Staying Warm Without Power

When power is out and the air is cold – whether it is due to winter or whether due to the general climate of the area – it can be a challenge to stay warm.  Even in the summer, some areas get cool enough at night that some sort of heat can be necessary to prevent hypothermia. 

It can be easier to keep bodies warm than entire locations, but there are ways to do both included in the tips and tricks below. When it is possible to keep the house warm, the inhabitants will obviously be able to stay warm, also. When it is not possible to warm an entire house, the people inside can still warm themselves in many cases. 

Area

  • Choose a room and close it off from the rest of the house. It is easier to keep one area warm than to warm the entire house. This is especially true with several people, as each person generates heat. It is even better if the room has an attached bathroom to limit having to leave the room, as opening the door will let out some of the reserved heat. 
  • Keep a room warmer by covering the windows. Closing curtains can help insulate some. If a window does not already have a curtain, cover it with a blanket to get a similar effect. Stapling plastic or thick blankets over the windows can block any cold drafts and make it easier to keep in what heat is there. Remember to make it so that sunlight can come in during the day and warm the room, even if you cover it entirely at night.
  • If the house has a fireplace or wood stove, this is certainly the best way to warm at least a room of the house. This is a good reason to be sure to keep the flue cleaned regularly, so you know it is safe to have a fire if it is needed. Also be sure to have plenty of firewood available. A fire in the fireplace also provides some light, so that is an added bonus. If there is no fireplace, candles can have some effect on the room’s temperature, but of course it would be a smaller effect. Be careful about fire, however, as open flames can cause painful burns if proper caution is not taken.
  • A gas oven is a good source of heat. Rather than only using the heat for the house, it can also be used to cook or bake something warm to help warm up inside!
  • Sleep upstairs, and with extra blankets. Because heat rises, the upper floors are likely to be warmer for some time as the house begins to cool down. 
  • Prior preparation that would be beneficial in an extended power outage in a cold area would be adding solar heating to the home. It is an investment that would pay off in lower electric bills during normal times and allow for heating in times when there is no electricity available.
  • Seal windows with duct tape. Lining the edges of the windows can keep cold air from coming through. 
  • A portable generator can provide some power for a space heater or electric blanket. Be sure to run a generator outside to prevent the exhaust from causing a dangerous excess of carbon monoxide in the house. 

Individuals

  • Wear layers. Those who live in colder climates are likely to be aware of this already. Layering clothes will increase warmth due to the air trapped between layers that is warmed by body heat. Remember that much body heat is lost through the head, so adding a hat can be one of the best ways to stay warm. 
  • Drink warmth in the form of hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate – even a cup of soup can be perfect. Warm up from the inside. Heating the liquid can be difficult without power. If appliances are gas-powered, or if the water heater is a gas one, this will not present a problem, but in an entirely electric house, it may be necessary to heat the water over a fire or on a gas burner. 
  • People who have a lot of blankets are in a good place for staying warm. The insulation that blankets provide for the windows is just as appropriate for personal insulation. If two people can cuddle up and share a blanket, they will also be sharing warmth and keep each other warmer than either would be alone. 
  • Light exercise will raise body temperature and make the cold feel more comfortable. Something simple like squats, running in place for a few seconds, or jumping jacks can boost internal heat. This, paired with layers, can help maintain a warmer temperature for some time. 
  • Hand warmers, which are often found in survival kits and can also be purchased at most grocery stores throughout the winter months, can be a good thing to stock up on in order to have a bit of warmth for hands and feet. 
  • A good sleeping bag, rated for low temperatures, will aid in surviving cold from a lack of power. Most sleeping bags can be zippered together to allow two people at a time, as well, which can help share heat. 
  • If faced with a lack of blankets, many things can be used for insulation against the cold, including aluminum foil, sheets, shower curtains or window curtains, tarps, or a variety of other things. In a pinch, look around and consider whatever is available as a possibility. 

Resources

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

FERNIDA Insulated Heating Underwear

Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

Venture Heat Men's Heated Vest with Battery Pack

HEAT PAX BODY WARMERS

Autocastle Heated Hat Men Women Battery Heat Cap

Mambe Extreme Weather 100% Waterproof/Windproof Hooded Blanket with Premium Stuff Sack

Battery Operated Heated Blanket Soft Fleece Throw For Car Camping Outdoors Sports Events Portable Water-Resistant

Coleman Brazos Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

 

Insulated Heating Underwear

Washable thermal underwear outfits (shirts and pants sold separately) offer three levels of battery-powered heating. They have a USB plug that can plug into a battery pack (sold separately). 

PowerCore Power Bank

This power bank will work perfectly to power USB devices, including the thermal clothing above and cell phones. 

Heated Vest with Battery Pack

Three settings of heat warm both chest and back inside this vest. It includes a power bank and a charger; the battery will allow low heat for up to 12 hours, medium heat for up to 7 hours, and high heat for about 3.5 hours.  The vest is machine washable and dryable.

Warmer Packs

Forty 3.5” x 5” warming packs will average about 129 degrees for 24 hours or more each. Safe and nontoxic, used packets can be tossed in the regular trash can. Suspend heating by sealing in an airtight container.  

Heated Hat

Portable rechargeable battery included with this hat with three levels of heat to keep the head warm. 

Extreme Weather Hooded Blanket

Resistant to weather and wind, this hooded blanket is made to keep a person warm in inclement weather. 

Battery-Powered Heated Blanket

Get cozy with this soft battery-powered fleece blanket. Comes with a rechargeable power bank that can also be used to charge a phone if needed. 

Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

Keep warm in temperatures down to 20 degrees with this polyester insulated sleeping bag. Lightweight construction is sturdy enough to last many years.