A cold snap accompanied by strong winds and heavy snow or ice often results in the power going out. This can be very dangerous for people who rely on electricity to heat their homes in the winter. It’s important to have a plan in place to keep yourself and your family warm while riding out a power outage.
Hypothermia is a very real possibility that claims the lives of over 1,000 people in the U.S. every year. In fact, it often sneaks up on them before they realize what’s happening. They fall asleep and never wake up. This is why you need to be prepared to keep warm without relying on your furnace. Here are 17 ways.
1. Layer Your Clothing – Wear thermal underwear, a couple pairs of socks, several shirts, and a hat that covers your ears. This will make it harder for heat to escape and keep you much warmer. Also wear a coat and gloves if you’re outside.
2. Use Hand Warmers – Put the warmers in your gloves and socks to help keep your hands and feet warm. You will need to replace the warming packs every couple of hours. These gloves come with pockets for the hand warmers.
3. Close Rooms You Won’t Be Using – Close the doors of every room you don’t have to get to. The more sealed up your house is, the less cold will be able to get in.
4. Huddle In One Small Room – Pick a small bedroom (preferably one with as few windows as possible) and have your whole family gather there. Close the door and cover the vents to trap the body heat generated by everyone. If possible, pick a room on the south side of the house so the sun’s rays can warm the room naturally. Also, if you’re dealing with a wind coming out of the north, you don’t want to be on that side of the house.
5. Use Duct Tape and Plastic to Cover Windows – If you don’t have a roll of plastic, you can use garbage bags. Better yet, use bubble wrap if you have it. The extra insulation will stop drafts from seeping around the smallest cracks in the sill and keep the cold glass from chilling the room.
6. Close All The Blinds and Curtains at Night – Once you’ve covered the windows with plastic, don’t forget the curtains. If there’s a window without curtains, use a heavy blanket instead. A few nails in the corners of the blankets won’t hurt them. Doing this will block drafts as well as stop the cold air from seeping in through the glass. As long as the sun is shining, you can uncover the windows during the day to let warm sunlight in.
7. Use Towels to Block Drafts – Roll up towels and place them under doors to block cold drafts from coming in. Put them on window sills as well. You can use pillows, blankets, or even old shirts. Put them anywhere a draft might sneak in.
8. Burn Candles (Safely) to Help Generate Heat – Several candles grouped together on a table can provide some warmth and comfort. Just make sure they’re not in a place where they could be knocked over.
9. Invest in Solar Heaters – These hand devices rely on the sun to heat a house. However, they’re much more effective if you use them to warm a single room. Unfortunately, they’re pretty expensive. If you don’t want to be out a couple thousand dollars, you can buy a single panel and use it to heat one room or a small section of the house.
10. Invest in a Wood Stove or Fireplace – Make sure you have plenty of seasoned, dry wood to burn in the stove as well. A wood stove can easily heat an entire home and provide a way to heat food.
11. Get a Portable Generator – A large standby generator can be enough to run your furnace, but a portable generator can run a space heater or two. Keep extra fuel on hand for your generator, and NEVER put your generator inside your home. Keep it under a porch or awning to protect it from heavy snow if necessary.
12. Drink Warm Liquids – Hot coffee, hot chocolate, soup, and tea will keep your body warm from the inside out. Use your candle or camp stove to heat the liquid. Drink hot liquid every hour or so to keep your body temperature up. Avoid drinking cold water or other cold drinks.
13. Pile On The Blankets – Get comfy on the couch and put on several blankets to keep warm. Make sure you keep your head covered as well. Wool blankets are best and provide the most warmth.
14. Use Heated Water Bottles – Back in the day, people used heated water bags to keep warm while they sat on the couch or lay in bed. You can do the same by heating up a water bottle and putting it next to your body. Another option is a bag of beans. Put it near your heater or fire (but not too close) until it gets nice and warm, then snuggle up with it.
15. Get Some Exercise – Five minutes of jumping jacks or burpees will warm you up really fast. If you have kids, play a game of Simon Says. Not only will this warm up everyone, it will boost morale.
16. Put Your Tent Up Indoors – The small, enclosed space will trap in body heat. Burning a candle in the tent will provide more heat (just be careful). If your tent is sturdy enough, add a blanket over the top to help trap the heat inside.
17. Pull Out Your Sleeping Bags – Blankets are great during the day, but at night you’ll want some high-quality sleeping bags to trap in every bit of body heat.