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Indoor Heating Without Power

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In my last post I answered an email with the article, Indoor Cooking Without Power, but there was a little more to that question. She also wanted to know about indoor heating without power. There are several ways to keep warm without electricity. Here are the main ones:

Generate Heat

Fireplace: This one is obvious, but I have to get it out of the way in case someone says, “Hey genius, you forgot to mention fireplaces.” Be sure to stock up on plenty of extra firewood.

Generator: Another obvious one that I’m obligated to mention. If you can afford a generator and plenty of gasoline, get one now before it gets any colder outside.

Space Heaters: If you don’t have a fireplace and can’t afford a generator, a good space heater is your next best option. Propane space heaters are safe to use indoors as long as they’re in well-ventilated rooms, but if you’re doing everything you can to keep the cold out your rooms probably won’t have much ventilation. Kerosene space heaters are cleaner, though I’d still keep a carbon monoxide detector around.

Lamps. The safest ones to use indoors are oil lamps or kerosene lamps. Set the kerosene lamp to burn with a blue flame to minimize carbon monoxide production. One lamp won’t do much, but several lamps can make a small difference, and every little bit helps.

Candles: As with lamps, one won’t do much, but several dozen an actually bump up the temperature a few degrees. Just make sure they’re out of reach of pets and children and that they’re all in sturdy candle holders. And get odorless candles; too many scented candles will give you a headache.

Sunlight. Most people keep the curtains drawn all the time to keep the cold out, but if you put clear shower curtains over your windows you can keep the cold out while letting the sunlight in. This makes a huge difference.

The Lost Ways

Cook. The heat and steam produced from cooking indoors is enough to raise the room’s temperature, as long as you do it safely. Plus, sipping on hot cocoa or soup makes a huge difference when it’s cold. Spicy foods work even better.

Insulate Your House

Doors. First off, make sure you have good weather stripping around all exterior doors. You should also put door sweeps beneath your doors. You could also hang extra blankets over doors for a little extra insulation.

Windows. Check around the edges and seal any cracks with caulk. Here’s an idea: Get some thick curtains and thoroughly tack them to the wall around the edge of the window. Now drop extra clothes, towels and blankets down into the space between the curtain and the window. This adds several inches of insulation.

Small Room. It’s best if everybody gets in a small room with only one outside wall, probably a bedroom. This way everyone’s body heat can keep the room warmer.

Other Rooms. Go into the other rooms, close the heating vents and tape or nail something fairly thick over them. Do the same thing to the vent in the small room. The point is to seal your small room off from the other rooms as much as possible.  Also put blankets over the door and towels across the bottom.

Floors. If there’s no carpet in the small room, make sure you at least have rugs and/or blankets. A room with hardwood floors or tile is much cooler.

Other Ideas

Bundle up. This might seem obvious, but don’t forget the importance of layers. Thermal underwear, sweats, jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a turtleneck sweater, a coat, and maybe a couple of beanies (a lot of heat gets out through the head). And don’t forget about Snuggies. Several thin layers are better than one thick layer because your body heat gets held between the multiple layers.

Exercise. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of space to exercise in a small room, which is why I recommend burpee pushups. They hit several major muscle groups, challenge your cardiovascular system, and are guaranteed to warm you up in just a few minutes.

Cuddle. Any type of mammal is a heater that runs 24 hours a day. Cuddle up with friends, loved ones, or your pets.

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What to read next: 10 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Winter

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  • Papa Bear

    I like that you mentioned cuddeling up. There are babies being born in November from when it was cold las February

  • Gary

    You left out the most important of all! A wood-burning stove will heat your home to a toasty level plus you can do all your cooking on it as well. You get warm two ways with a wood stove – once when you’re cutting the wood and again when you burn the wood! And you get to enjoy the best part – backing up to the stove and get immediate radiant heat on your back (and front) sides that you can’t enjoy with a forced air furnace. I use a wood stove as my only source of heat – no worries if the power goes off unexpectedly.

  • countryguy

    If you have a below grade basement, go down there as it will keep a much more even temp due to ground temp. Also once you get the space warmed up with your heater, wood or coal stove etc the concrete, stone, block etc walls will absorb the heat and you will have that thermal mass to help keep it warmer longer.

    Also you can move your family into one large room to share and then hang/ tack up blankets tarps etc over the entryways and hallways to zone off the room to minimize the space your heating. Also ensure this space has the lowest ceiling you can find. if you do it in your family room that has 15 or 20′ high vaulted ceilings your heat will go up instead of being down where you want it.

  • Hoosier-Gal

    A wood burning stove or fireplace is fine but not good if you’re trying to be un-noticed, IF the SHTF and you have zombies walking around, the smoke from your house will surely attract them. You need to find a way where no one notices you . Bad Idea Gary in a worse case scenario.

  • Tom Morrow

    The newer Woodstoves burn very clean with no noticeable smoke. Just the smell of a wood fire..

  • MsAshG

    If the SHTF and there are zombies walking around where are you going to get your propane from?