How to Stay Warm Without Power

How to Stay Warm Without Power

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We seldom know the moment that our electricity will go out. Should your power ever go out following a freak-winter snowstorm, it would take only a couple of hours before your family became considerably uncomfortable due to the cold. A little while after that and the frigid temperature in your home would be more suitable for an ice hockey team rather than your family. This thought may strike you as funny now, but if the situation were ever to present itself, it would certainly be no laughing matter.  We are going to help you learn how to stay warm without power today!

How to Stay Warm Without Power 

Would you know what to do in order to keep your family warm until the power came back on? You probably have a few ideas already, but I’d like to share a few more that you may not know about. There are also methods out there that people have used that you shouldn’t follow because they could put you, your family, and your home in grave danger. These are things that should, and shouldn’t do when trying to stay warm when you’re without power. That way you’re able to stay warm and safe at the same time. Don’t forget HandWarmers, they work.

How to Stay Warm Without Power

Dress in Layers

By dressing everyone in your family in multiple layers of clothing, the cold won’t be as noticeable for you throughout the day. Insulate these layers with a sweater or a rain jacket on top of them. You should also consider rounding up gloves, knitted caps, and wool socks. Trust me, they’ll make all the difference.  

Stay Warm with Emergency Blankets 

Regular blankets will work if that’s all you have, but these Emergency Thermal Mylar Blankets work amazing by trapping your own body heat in them so that you’re able to stay warm even better. In case you missed this post, 6 Reasons To Store Blankets For Any Emergency

Eat and Drink 

This one may sound silly, but eating and drinking can actually help to keep your body warm. That’s because food has carbohydrates and fats that provide calories so that your body temperature remains where it needs to be. Consider eating soups and also warm drinks like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate using an alternative heating source. 

Close All Curtains and Blinds 

As soon as your power goes out, be sure to close the curtains and your blinds over your windows. This will help your home retain its heat for a longer period of time. Don’t wait to do this when your house is starting to feel ice-cold. You may want to consider opening the curtains and blinds during the day if is direct sunlight into the room(s) you are using provides some natural heat in those rooms.

Read More of My Articles  What Happens When The Power Goes Out

Try Using Plastic to Cover Windows

Before covering your windows with the curtains and blinds that you may have, place some type of plastic wrap over your windows. I’ve tried this one personally and can guarantee that it works wonders during the wintertime, power-outage or not. If you want to go the extra mile, place the plastic wrap over your entryways as well, but this can be a pain if you’re using those doors often. Now is the time to stock up on Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape to close off a room you choose to stay in.

Keep Bedroom Doors Closed 

By keeping all of your bedroom doors closed that you aren’t using, it will help you regulate and hold on to any heat that your home may have. Also be sure to place a towel in front of each of these doors to trap the heat in the room that you’re using.  

Set Up a Camping Tent In Your Home

Nestling up in sleeping bags while inside a camping tent will ensure that your family gets a good night’s sleep. Your family will stay warm because the tent is a smaller space that’s able to trap your other family member’s body heat. Another thing to note is the fewer clothes that you wear in a sleeping bag the warmer you’ll be. You don’t want to get so warm in the sleeping bag that you start to sweat. Setting up a tent in your living room is an experience your kids will never forget and make the experience into a true adventure.  Pop Up Tent

Consider the Basement

Most families would rather sleep in their living room during a power outage, which is totally fine, but you may discover that your basement is actually the warmest area in your house. That’s because basements usually remain around 50 to 60 degrees. As long as you have good backup lighting and a space that your family can spread out to rest, it’s always an option. 

Wood or Pellet Stoves

Wood and pellet stoves do a remarkable job keeping certain rooms in your house heated during a power outage. Just remember that a wood or pellet stove needs a stovepipe along with an outdoor vent. One drawback to a pellet stove is they need electricity to run the fans. If you lose power you will need a backup source to run the fans.

Never Bring Your Generator Inside Your Home

Generators are very dependable pieces of equipment to help keep the lights and possibly some of your appliances running in your home after you’ve experienced a power outage. But for no reason whatsoever should your generator ever be found in your home unless it’s solar-powered. Using fossil fuels to run the generator can be extremely dangerous. Generators should always be kept at least 20 feet away from your house when you use them, if at all possible.   

Read More of My Articles  Power Outage: What to do Next

Don’t Use an Oven to Heat Your Home 

Under no circumstance should you ever use an oven to heat your home. This could not only melt your dial settings, but if left on for a longer period of time, it could cause a fire. That includes those of you that have a gas oven because of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning that it could cause. 

Avoid Using the Front Door 

If you have to venture out somewhere, be sure not to use the front door of your home that’s usually located closest to the living room. Instead, use your garage door or a porch door if you don’t have one, in order to reduce the loss of your indoor heat.

Don’t Forget Your Pets 

I have to tell you a funny story, Mark and I went to visit our daughter in California at Christmas time a couple of years ago. Well, her furnace didn’t work. She had a fireplace that we kept stocking with dry wood. But as you know, fireplaces are not great for keeping a large room warm. I bet we went through $100.00 worth of wood and those paper-covered 3-hour burn logs. They are not very efficient to heat the space, just so you know.

They look beautiful but don’t keep you that warm. Lesson learned. We were freezing and our dog was shivering. We ran to a local pet store and picked up a sweater jacket for her. I thought she would balk at wearing it. She wore it every day thereafter. So think about keeping a sweater or jacket type covering for your pet in your car, they work.

Warning About Carbon Monoxide

Please DO NOT use your barbecue in your home to stay warm, it is not safe because it emits carbon monoxide. Propane is another product that is not safe to use in your home, carbon monoxide is odorless and you can’t see it. Please make sure you have Carbon Monoxide Alarms close to sleeping areas. Smoke alarms are more common in homes, but be sure and replace the batteries as needed and the units themselves since they do expire over time.

Final Word

These are just a few ways that you can stay warm when your home is without power, but there’s plenty more out there that you can try. There are also portable space heaters that you could purchase which use alternative power, but make sure that it’s approved for indoor-use and that you follow all of the safety precautions that are listed on the instruction manual. What are some other ways that you can keep your family warm during a power outage? How do you stay warm without power? I’d love to hear from you.  May God Bless this world, Linda.

Copyright Images: Small House with Snow Deposit photos_11503779_s-2019

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  1. Over the past 60+ years I have learned to never say “it will never happen here in central Florida”. I have experienced outside temperatures in tThe Sunshine State as low as 14 degrees and frozen water in the indoor toilets. The older I get, the colder I get, quicker than the year before. We always prep for any possible unusually cold Florida weather. Most years we don’t need it. But we have it when we do need it.

  2. Great post. We’ve seen bout all these done wrong last week resulting in death, injuries and fire.
    Hand warmers are cheap and one in the bottom of a sleeping bag goes a long ways. They should definitely be in every vehicle and go bag.
    We just had a snowquake here too. I guess all that’s left is a snowquakenado with sharks lol.

  3. We have what we need to stay warm. We’re really lucky in this. It’s good to prepare for the worst case. Which we did and are luckily OK during this really cold weather we’re having here in Texas.

  4. Linda, some Preppers say you can warm a room by sitting a terra cotta pot upside down over a candle. Word to the wise–while it may be better than nothing it won’t warm a room.

    Thanks for yet another excellent, timely post.

  5. Hi again, Linda,
    Thought this is the absolute right time to mention this. I went for plastic over the windows for years. Heavy plastic that when you touched it was as cold as the outdoors until I leaned this a few years ago. What you will need is a big roll of small bubble, bubble wrap. Walmart carries these large rolls. Get a spray bottle and fill with plain water. Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window, some windows take 2 or more pieces. Spray your window with the water. Press the bubble wrap to the window, bubble side out toward you. Now, feel the window without it with your hand and then feel the bubble wrap. Amazing. It is so warm. I do this every year now in Montana and also have heavy drapes. One other hint. Windows have holes where you slide them open and shut. Jam a tissue into the holes where the windows slide top and bottom. It will stop the cold air coming in especially on a windy, cold day. Note that every time you open the window the tissue will slide away from the hole and you will have to slide it back. We were down to -41* wind chill this February. Stay well, stay warm and help others. ❣❣

  6. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your story about your dog @ your daughters house. It brought back memories of when our daughter decided our dog was cold & she cut the end off her sweatshirt arm because she got a hole in the elbow. She modified for front paws & put the cut off end of the sleeve on our dog she trimmed it to be sure she could still do her business without making a mess of it. That dog used to come running for her sleeve sweater whenever it got cold lol. We always had a supply of dog sweaters for free after that. Thanks for the information & the memory.

      1. I have a Goal Zero battery back up just for my pellet stove in case the power goes out – at least the stove will still keep going. A friend in Texas was burning her wood patio furniture to stay warm because it was so cold in her house. No power, no water, and no wood because it’s never that cold in Texas to have a fire for heat. Now no summer outdoor furniture, but she is ok and after 3 days her power is back on.

        1. Hi Shannon, oh gotcha, I have a Goal Zero unit that would work as well. Thank you! Oh, my gosh, this is so sad about her summer furniture. WOW! I’m glad to hear she is okay and that her power is back on. What a mess! Stay safe, Linda

        2. Well, I hate to tell you, but there are some here in Texas that are using their indoor furniture to feed their fireplace. My wife and I have been extremely blessed that we have not really needed any auxiliary heating even though we had it at the ready. Our electric co-op was doing rolling blackouts but they never exceeded two hours at a time. So, when the power was on, we heated the house up to 80°. Then in two hours of power being off, the two nights with single digits outside, the lowest we had inside was 68°. Of course, our electric bill will probably be quite elevated this month. LOL!!!

          1. I use that concept with my water heater–keep it well above 120 in case of lost power/that water stays warm a long while–also, I keep a huge cooking pot of water on the stove on lowest setting in case. I’ll have water to wash face, brush teeth etc—costs less than waiting for water running through pipes–
            I also boil water and put in thermos; do it every morning.
            Increase in electric bill?? who cares –certain things help us get through the day.

            Oh, water in my house runs in one faucet when below 20° and folks, a drip is not gonna work; you need a steady stream. Water here is the cheapest utility.

  7. We have learned that setting up a tent inside of the house, putting a blanket over the tent can keep everyone toasty warm to sleep or play. At night you could even set up small tents on top of the mattress to stay warm while you sleep. The theory is that your body heat will help to warm a small space.

  8. Hi Linda,
    Golly, I loved the post about using bubble wrap on the windows. We are renting a 30+ year old house that has ZERO insulation. The windows are double pane but are so old that they may as well be single panes. As soon as we can make it out of our driveway (it’s a steep up hill), I’m going to Walmart and buy me a roll.
    Thank you Diane for all this information.
    I wonder if it would make a difference on the outside walls as well?
    ALSO,, I wonder if it would help prevent heat from coming through the windows in the hot summertime? Has anyone tried this in hot weather?

    1. I’ve done the bubble wrap on windows. I did it from top to bottom covering the sash as well. I don’t think it will help in the summer since it magnifies heat. My mother had “plantation shutters” in Phoenix. They helped.
      I, also, hung blankets on the walls with thumb tacks as close to the ceiling as possible.. Same idea- barrier from the cold/ trapping heat in. They don’t need to be there forever….

  9. Don’t block too much air flow. A fireplace or stove need air flow to burn. You could pass out with a lack of oxygen. It would take awhile but it could happen. Stay safe.

  10. You can get “kits” of clear plastic and double stick tape to cover windows. Clear shower curtains also help over windows (not replacing curtains) to retain heat as well as letting in light.

  11. If the heat goes off for more than a couple of hrs you should clean your bathtub really well then fill it with water. Then go and shut off your water coming into the house. Shut the water coming from the hot water tank to the house.
    Next run the water out of every tap hot and cold until the water stops. This will keep the pipes from freezing as they are drained.
    I use a Mr Buddy heater with a hose to a 30 lb propane tank outside to heat my designated warm room. I have a one burner butane stove to make hot drinks and cook.
    Also use the cold to make up for that freezer that isn’t running by loading the frozen stuff in a heavy box outside.
    I live on the Prairies in Canada. -40 without the windchill is normal in the winter.

    1. Hi Marlene, wow, -40 degrees is normal in the winter!! You certainly know how to survive the cold!!!! Great tips for all of us!! I keep hearing about those Mr.Buddy heaters, I need to look into them. Thanks for the tips!!!!! Linda

  12. All your good advice was the first thing I thought of when I saw what was happening in Texas. I was hoping at least some of those people were prepared but if they weren’t before I bet a lot of them will be now! At the very least some basic food and water storage and some way to cook without electricity. One of the things I’m adding to my equipment is a “hot tent” that I can use a small wood stove in, mainly thinking of after an earthquake if the house isn’t livable. There are also systems to heat a tent with a propane heater that stays outside the tent but has pipes that bring the heated air in. A lot of my prepping doubles as camping equipment (or is it the other way around?) but having a tent with heat is quite luxurious. There are even insulated ice fishing tents available. Setting up tents inside would be something fun to distract kids with. The other bonus of using the window film you shrink tight with a hair dryer is that come spring when you pull it off the windows are amazingly clean!

    1. HI Alice, oh the clean windows would be awesome!!!! I love it! Here in Southern Utah, I don’t have to worry too much about the cold, thank goodness. We have had one or two freezes but no big deal really. This Texas situation hopefully will teach people they MUST be prepared. The pictures of broken pipes, oh my gosh, what a mess. I can’t figure out why the pipes would be in the attic in Texas. I have never seen that, ours are in the ground or in concrete. Stay safe, Linda

  13. I always keep hand warmers around. But, when I go camping, I always take a hot water bottle – you know those old fashioned rubber ones!! As long as I have water and a way to heat it to ALMOST boiling, I can heat my toes/back/bed, whatever. The heat lasts a long time as well. If I were to lose power for any length of time, I would use my butane stove and heat water for the hot water bottles.

    Years ago, I lived in Nebraska with my husband who was raised there. It got so cold in the winter with the very low temps with wind chills on top of that! He said that his parents always hung quilts up on the outside walls and over the doors that were not being used. The worked so well that it was the warmest the duplex we lived in had ever been! That and the fact that the whole backside of the duplex had a huge snow drift covering the entire back wall up over the windows! Only the front of the place was clear.

    We can all hope and pray that people will be prepared for this sort of weather/loss of power all over the south and the east coast in the future. But, I know people who experience hurricanes and other weather events that prepare for them just a few days ahead of the storms. Sad!

    1. HI Leanne, you are the reason I ordered a hot water bottle!! You mentioned it once, and I remember my mom always having one. Great tip! I always say, save your blankets and quilts, never donate them. They will always have a use for something. This Texas weather is hopefully a wake-up call for others across the world. It looks like a third-world country in some areas via my TV screen. What a mess, they interviewed people who are trying to get someone out to fix the damage. Some were told the repair was too large a job. OH MY GOSH, what are they going to do?? They may have to learn to do plumbing and sheetrock. Hopefully, insurance will cover this mess. It is so sad. Linda

  14. I use the bubble wrap during the summer also on the windows that I do not open often. t hey also give extra privacy so no one can see inside but lets the light in. just peel them off if you want to look outside. and a heavy drape ( light blankets, unsulated curtains over that to conserve heat in winter and to save electric in the summer. normally I peel them off and wash window twice a year on the inside. note it will not stick to window frames, but cut to fit the windown glass only. if it turns loose either sprintz the window and restick or use a small piece of tape to tape it to frames. conserve heat and cool best we can.

  15. I was brokenhearted to see a child pass away from hypothermia in Texas. Another idea would be bring the dogs to bed with you! Their body temps are warmer. I suppose that is where the saying comes from that this is a three dog night! We also loose a lot of heat out of our head, so covering your head really does make a difference.

    1. Hi Gayle, oh my gosh, I had not heard that about a child dying from hypothermia. My dogs sleep with me, they are snugglers, it’s a great reminder to those who may not sleep with their pets. This whole situation in Texas is heartbreaking in so many ways. Linda

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