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 as far south as Georgia and Texas, knowing how to stay warm even without power is a must-have skill.
The Basics of Staying Warm in a Cold House
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, you can still stay warm.
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.
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. 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.
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, try these cheap and easy tricks to heat up any room in your home.
These methods are so cheap and effective, that you can heat multiple rooms, so you won’t have to feel so confined.
Get smart with heating
You can raise the temperature in any room by ten degrees or more for just a couple cents a day. These are great tricks in an emergency, but you can also use them at any time to cut down on the cost of heating.
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:
- Put the pan on a heat resistant pad. Set three or four tea lights in the middle of the pan and light them.
- Put the smaller pot upside down over the candles, so that the lip is resting on the edge of the pan.
- Place the spacer over the hole in the bottom (now the top) of the smaller pot.
- 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.
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.
- Cut the cardboard to fit in the bottom of the storage bin.
- 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.
- Spray paint the cardboard and the pennies black.
- 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.
- Glue the cardboard to the bottom of the bin, penny-side up.
- 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.
Don’t mess with winter weather. Knowing how to stay warm is a crucial, life-saving skill. These cheap and practical heaters can also help you save on your winter bills.