Lost Power: How to warm up any room.


In bad weather, shelter is your first priority, even above water.

You can survive three days without water, but three hours of exposure can kill you.

Your house or apartment will do a good job of keeping the wind and rain out, but without power, you’ll get cold. With intense winter weather forcing temperatures well into the negatives across much of the north and bringing freezing cold temperatures far south, knowing how to stay warm even without power is a must-have skill.

The Basics of Staying Warm in a Cold House

If you suspect the power will fail, fill all your thermal flasks and cups with hot water in advance. Making a hot chocolate or coffee will improve your spirits when your house starts to chill. If you have a camping stove make sure you have a few cans of gas in your prepper kit. Prepare a stew or chili before the power goes and you can heat up a hot meal or two.

When the power goes out, if you don’t have a backup heating system like a generator, a wood-burning stove or an indoor propane-fueled space heater – that is fully safety compliant with shut-down systems for protection – you can still stay warm. Never use heaters designed for exterior use indoors. Carbon monoxide is a silent deadly killer. Victims of CO poisoning will turn cherry red.

Hang out in a single room. Pick a modest-sized room and move everyone in the family into it. Close the doors and draw the curtains to trap in as much heat as possible. Pass the time with board games, card games, reading, and conversation. Good luck with the bathroom – it’ll be cold so warn the kids.

Bundle up. Have everyone in the household dress in layers. Wear gloves, a hat, and wool socks to keep your body as warm as possible.

Use sleeping bags. If things get really cold, drag out the sleeping bags and mattresses. With everyone in the same room, dressed in layers, and snuggled into their own sleeping bags, you’re all sure to stay comfortable and warm. Plug draughts in windows and doors but don’t seal them completely – you’re going to need some air!


Doing these three things will keep you safe from the dangers of hypothermia and exposure and stave off the misery that comes with feeling shivery cold. But it’s pretty boring to be stuck in a sleeping bag all day.

If a power outage goes on for more than a day or two, and you don’t have a friend or relative you can go stay with, the crazies on the internet suggest you try these cheap and easy tricks to heat up a room in your home.

Crazy heating tips from the internet!

Method One: Heat Your Room for the Cost of a Tea Candle

To make an “impressive little convection heater”, you’ll need tea candles, a metal bread pan and two ceramic pots. One of the pots should be larger than the other. If you put the smaller one inside the bigger one, there should be space between the two pots all the way around. Both pots should be of a size that they can sit stably on the edges of the loaf pan. You’ll also need a heat resistant spacer – a clay tile or even the flattened metal base of a spent tea candle will work.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Put the pan on a heat resistant pad. Set three or four tea lights in the middle of the pan and light them.
  2. Put the smaller pot upside down over the candles, so that the lip is resting on the edge of the pan.
  3. Place the spacer over the hole in the bottom (now the top) of the smaller pot.
  4. Place the larger pot over the smaller pot so that its lip rests on the edges of the pan.

That’s it. You’ll notice within just a few minutes that quite a bit of heat comes out through the drainage hole of the bigger pot. Use this set up to effectively heat a small room. Or you can set up several to heat a larger room.


You have to pay a great deal of attention when using these planter heaters as the candles quickly turn into liquid paraffin wax. Have a fire blanket on hand. Paraffin wax begins to evaporate at temperatures above 99 °F. These heaters also produce highly flammable paraffin vapor. Bear in mind that the flashpoint for this gas is between 392–464 °F and the hottest part of a single candle flame burns at around 1400°C, averaging 1000°C. This all adds up to the possibility that these flower pot candle heaters can flash-flare and burst into flames. Never leave unattended or with young children or people with mobility issues.

Method Two: Penny Panel

This isn’t an actual solar panel since there are no solar cells involved, but it will harness the power of the sun to help heat a room.

This method only works in a room with a south-facing window. You’ll need a clear, plastic storage bin. One of the shallow types will work best. You’ll also need lightweight cardboard, black spray paint, two or three dollars worth of pennies, a hot glue gun, and a small hand saw with a straight blade.

  1. Cut the cardboard to fit in the bottom of the storage bin.
  2. Hot glue pennies to the cardboard. You want fairly good coverage with the pennies, but they don’t need to be so close that they’re touching each other.
  3. Spray paint the cardboard and the pennies black.
  4. Use the saw to cut a one-inch by eight-inch slit below each handle of the bin. This allows the warm air collecting in the bin to flow into the room.
  5. Glue the cardboard to the bottom of the bin, penny-side up.
  6. Place the bin in a south-facing window with the open side against the window.

Again, that’s it. On a sunny day, this contraption can raise the temperature in a medium-sized room by ten degrees. Or so they say!

Don’t mess with winter weather. Knowing how to stay warm is a crucial, life-saving skill.