11 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

11 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

It's a winter worst case scenario: a winter storm knocks your power out, it's freezing outside, and the temperature in your home rapidly begins to drop. While we often think of cold exposure as a danger faced by hikers in a sudden snowstorm or those stranded in the car during a blizzard, the reality is that extreme cold temperatures can be fatal, even if you're in your own home.

Without electricity to heat your home, and if you don't have a generator, fireplace, or woodstove, it can quickly become dangerously cold. So bundle up, in this blog post we're going to give you 11 ways to keep your home and yourself as warm as possible during a winter power outage.

  1. Close off unused rooms: Close the doors to unused rooms to concentrate warmth in the part of the house where you plan to weather the storm. Smaller spaces are easier to heat and maintain compared to larger areas.

    If possible, choose an interior room, away from external walls, doors and windows, because it will retain heat better. Alternately, staying in a southern-facing room that receives ample direct sunlight can help naturally heat the space during the day.

    Rooms with carpet generally provide better insulation than rooms with wood floors.
  1. Seal off drafts: Winter storms can come coupled with fierce winds. Use draft stoppers, window-insulator kits, or simply rolled-up towels to block drafts under doors and around windows. Close curtains* or hang heavy blankets to create an extra barrier against cold air and to keep heat from escaping.

    *With the exception of the passive solar note above.
  1. Layer up: Insulation is your friend. Remember those chilly winter days when you'd layer up to build a snowman? That same principle applies indoors during a power outage. Dress in multiple layers to trap body heat, opting for thermal or woolen garments when possible.

    Wear warm hats, scarves, gloves, and thick socks to prevent heat loss through extremities. Keep slippers or shoes on to avoid losing heat through the soles of your feet. Every little bit counts when it comes to keeping warm.

    Blankets and extra bedding aren't just for sleeping – they're your best friends for warmth during a winter power outage. Same goes for sleeping bags, especially cold weather-rated sleeping bags or emergency sleeping bags that will radiate your own body heat back at you.
  1. Utilize body heat: There's warmth in numbers. Gather together with family members in one room to share blankets and consolidate body heat. The more bodies in one area, the more heat will be generated. If you have pets, snuggling up with them can also provide extra warmth. Consider sleeping in the same room to share warmth during nighttime.

  2. Use hand and foot warmers: Traditionally, these are small packets that can be activated and placed inside pockets, gloves, or shoes to provide extra heat for several hours. They can also be placed under clothes to help warm your core or under blankets to create a pocket of warmth. There are also electric handwarmers. These little pocket-sized furnaces heat up quickly and can be charged and reused again and again to keep the cold at bay.

  3. Use alternative heat sources: Non-electric, indoor-safe options like kerosene and propane heaters can be lifesavers if used with caution and proper ventilation. Safety first – always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and pair your heater with a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.

    You can also get extra warmth from electric heating pads or heated blankets if you have a backup power source like a portable battery.
  1. Create DIY heating device: Make simple DIY heaters using terracotta pots and candles. Place several small candles in a clay or metal dish, then cover them with an upside-down terra cotta pot. This creates a safe mini heat source. Remember to keep flammable materials away from any open flames or heat sources.

  2. Block off unused space: If you're staying in a larger room, use sheets or blankets to create a smaller "room" within the space. This reduces the area you need to heat.

  3. Eat warm food and drink warm liquids: Consuming warm food and beverages can help raise your body temperature. Have soups, hot chocolate, or tea on hand for a winter power outage.

  4. Stay active: Engage in light physical activity to generate body heat. Do small exercises like jumping jacks or household chores to keep warm. But be careful not to overexert yourself as this can cause sweating, which can then lead to heat loss.

  5. Seek shelter elsewhere if necessary: If the conditions become too cold and dangerous, it's time to pack up if you can travel safely. Consider temporarily relocating to a friend or family member's house, a community center, or a local emergency shelter until power is restored.

As with most survival situations, your best bet is to plan ahead for the event or threat in question. The tips above will help you be well-prepared with smart strategies and the right gear to weather and survive a winter power outage. From insulating your home and body to drinking hot liquids to alternative heat sources large or small, each tip is a step towards ensuring your safety and comfort during the cold. Remember, taking the right precautions and making the right preparations now can make all the difference when it comes to staying warm and safe this winter.

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