Imagine for a moment the following case scenario: its winter, a time of the year when you always “plan” to get supplies in case unexpected situations occur. Now it’s a couple of degrees below zero, and the power goes out, what would you do to keep warm?
Power outages aren’t only inconvenient they can also be potentially dangerous. If you only trust electricity as your only source of heat and don’t have a plan B, your teeth will be chattering for as long as you are without energy. The same blizzards and ice storms that knock down power lines can also keep people from retreating to somewhere warmer.
As we know that your priority is to keep your family safe, we’ve compiled the most useful ideas to conserve warmth during a winter power outage. Even during a prolonged shutdown, these smart tips will help you add heat to your home.

Prepare for the power outage

If you’ve received a power outage warning, set the highest temperature in your home. The hotter, the longer it’ll take to cool down.

Fill bathtubs and sinks with water.

Test your generator.

Stay Warm During Power Outage

1. Avoid heat loss

The first and most important step to staying warm during a power outage can be summed up in one word: conservation. We don’t think much about it when the heating is working, but a blast of cold can quickly drop the temp 5 to 10 degrees with no easy way to get that heat back. Trap the heat in your home by doing the following:

  • Roll up a towel and place it on the base of exterior doors. If you have to leave, go through a porch or garage.
  • Unless south-facing windows bring in a little heat if it’s sunny, keep the curtains closed to reduce heat loss through the windows.
  • If the power cut is prolonged, move all the family activities into one room and keep the interior doors shut to retain some of the room’s heat. Gather blankets, sleeping bags, and flashlights. Put on additional clothing layers, gloves, and a hat.
  • If you have a tent and enough space, consider placing it temporarily inside to capture and share body heat.

2. Put the generator running

Some homes have standby generators that run on the home’s natural gas or propane supply and turn on automatically when the electricity goes out. The portable backup generators are instead gasoline-powered tools, and if you plan to use one, you should follow the following precautions:

  • Never run the generator inside.
  • Place the generator in a well-ventilated area with the exhaust directed away from your home.
  • Connect only electric heaters and the most necessary appliances.

3. Fire up the fireplace

This is one of the simplest ways to warm a room when there’s no electricity. Gas fireplaces that are equipped with a battery backup for the ignition will continue to work even if there’s no electricity. For wood-burning fireplaces, conserve wood by using the fireplace intermittently. Remember to keep flammable items away from the fireplace.

4. Use a portable heater with an open window

If you use a portable heater, make sure it’s indoor-safe as some can cause a deadly carbon monoxide buildup.

5. Stay out of the home if necessary

Hunkering down at home isn’t always the best option. When it’s safe to drive, consider heading to a hotel to avoid a power outage. Before leaving, take the following measures to protect your home while you’re gone:

  • Unplug electronic devices.
  • Shut off the main water valve to your house and drain the water from the faucets to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • If your alarm system is still working, set it before leaving.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are closed.

Power outages can be frustrating and stressful, but if you follow these helpful tips, you will hopefully stay warm and safe until everything is back to normal.

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