and therefore making it seem even warmer.
Zoe
11 years ago at 9:05 AM
Go to a motel.
Sarah R
11 years ago at 9:18 AM
A lot of great tips. One thing about candles. Don't use your scented candles for light and heat. They are intended for short term use only. The scent can cause headache and nausea if they are used for more than a little while. Emergency candles are the best for light. They are unscented, burn longer and often with less mess from melting wax. As all ways, use caution with any open flame.
moma rox
11 years ago at 9:47 AM
Have some solar outdoor lights you can bring in for lighting inside. Saves on batteries and will charge through a window.
mallardhen
11 years ago at 6:12 PM
I save cat litter jugs and store water in them for toilet flushing I usually wash and clean them using a little clorox in them so you could even use them for drinking water they are easier to manage then a bucket. Layering is a good thing but since we heat our home with a wood stove and have a propane cook stove we are covered for just about anything. I also have knitting needles that light up so they help to pass the time and do something productive.
Matt
11 years ago at 2:09 PM
I have a few stand alone heating sources that don't require electricity. Vent free gas fireplaces and Kerosene heaters are always a good option. I also have some dual fuel natural gas/propane fireplaces and a ethanol fireplace( get one that uses liquid not gel) you can make your own fuel them. Another good option is a military surplus m 1941 multi-fuel heater. you'll need to prefab a simple hearth(brick pavers work well) for it and build a flue pipe that will let you vent out of a window. cut a hole in a peice of 3/4 plywood 4 inches larger than what you need for the flue and then flash it with metal and fire proof foam(the orange can).
Steve
11 years ago at 6:24 PM
We just survived two days of the blizzard of 2013 here on Cape Cod with no power or heat. Those two indoor 40 degree days, cooking over a fireplace or butane burner, are it. Kerosene indoors illegal in MA and too dangerous IMO. Down sleeping bags and jackets all day, no hot showers. Writing this note from clean, warm, wifi-enabled, cheap off-season motel room, last one in town full of freezing, in-the-dark, tired, dirty folks. Not fun here. You have to know when to hold and when to fold. Will stay here until power returns and heat available.
Robert
11 years ago at 7:59 PM
There are handy propane heaters by Mr Heater. I have the "Big buddy" it runs off the smaller propane tanks (2 for $6 at big box stores) or with a hose a 20 lb tank. It has a pilot light that will go out if the oxygen content gets too low in the room, when the pilot goes out a thermocouple gets cold and shuts off the gas. You can also put 4 D cell batteries in it and it will blow out hot air in addition to the radiant heat. If you have a fireplace consider that a fire burning in the house sends the majority of the heat up the chimney, and warm air, that warm air has to be replaced from somewhere, and that somewhere is likely from outside where it's already cold. If you're going to burn, consider purchasing a fireplace insert, the ones with fans in them won't work if you have no source of electricity but at least they send less heat up the chimney. A small generator or inverter system will run the fans even if they don't have the power to run your home heating system. If you have an electric range consider a small "coleman" type stove either liquid fuel or gas. Cook in a sun room or in another room you can crack a window in and make a hot meal with hot drinks. That warms you a lot more than eating cold food.
ShirleyD
5 years ago at 12:36 PM
I also chose the Big Buddy from Mr Heater for the safety features that allow indoor use. Mine also has a tip-over switch that will shut off the heater if it accidentally turns over. I also have a combination smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. This heater will heat the whole apt and keep my pipes from freezing up. I live in a small one-bedroom apt and am in a wheelchair. I get someone to get it down from the closet shelf at the beginning of cold weather and I get it ready for an emergency power outage. (Buy propane tanks, check to see that it works correctly and then leave it where I will be using it if I need it.) We don't have many power outages here, but Im pretty old and I want to be warm when it does happen! We have many more water outages and boil water advisories here since I live in an old small town with old water pipes. So I keep a lot of water stored up in used clorox bottles and 3 liter water bottles which is the most weight I can handle. I also have several different kinds of small stoves so that I can at least have something hot to drink and eat.
AT
11 years ago at 8:42 PM
I tried to figure this out after Hurricane Sandy. What I came up with is 1. buy a minus-zero rated sleeping bag for winter camping. 2. buy hot water bottles. 3. buy a high quality winter parka like something from Marmot or North Face. Put all of this together in one room and you will stay warm. The sub-zero sleeping bag is really, really warm. Make sure to have plenty of food and water. Sandy was a huge wake up call for us in the Northeast.
Jessie Lauver
11 years ago at 7:58 PM
Well we heat with wood! House is under ground on 2.5 sides and maintains great heat(70 to 80). but I like the idea of the quart paint cans with a roll of cheap T-paper stuffed inside then fill with denatured alcohol then you light the alcohol the TP doesn't burn! makes a nice cheap little heater in a pinch I sit mine on a terracotta saucer! Nice to heat small areas, can be refilled TP never needs changed!... just an Idea!
Barry
11 years ago at 8:02 AM
Fire up the generator and run all major appliances and pellet stoves. I keep enough fuel on hand for a week.If your area is prone to black outs this is the only way to go. You can a small generator to run electric heaters pretty cheap.
Janet
11 years ago at 8:25 AM
A car battery, an inverter, and an electric blanket will keep you toasty for weeks!
Rod H
11 years ago at 9:45 AM
Use a gas oven and bake cookies, bread and your meals while leaving it on, gas ovens and gas fireplaces can run without power! Run your gas hot water heater, gas water heaters do not take power and can heat the whole house if you let it run a little in each bathroom, tub, sinks etc... Make hot chocolate with the water! Hot water bottles for your bed! Save the water until it gets cold and has given off its BTU's to below room temperature!
Jon
11 years ago at 2:44 PM
Be sure to have a good carbon monoxide detector. It is the #1 killer during a disaster! Remember the Boy Scout motto "Be prepared!"
KO
11 years ago at 4:14 PM
Special note! If you want to bake with a gas stove be sure it is not digital. Digital ovens need electricity. Found out the hard way during the blizzard Atlas. Tried the decorative candles and before long the scents do give you a headache. Remember some candles have lead wicks. Please do not use these because of the poisonous effect to your body. If you have a good supply of batteries you can use the lights advertised on tv. Flashlights pointed to the white ceiling will provide more light than just pointing at something in the room.
Jason
11 years ago at 5:15 PM
Hard alcohol, beef stew, everything else everyone said plus hanging foil on the walls to reflect heat in.
tom
11 years ago at 6:16 PM
ive been using kerosene heaters for over 35 years to heat my home. when we were doing renovations, and had no insulation or ceilings, the kerosene heaters were used exclusively to heat our home. we do leave them on all night..obviously, in a safe location. now i supplement the oil furnace hot water heat with kerosene. i have 8 heaters ranging in all different sizes and heat output. we run the small 8700 btu heater at night. the big 23000btu heaters will heat my 1400 sf home to 85 degrees on the coldest day of the year. no power, no problem. no shelters for this family during a winter power outage. i store about 250 gallons of kerosene for my winter heating needs..not too sure about the diesel fuel in these heaters, as someone mentioned..heard it can clog up the wicks pretty quick..keep plenty of spare wicks handy, keep them clean and they'll last forever. many good deals on these heaters on ebay...
PaulaP
11 years ago at 4:31 PM
It's not cold here yet, but we are making one of those Clay Flower Pot heaters that works with candles. If it works, we may make several to put in cold spots around the living room.
Idda
11 years ago at 9:04 AM
No one has mentioned the use of solar generators. Has anyone ever used one as back-up? I am thinking of getting one. Someone did mention using a converter for the car battery. Anyone have experience or ideas?
Jason
11 years ago at 12:36 PM
Actually in process with company. I live in northeast they let you lease the panels to make it more affordable. They are merging with tesla to make back up solar generators bc they direct Line converter would mean have to cut off ui which would not help in winter. Kinda build a credit during summer and use to pay electric in winter.
Carol
11 years ago at 3:19 PM
A wood stove is a must have. I live in AK so not having one is not an option. The power goes out frequently in the winter here with feet of snow on the ground. Or put in a wood stove insert in your fireplace. My three bedroom house stays toasty in sub zero temps. Plus you can cook on the top of it.
Kathy Ebert
11 years ago at 11:18 PM
****Someone asked about keeping pipes from freezing, my solution to this is we have taken everything out of the kitchen cabinet and put a couple candles in there with the doors open , the bathroom the same way. My tips are, make sure you have plenty of water saved, plenty of canned foods, chips, those type things, boxed juices, etc... we have an old bidet in this house and when theres no water we put a trash bag in it and use it like a toilet.Also do our cooking on a portable 2 burner propane grill. We use a generator when the electricity goes off, works best for us. If we had a couple fireplaces we would use those instead.
Al Searsa
11 years ago at 7:42 PM
I will throw in a few suggestions that I know work. Have on hand chemical body heating pads like one would use when hunting, etc. They'll last for hours. Heat soup, etc. in the can by running hot water over them (need gas water heater). This works best if you turn up the water temperature and place the soup can in a small pot and run the water to keep it heating. The contents will reach the temp. of the water.... eventually. Place an small LED flash light in the center of a roll of TP. With the light directed to a white ceiling you'll have a lantern that will fill an area with light for hours (depending on the strength of the batteries) Keep canned heat on hand for cooking. It is safe for indoor use. You'll either have to have a stand or devise one from available utensils, etc. If you have a gas outdoor grill in a covered area you can use it for cooking all sorts of things. And easy emergency stove can be made by removing the center of a roll of TP and stuffing the roll into a metal can. This is then soaked with alcohol. Wood alcohol would be best but even 90% rubbing alcohol will work in an emergency. I have even done this by stuffing a partial roll in a green bean can. For safety I'd use any alcohol, etc. stove in a really fire safe place. I have used the kitchen sink. Even in the South, it is a good idea to have some cold weather clothing available for extended survival periods. By this I mean that even if you seldom would wear insulated underwear, it is a good idea to have some on hand. And, it is a good idea to give some thought to summer survival, also. If a wide area loses electrical power in summer you have a major problem. Have experienced that twice during the last few years due to storms.
Jason
11 years ago at 9:39 PM
For pipes they do sell variations of foam to wrap pipes. Can also uses towels. If frozen can boil water n soak towels in them but not so the towel is dripping then wrap towels. Also things like body warmers even thermacare can wrap pipes.. Can use to wraps for body too. But taking steps for prevention is always better then doing reaction. Insulated also helps in summer to cool house. Saves money after about 3years from cost of install. Did do clay pot heaters just to see worked better then expected. ANY TIPs for a warm bath besides boiling water?
Chris
11 years ago at 10:32 AM
When the power goes out at my house in the winter, I gtfo out of my house.
Carrie
11 years ago at 2:59 PM
Regarding bathroom needs, you can get a 5 gallon bucket and a seat for it for toilet use. Amazon has a few to choose from. In a pinch, a big bag of Feline Pine cat litter to use as your saw dust if you have none handy. Double bag the bucket with kitchen wastebasket liners and discard when full. If the saw dust doesn't cut the smell enough, then baking soda should be okay to help with that as well. For showering, get a solar camping shower and find a sunny flat spot to let it lay out most of the day. It will heat the water so hot you might have to cool it down to use it. It works by gravity, so if you have a place to hang it in your shower, go for it. I lived several weeks without running hot water (during the spring in California) and about a week when the gas water heater was flooded in the winter. The solar shower is very much worth the money. I can also vouch for the tent idea. If it's super, super cold, do a tent within a tent. Did that for a couple of days up in the mountains of California. It definitely works. Also makes it so you can get to clothing, etc, within the first tent, but leave only blankets, etc. in the inner tent. Also gives those larger tents that are imperfect (have a rip in them) a second life.
Debbie
11 years ago at 10:01 PM
Tent, sleeping bags, foam mattress (keeps heat), dogs that sleep with you, cook on grill outside. Genius husband built solar generator (my idea) that uses two solar panels, inverter and two batteries. Can run the refrigerator on it. Silent too. Went camping last week and used it to run electric blanket at night (hooked into motorhome). Can sleep in motor home if needed, it has propane furnace and solar power, kitchen, propane refrigerator and a three beds and TV. I have plenty of LED battery operated lights. Have fireplace and know how to build a rocket stove using bricks, but that is for outside only. I suppose you could use it in the fireplace. Also have wind generator that charges batteries. We also have a piss pot my grandma had. Works in a pinch. Good luck all.
John
11 years ago at 5:52 PM
The basement. We stayed in our basement for 5 days. The temp was 60 degrees. The man cave is there. The bar has running water and is always stocked with beer. Also, we have a half bath down there so we only had to go up for showers. We keep our camping gear in the basement too, but brought down extra blankets and pillows.
chris
10 years ago at 8:09 PM
along with these excellent ideas, when you don't have a portable heater, the tea candles and pottery is the easiest cheapest way to go. Also get cheap imitation fleece blankets from costcos or any wholesale store for about 10 -15 dollars. two per person will keep you warm when you sleep and don't forget fleece leggings. excellent insulation. once your face is warm and feet you will sleep warm and peacefully. heat hands throughout the day. and cover you ears and neck. keeping the wrist and neck warm will help keep the rest of you warm. those are pressure points.
emily
10 years ago at 12:38 PM
Also if you have a fire place, try to get a good supply of firewood of time. If you lose power, the firewood will help the house warm or a room warm. It really helped during the October 2011 snowstorm.
Stan
10 years ago at 9:46 PM
Re:the mention of jet fuel for a heater. Jet fuel is nothing more than super refined kerosene. I'm retired from an Int. Airport.
Cat
10 years ago at 2:59 AM
Tennessee does not get too many snow storms, but ice is another matter and the power can be off for days. Besides wearing the correct clothing, insluating,led lighting, etc., I do have a living room with a south facing glass porch, the obvious room to use. I would also stock up on gas since I have a 2500 continuous AC inverter (I usually use with a solar panel)I can connect to a car battery via small cables to run a small heater. My camping gear, general knowledge gained after studing what to do if the power goes off for a long time, and a 2 dog night (2 border collies who love to snuggle)should take care of the rest. Unfortunatly, we all need to think about if a terrorist group targets the power grid during winter. I plan to be ready.
sharon
10 years ago at 12:41 PM
I got all of my biggest pots, filled them with water and heated them to boiling (lucky to have gas stove) and then had some radiant heat.
Name jennie
10 years ago at 10:18 PM
So many comments! For both camping and emergency, our "toilet" is a big huge Tupperware container-I think it was the 10 pound flour container. It has (always) a roll of hefty heavy duty bags inside. In an emergency, use a bag as a liner, and the container as your port-a-potty. The seal (airtight and liquid tight) contains any smells, and when it gets full, tie off the bag, store in the tub you won't be using, and put another bag on. You can even use your own toilet seat.
Dj
10 years ago at 11:17 AM
A few years back I ran across a sale of 4 b 8 ft half inch (rigid) foam insulation for $5 a sheet (they are about $12 retail). I cut pieces to fit our windows. They weigh nothing and go into place quickly by hand in the frame between the window and the blinds. Wherever I wanted to have a window I can open or just let some extra light in on a nice day, I cut the foam panel about 6 inches too long, then split them in two. These two pieces overlap 6 inches and they slide open very easily to partly expose the window. In the spring they come out and store easily behind a door (be sure to mark the room/wall in the inside upper right corner of each panel so they go back to the right window next year.) Installation and removal takes less than an hour. I don't what my $40 investment saves us per year, but I do know the house is much cozier the day after I install them than the day before.
MerriAnn McLain
10 years ago at 5:06 AM
We use thermal weave blankets, rather than flannel sheets. The blankets are less expensive and we stay toasty.
Reid
10 years ago at 8:37 AM
I have a blue flame NG heater 30,000 BTU it's able to operate without electricity and can heat 1000 Sq ft.
Tyler
10 years ago at 7:32 AM
I go outside and plug in the generator so I can run just about everything in my house as normal. Including the outdoor wood burning boiler. Also make sure there is plenty of food in the house all winter long.
Tilas
10 years ago at 10:46 PM
In 2009 we were with out power for about 7 days. My son 3 @ the time didn't have the confidence in my decision to stay in this cold dark house. The warmest place was in the bathroom after the shower. I remember when I was a soldier going to the field I slept with my clothes in the sleeping bag so they would be warm the next day. So slept on our clothes. When this was over I had to think what I could do so this wouldn't happen again. Later I had a professor he talked about different energies and mention a wood stove was a good source. Since investing in the stove we haven't had a bad storm. We now have a wood stove for heating and cooking, oil lamps, candles, flash lights with extra batteries and extra bulbs. I also almost always have wood. People are always cutting trees down and will give it away. And a lot of times I can find the wood on the side of the road. But if I'm missing something please let me know.
Name Foy
10 years ago at 7:31 PM
What a wonderful bunch of hints and ideas. I am a 70 yr old woman wondering what is coming our way. These ideas have been a great help and I intend to use all that my pocketbook will allow....thanks to all who took the time to write.
Cherie Lynnae Whitaker
9 years ago at 10:15 PM
I have a Goal yeti 1250 and i love it. its a solar panel generator that will keep my freezer frozen, the fridge cold and the rest of the household needs, just switching it for what ever needs I have. I have many solar lights, the one i like most is the Apollo Solar Inflatable Camping Lantern they are great!! I also have a gas generator. I have done great research for whats workable for me, and prepared incase of another earthquake or something. We even have to deal with a drought now so Im studying up on what I can do and sustain a garden of food organic to eat with a drought... its worth the education and research. Sharing is important too. we teach each other. I will share , the most important thing in any emergency..water. It becomes something money cant buy.. its more valuable than gold. Be prepared!
NameJoyce Powell
9 years ago at 11:19 AM
Few years ago was in ice storm that parts of county without power for 6 weeks. My electric off for week, in my mobil home to keep sewer lines from freezing 2 toilets I placed a couple metal baking pans with 3 lit multi wick candles 2or3 in each pan, then returned daily to check on them, since bathrooms could be closed off the heat from candles kept rooms warm and kept water from freezing sewer lines. This worked as neighbors had frozen sewers. Make sure nothing around that could catch fire for safety.
Gigi
9 years ago at 7:26 PM
Great ideas, folks! Thanks for sharing. I had read about the flower pot/candle heaters, but have not tried them yet. Will now do so. Also, good to know about solar items which really will work. I have been unimpressed with solar yard lamps. Perhaps, I just bought the wrong kind. Happy Spring, everyone.
Judy
9 years ago at 7:33 PM
Just a couple suggestions that I have used in the past during emergencies. For the toilet, when water isn't an option, remove the water from the bowl and then line the bowl with a white kitchen garbage bag and place the seat down in the normal position and pour some kitty litter in the bottom so you can use it several times without having to remove it and it won't smell real bad. When you do remove it you can dispose of it by tying up the bag and place in the garbage, just like you would baby diapers. Also so when preparing your room for living in for any length of time, tape heavy duty aluminum foil over the windows and anywhere you can to reflect the body heat back into the room. ^This works real well. I used this in a bedroom and the kids were as warm as toast even though the windows were jalousy windows that leaked a lot of cold air and were on the north and west side of the house. I simply placed plastic bag over the windows and taped the foil to the plastic. I had to use garbage bags at the time as that was all I had but you could plan ahead for this possibility and use clear plastic and pin the foil to the curtains. Hope this helps.
Paul F.
9 years ago at 11:11 PM
I have only an infered heater. It stayed around 32 at nights. I have the cold weather sleeping bivey bags, with the green and black one's with the bivey. I over dress in layers. Will evan wear my coat to bed if necessary. The heat only keep the pipes from breaking. I can feel wind blowing into the house. Old mill homes were not insulated. I also use the cold weather suits made up of fleece. Hope some of this helps. I use a blanket too.
scott
9 years ago at 5:31 PM
when the power goes out here and its cold everyone in my house comes up to the second floor, because heat rises and goes into one room.
CS
9 years ago at 3:12 AM
Having a wood burning fireplace is a life saver. You can cook in it, and heat huge stockpots of water for bathing. Always have candles/tealights for light/added warmth. Hot water bottles (those red ones) will generate heat for 3 hours under blankets keeping u toasty. If no fireplace, u can still still candles to cook - 4,5,6 tealights under a frypan u can make grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs soups etc. Keep ur pantry stocked especially with munchies/seeds/nuts. Longjohns, heavy sweats, wool socks, sweaters, toques, bathrobes, etc. And heavy duvets. You could even heat dry beans in a frypan (using candle power) and put them in a sock to use as hand/feet warmers. If you have access to outdoors, you can make a "fireplace" with 3 cinder blocks shaped like a "U" and use that as well.
tobi
9 years ago at 11:21 AM
A great way to warm food and make hot drinks is to dig out your old unused fondue set...I can handle no heat but would die without my coffee! ;)
Monica
9 years ago at 11:41 AM
If you don't have a tent you can make a lean-to with your mattress on the floor against an inside wall. Prop the box springs up against the wall and fill the area with blankets, foam insulation, etc., for your sleeping area. You can also use trash bags filled with leaves or extra clothes or newspapers for added insulating materials. Always keep at least one box of hand warmers around. As a child, I remember a relative piling up stacks of newspapers against a wall to cut down on heat loss.
RKM
9 years ago at 12:14 PM
I have 6 large cats and 4 Chihuahuas. Staying warm at night with or without power isn’t really a problem. My wife and I lift the sheet and blankets and in they go. One big happy WARM family.
Dan Kidder
8 years ago at 9:41 PM
I have a glass wick kerosene heater and about 40 gallons of kerosene. This will heat a large room for a long time and kerosene stores well for a very long time. It is also less dangerous than anything propane powered as it gives off much less carbon monoxide.
Rick
8 years ago at 7:52 AM
Plan ahead and have a few nice flat rocks that you can put in an outside fire in the coals. At night pull the rocks out of the fire and wrap up in a canvas bag (or what ever), take the rocks to bed and they will keep your feet warm all night long.
Rick
8 years ago at 7:57 AM
IF you have a fire place, you always get more reflected heat if you put your largest log at the back of the fire, large and green is even better (it will last longer and reflects the heat out into the room).
Johnson
7 years ago at 12:36 PM
The various varieties of cleats are made to be used for any type of weather so that no matter what weather there, the player won't get affected in his performance. Without Beckham it was always going to be an uphill task for the Britons and with the sent off to Rooney, England hopes of winning the World Cup were also gone. Pushing: A penal foul resulting from the unfair use of the arms or body to push, shove, or otherwise force an opponent into changing position or direction.
Tory
7 years ago at 7:23 PM
All the dealing is done via accounting numbers from which you deposit your money. The cards are also separated into four suits: clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds. Does the opponent resort to bluffing or semi-bluff at the time of drawing.
Elliot
7 years ago at 8:33 PM
In fact, a dance called mapouka (also known in French as la danse du fessier” or the dance of the behind”) , which has it origins in the southeast regions of the Ivory Coast in Africa, boasts a very comparable movement to the twerk.
patrick
5 years ago at 5:41 AM
Fireplaces and wood stoves necessarily send a lot of hot air up the chimney. This is replaced by warm air from the room, which pulls cold air in from outside, so your face can be too warm from the fire and your back cold from the incoming air. A 100% airtight house couldn't provide the needed airflow. A stove using "outside air" doesn't have this problem. Some "pedestal" vs "legs" wood stoves have a hole in the back or bottom of the base that can be ducted to bring in air from outside to feed the fire. Flexible dryer vent works well.
Dolores Bennett
5 years ago at 4:10 PM
I have an all electric manufactured home, no generator and how do I keep warm and keep the house from freezing in extended outages?
JC
3 years ago at 2:56 PM
Get a small generator from Harbor Freight. The hardly cost much and you can use them for a small heater with low wattage. Just remember keep them OUTSIDE and use extension cord to hook to a heater. Good Luck and be safe
JC
3 years ago at 2:54 PM
Oil lamps not only give light,(& you can put a mirror or aluminum behind them for extra light) & are safer than candles. If you have the taller chimneys they give off heat just like a mini kerosene heater. The squatter chimneys are great in the summer, as they hold the heat within them & not into the air. I have two chimneys for most of my oil lamps. This way I have the light & heat in the winter when needed & the light in the summer without the heat.