Most of us would consider this question irrelevant in normal circumstances. Why would we want to consider a dystopian scenario?
You are rudely awakened to this possibility during snowstorms and power outages.
With extreme weather conditions becoming more frequent in recent times than you would prefer due to global warming and climate change, power outages are also becoming a regular feature in the winter.
This means you need to be prepared for surviving the cold without the help of electricity. You can handle the situation better if you are ready and have the infrastructure in place.
Read on to learn more about ways to heat a house without electricity. Your knowledge about how to keep warm without power can help you deal with power outages with ease.
Electric heating: Pros and cons
More people choose electric heating for their homes because of the convenience it offers on multiple fronts. However, as mentioned earlier, power outages can take away all the advantages in an instant and leave us stranded in cold weather.
Some of the best reasons to have electric heating, along with the challenges it poses are:
- No burning, no inflammable gasses, and no toxic fumes. Electric heating is the safest heating option for homes.
- For the same reasons as above, it is environmentally friendly.
- Easy to control the temperature.
- It is economical to buy.
- Electric heating is easier to install and maintain.
- An electric furnace is slow in powering up and heating the room.
- In many places, the energy rates are so high that electric heating costs more to run than gas ones.
- During outages, it cannot be relied upon.
As we can see, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And, this accounts for its popularity. However, if you choose to continue with electric heating, you need to factor in the power outages during winter.
Let’s see how to stay warm when the power goes out.
How to keep warm without power?
The infamous Texas freeze is something people who endured are not going to forget in a hurry. With climate change expected to worsen in the coming years, we can expect more incidents like this. So, the question is how to prepare for such eventualities.
Dismissing this as a one-off experience and carrying on as if nothing happened is not a good idea. When a power outage hits you in the dead of winter amid freezing temperatures, there is only so much you can do to manage the crisis. When you scramble to stay warm during a power outage, you are underprepared and at a disadvantage.
When the temperature drops down to the 20s and teens, your best bet to stay warm is by dressing for it. Fill your wardrobe with warm clothing that will help you maintain your body temperature without additional help. The better dressed you are to tackle the cold, the less you will need to rely on other steps.
Here are some suggestions to survive a Texas kind of power outage.
Keep your body warm with appropriate clothing
- Wear multiple layers of clothing to stay warm.
- Wear thick fleece-lined thermal underwear that can withstand the cold temperature. This is one of the best strategies to retain your body heat during power outages.
- Wear warm clothes on top of your thermal underwear.
- Wear a hooded parka or a jacket on top.
- Wear thick woolen caps, socks, muffler/neck warmer, and gloves inside your home as if you are going out.
- Wear shoes inside the house. Take care not to touch the floor with your bare feet.
- If you are still feeling cold, wrap yourself in a blanket.
- If any part of the floor you will be walking is not covered with carpet or rugs, cover them with blankets. You can even use old towels for this purpose.
- If your wardrobe is not sufficiently equipped for this level of dressing, you should shop for the missing items without delay. If you are looking for bargains, you may find good offers in both online and offline stores.
Keep your home warm
- It is easy to lose heat through the floors. To prevent this, keep the floor covered. Use blankets and towels to cover exposed areas.
- Close the blinds and curtains. If available, hang thick woolen blankets over windows and doors.
- Choose one room where all family members can spend the time. Spend both day and night here to keep warm.
- Close off the rest of the rooms and seal the cracks with towels to prevent cold air from coming in.
- Stock up on heat tapes to keep your pipes from freezing up.
Stay warm with simple gadgets and equipment
- Set up a heat-resistant tent in the room you choose, preferably with insulated groundsheets. Stay inside as much as you can. In case you don’t have a tent, drape thick woolen blankets over your dining table.
- Stock up on hand and feet warmers for use inside gloves, mittens, boots, shoes, or pockets.
- Use a Buddy Burner for light and heat. However, ensure there is enough ventilation for fumes to escape.
- Use a portable stove inside the room to do basic cooking or heat ready-to-eat meals.
- If your home has a fireplace that uses anything other than electricity, get it going throughout the period. In case it is electric or you are unable to use it, close the damper to avoid cold drafts from entering the room.
- Fill up hot water bottles to keep yourselves warm.
- Use a warm sleeping bag at night. If you don’t own one, you should shop for one.
- If you have a conventional fireplace, keep large rocks near the fire when it is lit. Take them out carefully using tongs and keep them near you. The stored heat in it will continue to release slowly.
Some more ideas to stay warm during a power outage
- Stay cuddled up with others in the family. Or cuddle up with your pet.
- Keep babies and toddlers close to your body by carrying them around in a carrier or a sling. This would help in keeping them warm.
- Use your car heater to keep you warm. This can be a short-term arrangement. Ensure your garage is well-ventilated. You can also use the car battery to charge your electronic devices.
- Keep your body warm with light workouts. The idea is to keep moving to keep up the blood circulation and body warmth,
- Ensure your family is well-fed. A full belly translates to higher body temperature and the ability to withstand cold. Caffeine and alcohol are best avoided as they lower your body temperature.
- In the worst-case scenario, seek shelter in public warming sites, if available close by.
How to plan for winter power outages?
Power outages have become a regular occurrence in winter in recent years. Don’t allow it to catch you off guard this winter. Plan your strategy and prepare for the next outage.
Here are some tips to prepare for an outage this winter.
- Stock up on ready-to-eat and non-perishable foods.
- Fill your wardrobe with enough warm clothing.
- Stock up on flashlights and batteries.
- Keep the tank of your car filled up.
- Buy a car phone charger if you already don’t have one.
- Keep a corded phone for your landline as a standby.
- Stock up drinking water. If you have an overhead tank, keep it filled up.
- Rack your brains to come up with ideas to heat a room without electricity.
If you think about it, this need not be about power outages alone. You can use some of these tactics to keep warm without electricity even when the power is available. Such as wearing warmer clothing and better insulation from the cold temperature outside.
Even if you don’t want to rely on them completely, you can at least utilize them to supplement the heating. This can help you save on your energy bills.