As the weather gets colder, the risk of losing power increases. While losing power can be an inconvenience, it can also be dangerous, especially if you don’t have a backup plan for staying warm.
In this article, I will explain how to stay warm without power. Some methods require low-tech solutions that you can quickly adopt, others involve specific items or equipment. You can choose to use whatever is accessible to you. I am positive that at least several of the following methods are within your immediate reach.
A part of this article is summarized in the following video:
1. Wear Layers of Clothing
The most basic strategy to protect yourself against the cold during an outage is wearing several layers of clothing. Raid your own wardrobe and dress in this order:
- Start with a base layer of something thin and moisture-wicking, preferably made from wool. You don’t want to be trapped in your own sweat if the power goes out and things start to heat up.
- Add a layer of something insulating. A light sweater or fleece should do the trick.
- Top it off with a waterproof layer. A rain jacket or windbreaker will help you stay dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- And don’t forget the accessories! A scarf, hat, and gloves will help keep you even warmer.
- Finally, make sure you have a good pair of boots that you will put on over a pair of thick wool socks. If your feet are cold, the rest of your body will feel it too.
2. Huddle Together With Others
A nice and pleasant solution is huddling together with others for warmth. Not only will this keep you all warm, but it will also prevent anyone from getting too cold and even suffering from hypothermia. Make sure to huddle close, with as much skin contact as possible, and use blankets or other materials to block out any drafts.
It’s also quite possible to huddle together with your pets. Pets generate body heat, so snuggling up to them can help you stay warm. This will turn any cold winter night into a fun and cozy experience!
3. Drink Warm Liquids
One of the best ways to stay warm without power is to drink warm liquids. This will help to keep your body temperature regulated and prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Warm liquids can include soups, hot drinks like coffee or tea, or even just warm water.
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, you can also use it to heat up your drinks. Just be sure to not let the drink get too hot, as this can cause burns. And if you’re using a stovetop or kettle to heat your liquids, be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.
4. Consume Warm Food
One of the best things you can do is consume warm food. This will help your body temperature stay regulated and prevent you from becoming too cold.
There are a few ways to go about this. If you have a gas stove, you can use it to heat up food. Just be sure to use it sparingly, as you don’t want to deplete your fuel supply. You can also heat food up in a fireplace, if you have one. Just be careful not to put anything too close to the flames.
If you don’t have any way to heat food, you can still eat foods that are naturally warm. This includes soups, stews, and chili. Just be sure to eat them slowly so you don’t burn yourself.
Important tip: Be sure to ration your food and water if you’re without power for an extended period of time. You wouldn’t want to be snowed in with nothing to eat or drink. Alternatively, you can stockpile on tasty ReadyWise food. These nutritious meals can be prepared in moments and have a lengthy shelf life. They offer something for everyone, with a wide selection of soups, curry, noodles, snacks, rice, beef, chicken, and much more.
5. Use a Wood Stove
I mentioned a wood stove earlier, which can also be a great method to stay warm without power. Here are some tips on how to use a wood stove to stay warm:
- Start by gathering wood. You will need enough wood to last you for a few hours. If you can, find dry wood that is easy to burn.
- Build a fire in your wood stove. Start by placing some smaller pieces of wood on the bottom of the stove. Then, add some larger pieces of wood on top.
- Use a fire starter to help get the fire going. Once the fire is going, add some more wood to keep it going.
- Close the door to the wood stove and let the fire build. The wood stove will start to heat up and the room will start to warm up.
- Enjoy the warmth of the wood stove!
Here is a helpful video from Clearing Farm that demonstrates the use of a wood stove:
6. Close Off Unused Rooms
If you have rooms in your house that you don’t use often, close them off to help conserve heat. You can close doors to these rooms, and if you have drafty windows, seal them off with plastic to help keep the heat in. By closing off unused rooms, you’ll be able to better heat the rooms you do use and stay warmer inside your home.
7. Move Around
Movement is another way to keep yourself warm. Getting your blood moving will help to warm you up. You can also use this opportunity to do some light exercises. There are tons of great exercise videos on YouTube, you can watch them on your phone and repeat the movements. Just be sure not to overdo it, as you don’t want to get too sweaty.
8. Breathe Through Your Nose
When the air is cold, you may be tempted to breathe through your mouth to avoid the chill. However, your nose is actually designed to warm and humidify the air you breathe in. By breathing through your nose, you can help to prevent heat loss from your body.
In fact, your nose acts as a natural air filter, and the air you breathe through your nose is warmer and more humid than the air you breathe through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, you allow cold air to enter your body and cool your internal temperature.
So, next time you’re feeling cold, try breathing through your nose to stay warm.
9. Find or Make a Tent
Assuming you have a room with no power, and you need to generate your own heat, one way to do this is to set up a tent inside the room. This will create a smaller, more insulated space for you to stay in. Make sure to seal up any gaps around the tent so that heat doesn’t escape. You can use blankets or towels to help with this. Tents can be family-sized or suitable for one person, see my personal recommendations for each type in my article on camping tents.
If you don’t have a tent, you can improvise by setting up under a table and draping a few blankets over it. By the way, the room of your choice must be adjacent to a bathroom for maximum conveniency.
Once you’re set up, you can use a variety of methods to generate heat inside your tent, such as candles, lanterns, or even a camp stove if you have one. By creating your own little heat source, you can stay warm even when the power is out.
10. Get Into a Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags are great because they are specifically designed to keep you warm, even in the coldest weather. They work by trapping your body heat and preventing it from escaping, which is why they are such an essential item for camping and hiking in cold climates.
One of the best ways to stay warm in a sleeping bag is to make sure that you are well-insulated. This means wearing warm clothing and using a sleeping bag liner. A liner helps to trap your body heat and prevents it from escaping through the sleeping bag.
Another way to stay warm in a sleeping bag is to make sure that you are sleeping in a dry and well-ventilated area. Moisture can make you feel cold and can cause your sleeping bag to lose its insulating properties.
So, if you are looking for ways to stay warm without power, make sure to get into a sleeping bag and use a liner. You can even spend most of the day in the sleeping bag. The most important part is getting a high-quality sleeping bag which you can rely on, which is why I invite you to read my article on how to choose a sleeping bag.
Tip: Fold and place the next day’s clothes into the sleeping bag for the night, next to you. They will be warm and cozy to wear in the morning!
11. Use a Hot Water Bottle
Fill a clean, empty bottle with boiling water, screw on the lid tightly, and wrap it in a towel or piece of cloth. Place the hot water bottle in your bed, under your covers, and enjoy the heat it emits for a few hours. Just be sure to check the water level periodically and top off the bottle as needed.
If you don’t want all this hassle, I suggest getting the Attmu Rubber Hot Water Bottle. It’s the popular hot water bottle with the classic design. This hot water bottle can hold heat for a longer time than a plain bottle. Durable and easy-to-use, it also comes with a knitted cover in a variety of colors. With more than 13,000 ratings, Attmu Rubber Hot Water Bottle has rightly earned its status as an Amazon’s Choice item.
12. Stay Dry
Wet clothes will make you colder, so try to stay dry.
- Wear waterproof or water-resistant clothing. This will help keep you dry if you have to go outside in the rain or snow.
- Avoid getting wet in the first place. If you know you’re going to be outside in bad weather, dress appropriately. Wear a hat and coat to keep your head and body dry.
- If you do get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Wet clothes will make you colder, so it’s important to get out of them as soon as possible.
- If you’re inside, make sure you’re not near any sources of water. Be careful not to spill any water on yourself.
13. Place Blankets and Rugs on the Floor
Placing blankets and rugs on the cold, uninsulated floor is great strategy. This will help to insulate your home and keep the heat from escaping. You can also use this method to keep the cold from coming in. Just make sure that you don’t have any holes or cracks in the floor that the cold can come through.
14. Use a Fuel Generator
Generators can be a great way to keep your home warm, especially if you live in an area that is prone to power outages or if you’re in need for off-grid heating. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering using a generator:
- Make sure you have the right kind of generator. There are two main types of generators: portable and standby. Portable generators are typically less expensive, but they require more maintenance and need to be refilled more often. Standby generators are more expensive upfront, but they’re easier to operate and require less maintenance.
- Be aware of the noise. Generators can be quite loud, so be sure to take that into consideration when choosing a location for your generator. You may want to put it in a shed or garage to minimize the noise.
- Be sure to vent the generator. When operating a generator, it’s important to vent the exhaust to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before operating your generator.
15. Use a Portable Solar Power Generator
If you don’t want any noise and hazardous carbon monoxide, get a portable solar power generator. Portable solar power generators are a convenient way to have backup power in case of an emergency. They are easy to set up and can provide power for heaters, lights, charging phones, and other small electronics.
A good example of a highly recommended portable generator is Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300. It can be quickly charged with Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel. This lightweight and noiseless power station can charge up to 6 different devices, such as mobile phones, cameras, laptop computers, drones, and so on. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300 is an Amazon’s Choice product with thousands of positive reviews, which you can read here.
16. Use a Propane Heater
Propane heaters are a safe and easy way to keep your home warm during a winter storm. Here are a few tips on how to use a propane heater safely:
- Make sure the heater is placed on a level surface.
- Place the heater in a well-ventilated area.
- Do not use the heater in a confined space.
- Never leave the heater unattended.
- Keep children and pets away from the heater.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
17. Use a Kerosene Heater
Kerosene heaters are also a simple yet effective way to battle the cold. They give off a lot of heat and will keep you warm for hours. Here are a few tips to use a kerosene heater:
- Fill the heater with kerosene before you need to use it. This way you won’t have to go outside in the cold to fill it up.
- Make sure the area around the heater is well ventilated. Kerosene heaters give off fumes, so you don’t want to be in a small, enclosed space with one.
- Place the heater in a safe place. Don’t put it near any flammable materials and keep it away from children and pets.
- Don’t leave the heater unattended. Make sure to turn it off before you go to bed or leave the room.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Each heater is different, so be sure to read the manual before using it.
18. Caulk and Weatherstrip Your Home
If your home is like most, there are probably a few places where cold air can seep in. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and inexpensive ways to seal up those gaps and keep your home warm.
Caulking is used to seal gaps around doors and windows, and anywhere else where two different materials meet. You can buy caulking at any hardware store. Just apply it to the gap with a caulking gun, and smooth it out with your finger.
Weatherstripping is used to seal gaps around doors and windows. There are several different types of weatherstripping, so you’ll need to choose the right one for the job. For example, foam weatherstripping can be used to seal gaps around windows, while V-strip weatherstripping is ideal for sealing gaps around doors. You can buy weatherstripping at any hardware store, or check Amazon for affordable and recommended weatherstripping.
Once you’ve sealed up all the gaps, you’ll be surprised at how much warmer your home will be.
19. Install Double-Paned Windows
Installing double-paned windows is another great method to stay warm without power. By installing two panes of glass, you create an insulating layer of air between them. This air layer helps to keep heat from escaping, making your home much warmer. Additionally, double-paned windows also help to reduce noise pollution from outside.
20. Install Insulated Curtains
Installing insulated curtains is a solution that many people don’t usually consider. Nonetheless, these awesome curtains will definitely help to keep the heat in your home, making it more comfortable for you and your family. Insulated curtains are available at most home improvement stores, and they are relatively easy to install. If you want to save the trip to the store, check Amazon for high-quality yet inexpensive insulated curtains.
21. Use Candles
Candles are a great option! Candles provide both light and heat, and can be a lifesaver in a power outage. Here are a few tips for using candles safely and effectively:
- Place candles in sturdy holders and on stable surfaces.
- Keep candles away from flammable materials like curtains or blankets.
- Never leave candles unattended. Extinguish them before you leave the room.
- Keep a watchful eye on burning candles. If they start to smoke or flare up, blow them out immediately.
22. Sit in a Vehicle
This is a temporary solution that should not be used for a long period of time. Your car must be parked only in an open space or a ventilated garage. Make sure to keep the engine running and the heater on, but crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
You can also use the vehicle’s battery to power a small space heater, providing you don’t let the engine idle for too long. If you have access to a generator, you can plug the vehicle into it to keep the heat going. Just be sure to keep an eye on the gas gauge, as you don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of a blizzard.
23. Use a Fireplace
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, now is the time to use it! Not only is it a great method to stay warm, but it’s also a great way to save on your heating bill. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your fireplace:
- Make sure the damper is open before you start a fire. This will help to ensure that the smoke goes up the chimney and doesn’t back up into your home.
- Use dry, seasoned wood for your fire. Wet or green wood will produce more smoke and is more difficult to ignite.
- Start with small pieces of wood to get the fire going, then add larger pieces as the fire builds.
- Don’t overdo it! A roaring fire may look impressive, but it will actually produce less heat than a smaller, more contained fire.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by, just in case.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the warmth of your fireplace all winter long.
24. Use a Solar Dehydrator
Solar dehydrators work by using the sun’s energy to evaporate water. By doing this, they remove moisture from the air and raise the temperature in a room.
One of the main benefits of using a solar dehydrator is that it is a renewable resource. Unlike other methods of heating, solar dehydrators do not rely on fossil fuels. This means that they are much more environmentally friendly.
Another benefit of solar dehydrators is that they are very efficient. They can raise the temperature in a room by several degrees, without using any electricity. This makes them ideal for use in emergency situations, when power may be scarce.
Solar dehydrators are a great way to stay warm without power. They are renewable, efficient, and environmentally friendly.
25. Avoid Alcohol
If you’re looking for ways to stay warm without power, alcohol is not the answer. Not only is it a fire hazard, but it can also lead to hypothermia. Alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to heat loss and make you feel colder. So, if you’re looking for ways to remain warm, avoid alcohol.
26. Use a Flashlight
This is an unorthodox and probably short-term solution. A strong enough flashlight can be quite warm, especially if you place you hands near the starting point of its beam, over the lens. This should be used for a short period of time, when other methods are not immediately available, because the batteries might drain, leaving you both cold and in the dark.
On the other hand, a camping flashlight can last a very long time. See the linked article for recommendations of flashlights that will keep you warm and help you navigate around the dark house when the electricity is out.
27. Use a Passive Solar Home Design
As you can see by now, there are many methods to stay warm without power, but one of the most effective is to use a passive solar home design. This type of design takes advantage of the sun’s natural heat to keep your home warm, even when the power is out.
To do this, your home should be built so that it captures the sun’s heat during the day and releases it at night. This can be done in a number of ways, such as using south-facing windows to let in the sun’s rays, or using thermal mass to store the sun’s heat.
Naturally, this method should be implemented at the very early stages of planning and building your house. If you are going to live in a cold region, where power outages are frequent, keep passive solar design on your mind as you plan your new homestead.
Additionally, passive solar home design should be used in conjunction with other methods of staying warm, such as wearing layers of clothing and using blankets.
28. Build an Earth Sheltered Home
As with the passive solar design, this solution should be implemented in the first stages of building your house. An earth sheltered home is built partially or completely below ground, which helps to protect it from the cold weather. The earth around the home acts as a natural insulator, keeping the home warm even when the outside temperature is extremely low.
If you don’t have an earth sheltered home, you can still use some of the same principles to keep your home warm. For example, you can build a small home with thick walls and a small window to reduce the amount of heat that is lost. You can also insulate your home with materials like straw or wool to help keep the heat in.
29. Install a Geothermal Heating System
A geothermal heating system, also sometimes called a ground-source heat pump, uses the earth’s natural heat to provide heating and cooling for your home. This type of system is very efficient, as it takes advantage of the earth’s constant temperature to heat or cool your home. Geothermal systems are typically more expensive to install than other types of heating and cooling systems, but they are very efficient and can save you money in the long run.
30. Install a Solar Water Heater
If there is enough sunlight, it can be used as a free and renewable energy source that provides your homestead with the much-needed heat. For this, you will need to install a solar water heater on your roof.
A solar water heater is a device that uses the sun’s energy to heat water for domestic or commercial use. Solar water heaters (also known as solar domestic hot water systems) are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. They are highly reliable, and with just a little sunlight they can give you hot water all day long.
Well, there you have it, a wide variety of methods to keep you warm when the electricity is out. While some of them require investment, time, and effort, others can be used right away. I am sure that you will find the method that works best for you.
There are a few more things to know when facing cold weather, and I have written a few informative articles that can help you.
Extreme weather should always be taken seriously. Should you find yourself facing such circumstances, then hopefully the knowledge I provide in my article on how to survive cold weather will prove to be useful.
If you plan to camp during winter, a thorough preparation is mandatory. Please check my post on how to camp in winter weather for essential information.
And finally, there are early signs regarding the upcoming weather that you can notice before any forecast. I have an article that teaches how to read the weather, which can help you get ready before a storm or a cold front reach your home.
Stay safe and warm, my friends!