How to Stay Warm Without Power: 20 Tips to Survive the Cold

What  if the power outage? It’s cold, possibly even freezing, and you’re worried about staying warm without your usual heating methods. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to stay warm without using electricity. We’ve got you covered!

How to keep warm without electricity?

Power outages are common during winter, and they are often accompanied by strong winds and heavy snow. Many people rely on electricity to heat their homes and thus, it is critical to have a plan to keep warm if  the power goes.out.One of the reasons why it’s important to have contingency plans to keep warm is to prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia is a very real danger that kills over 1,000 people in the United States each year. It becomes more difficult to think, move, and take preventive action as it sets in.Here are 20 tips to help you survive the cold when electricity is out.

Wear layers

wear layers

When the temperature in your home drops, you can keep warm by layering on more clothes. But don’t just grab a jumper or coat – it’s all about layering on the insulating layers to keep you warm.

Use candles

use candles

Candles are usually used as a decorative light rather than a heat source, but they actually offer a lot of warmth. Place several candles on a neutral heat source table, but be careful to keep them away from flammable materials. Before you go to bed, make sure all the candles are put out.

Use blankets

use blankets

Wrap yourself in several blankets to keep warm and make sure to cover your head as well. Use wool blankets because they are the most comfortable and it provides the most warmth.

Open blinds or curtains in the day and close them at night

Open blinds or curtains

Make use of the blinds and/or curtains you already have. When the power goes out, keep windows open during the day to get as much heat from the sun as possible. Close the blinds at night to trap warm air inside and keep draughts out.

Use sleeping bags

sleeping bags

Sleeping bags are designed for outdoor use, so they offer more insulation and warmth than standard blankets. If you have them, consider using them at night during a power outage.

Set up a tent indoors

tent indoors

If you’ve ever gone camping, you know how quickly tents can heat up. If you’re really suffering from the cold at home, consider pitching your tent in the living room! It’s a quick and easy way to keep a warm and cosy environment.

To learn more read “How to Stay Warm in a Tent- 15 Secrets“.

Huddle in a small room

Huddle in a small room

Choose a small bedroom (preferably one with few windows) and gather your entire family there. Close the door and cover the vents to trap everyone’s body heat. Choose a room that faces the sun during the day, so that the sun’s rays can naturally warm the room. Be aware of where the wind is blowing from, and avoid rooms on the north side of the house.

Cover windows with duct tape and plastic

Cover windows with duct tape and plastic

Use duct tape to stick the roll of plastic to the door frame. You can use plastic bags or better yet, still ,use bubble wrap if you have it. The extra insulation will stop drafts from coming in the smallest cracks and keep the cold glass from chilling the room.

Drink warm liquids

Drink warm liquids

Hot beverages and bowls of soup will all help to keep you warm. You’ll have to heat your drinks with a camping stove or a candle if you don’t have power. To feel better, drink a hot beverage every hour or so. Avoid drinking cold water or other cold drinks.

Keep your pets warm with extra bedding

Keep your pets warm with extra bedding

Providing extra bedding for your pet can help keep them warm during a cold-weather power outage. Consider wrapping a blanket around a small animal’s habitat, leaving an opening for ventilation.

Get a portable generator

portable generator

A large standby generator can be enough to have some power in your house. Always keep extra fuel on hand for your generator, and NEVER put it inside your home. If possible, keep it under a porch or awning to protect it from natural elements such as rain or heavy snow.

Invest in solar heaters

solar heaters

Solar panels heat a home by harnessing power from the sun. Although they are very effective, they are quite expensive, but you can purchase a single panel and use it to heat a single room or a small section of your home.

Easy exercise

Easy exercise

Physical activity is an excellent way to raise your heart rate and, more importantly, to warm up your body.

Use heated water bottles

heated water bottles

People used hot water bags to keep warm while sitting on the couch or lying in bed back in the day. You can do the same by heating a water bottle or a bag of beans and placing it next to your body if you do not have a hot water bag.

Use towels to block drafts

Use towels to block drafts

To keep the cold out, roll up towels and place them under doors. If you run out of towels, you can replace them with pillows, blankets, or even old clothes.

Fireplaces

fireplace

A fireplace is one of the best backups in the event of a power outage. The problem with a fireplace is that you must store enough firewood to keep the fire going for the duration of the power outage and ensure that the chimney is not clogged with soot or other debris if it hasn’t been used in a while.

Wood-burning stoves

Wood-burning stoves

A wood-burning stove is an excellent alternative to a fireplace. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a brand-new stove, these can be purchased as antiques or from second-hand stores.

mini fire

If you don’t have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, a small and compact mini fire can also be used to keep your hands warm. Learn how to create a simple alcohol stove here.

Making a Buddy Burner

Buddy Burner

Buddy burners are a great way to heat food indoors, but at a smaller capacity. Just like candles, be sure to keep them away from flammable materials and put them out once you’re done using them.

Sit in your car

Sit in your car

If you’ve tried to keep yourself warm inside the house but are still feeling too chilly, try sitting in your car while idling it in your drive. It’s extremely important that you don’t do this in your garage, as you could get a build-up of the highly toxic gas carbon monoxide.

How can I heat water without electricity?

Here are 8 ways you can boil water during an emergency when your power goes out:.

  • Gas Stove
  • Camp Stove
  • BBQ Grill
  • Fire Pit
  • Fireplace or Wood Stove
  • Solar Cooker
  • Candles
  • Rocket Stove

How long will a house stay warm without power?

If you lose access to your heat source during a power outage, your home will begin to cool immediately. However, it will likely remain warm for the next 8 to 12 hours. Your home can stay above 0° F for many days if properly protected.

Factors influencing how long your home will stay warm without power include:

  • The temperature of the outside air. The colder the weather outside, the faster your house will cool.
  • The temperature of the inside air. The warmer it is inside compared to outside, the faster your home will cool down. Overnight you could lose 15° F. This cooling effect will slow from that initial temperature drop.
  • The speed of the wind will have a greater impact on heat loss if your home is poorly insulated.
  • Home Insulation, which keeps warm air inside and cold air outside.
  • South-facing glass, it has a great ability to absorb the sun’s energy and distribute it thoroughly in the house. 
  • Basement or crawl space. The ground is warmer under and around your house. A basement or crawl space slows the cooling of your home.
  •  Body temperature of the people in the house. 

How to keep a baby warm during a power outage?

One of the worst fears of parenthood is when your babies are shivering from the cold. So here are 5 ways to help you keep your little one warm and safe:

  1.   Keep your baby dry.
  2.   Warm your baby’s crib sheets.
  3.   Pick one room to stay warm in.
  4.   Put on sleep sacks and add mittens, booties, & breathable caps.
  5.   Increase skin-to-skin contact.

Conclusion

Facing winter without power can be inconvenient and even dangerous, depending on the severity of the storm and your level of preparedness. Being prepared and knowing what alternatives you can use to generate and conserve heat are important.

Also, be open to the possibility that the lights will go out in the winter, and do everything you can to prepare for it. If you don’t have a fireplace or a generator, seal any cracks in your doors and windows, get an EPA-approved wood-burning stove, bundle up, stock up on food and clean water, and prepare yourself for the cold.

For more tips on how to survive power outages, read “Potable Water for Power Outage Survival“.