There are many ways to stay warm during a power outage. And with rolling blackouts, winter storms, and other cold-weather outages on the rise, chances are you may need to use them.
So what are the ways to stay warm during a power outage?
In general, think of staying warm by area. The smaller the area you need to warm up, the easier it will be to stay warm.
So that means to think of keeping warm in this order:
- Your body
- Part of the warmest room in the house
- The warmest room in the house
- Part of the house (with the rest closed off)
- The entire house
The fewer areas you need to warm up during a power outage, the better.
Ways to Keep Yourself Warm When Inside
Step one, of course is to cover up! You’ll lose heat through any areas of your body that are uncovered. So make sure that you wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks at a minimum. If you don’t have long sleeve clothing, use a blanket, towel, or sheet.
Wearing a base layer under your clothing makes a huge difference as well. In a pinch, workout leggings & a thin t-shirt under a sweater or multiple t-shirts can work.
If you’re reading this in advance, Costco sells 32 Degree Heat tees and pants seasonally that are both inexpensive and effective. It’s worth picking up a few pairs now just in case. (You can get them online or in person.)
Also consider getting a Comfy for added warmth. It may look goofy, but warm is warm, right?
Hand warmers and toe warmers are good ideas too.
Of course, adding a scarf, hat, and gloves will help as well. They’re not just for outdoors, especially if the power is out!
If you don’t have a scarf or gloves (because you live somewhere where it’s normally hot) you can create makeshift ones with a blanket, towel, or t-shirt around your neck and shoulders, and cut the toes off a pair of socks to make temporary fingerless gloves.
Don’t forget hot water bottles, hot drinks, and eating complex carbs to help stay warm as well.
Be sure you stay dry as well. Getting wet (even if it’s from your sweat) makes it much harder to stay warm and increases your chances of hypothermia. So if you need to go outside, change into dry clothes and footwear when you come back in.
Now let’s move on to more ways to stay warm when the power is out.
Ways to Stay Warm During a Power Outage Inside Part or All of a Room
Next up is staying warm inside part or all of a room. Because of course it’s easier to keep yourself warm if the room you’re in is also warm.
Think togetherness when the power is out. Hang out as a group (including any pets) in the warmest room in the house, and close off the other rooms during a power outage. The body heat you lose will help increase the temperature in the room you’re in.
If you have an open concept home, the warmest room will probably be a small, sunny bedroom.
Close the curtains or blinds at night or if there’s heavy shade. If you have extra blankets or cardboard, hanging those over the windows will help keep heat in as well.
Block any drafts, but don’t completely seal things up — you still need ventilation.
If you have a tent, set that up inside the warmest room as well. Hang out or at least sleep inside the tent within the house to stay even warmer.
Of course, use multiple layers of blankets or even sheets when sleeping. (Or even when awake if it’s very cold.) If you have sleeping bags, use those too.
In other words, layers, layers, and more layers really help.
If warming stations are available in your area and you can safely get to them, consider doing so. Especially if you can get there before the cold hits!
Emergency Heat Sources During a Power Outage
Typical emergency heat sources that people use when the power is out include a:
- gas fireplace
- wood burning stove or fireplace
- propane heater (like Mr Heater
- space heater used with a generator
A gas stove is NOT a safe heat source during a power outage (or ever).
If you’re using any kind of emergency heat source, make very sure that you keep safe! Also make sure the room is well ventilated.
People die from carbon monoxide poisoning and fires every year. Don’t be one of them.
Things to Watch Out for When Keeping Warm During a Power Outage
That means using a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm (which you should have anyway), never leaving flames unattended, or candles and heaters where they can be tipped over, and using tip-protection on any heaters.
Be sure to use any generators safely as well, by keeping them outside and away from any windows & doors. Never ever use one inside the house.
Likewise, never use charcoal grills indoors.
And never warm up in your car inside an enclosed garage or other space.
Avoid drinking anything alcoholic when you’re trying to keep warm. That’s because according to the Cleveland Clinic, “When you drink, your blood vessels dilate, sending more blood to your skin. It makes you feel warmer, but you’re actually losing your body heat to the outside environment faster.”
If you someone is showing signs of frostbite or is having uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, etc. get medical help for them if you can, and try more ways to warm them up if you can’t.
There are many ways to stay warm during a power outage, but it’s important to be safe and aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
Try to huddle together with family or friends in the warmest room possible and use extra blankets and layers to keep yourself as warm as you can.
If you must use an emergency heat source, be sure to take precautions and never leave flames unattended.
It’s always good to do what you can to prepare for emergencies.