As I listen to the wind blowing hard outside and watch the power outages grow around us I am forever grateful for the things I have learned from past winter power outages.
Everything is ready with our supplies stacked in the room we plant to condense down to should the power go out. A major advantage many facing outages do not have right now. These tips will help you survive a winter power outage whether you have time to prep or you are in the moment and need to take action.
Have your emergency kit ready
Every family should have an emergency kit in their home year-round. In the winter time, your kit should include extra warm clothes and blankets along with all of the standard bug-in supplies ranging from after to food and first aid materials.
Having all of this tucked away with your emergency supplies means you do not have to go hunting for things the moment the power goes out. This allows you to keep a level head and be ready for the worst even in times of stress.
If your home is not winterized completely with things like plastic seal leaky windows to prevent drafts you should have plastic and tape packed way in your kit. Even those with it over windows should keep some extra on hand to shut off unused rooms to help trap heat in your main living area.
Be prepared with a backup heat source.
So many people do not realize just how vital it is to have a backup heating source to help keep their families from freezing in a power outage. Your furnace requires electricity to fire up so even a gas furnace becomes useless in a power outage.
A generator to provide power for electric heaters and indoor safe propane heaters are great options for those looking to help keep their families warm in a power outage. These of course take planning ahead of time.
If you have missed the opportunity to prepare for a power outage you can build a candle heater by placing a small pot of water on a stand above some jar candles. These will heat the water and radiate heat into the room.
Trap heat for your family
Even your body can produce valuable heat that can help keep your family warm and cozy. Trapping this heat by condensing your family down to one room can help keep you warmer for longer. You may get tired of each other but the more bodies in a smaller space the warmer you will stay.
If you have a basement this area is the most insulated from the harsh biting wind and will stay warmer longer. Basements tend to stay in the 60s for most of the year thanks to the ground insulation.
For homes without a basement, a room on the side opposite the direction of the wind will be the most protected from the wind and the easiest to keep warm without power.
To help keep your family warmer at night you can raid your camping gear for tents and sleeping bags. Even tents designed for warmer weather can be used to trap heat and keep your family warmer. Place your tent on top of a mattress. Of course, if you have an air mattress you can put it inside your tent.
You can layer blankets over a tent to help trap rising heat as well. If you do not have a tent take a note from kids and build yourself a blanket fort. this will help trap body heat down where you are instead of it rising into the ceiling.
Feed your family hot food if possible.
A gas stove can be lit with a lighter or match, and hot food can be cooked right in your kitchen. Additionally, you can boil water on the stovetop to add heat and humidity to your home.
The boiled water can be used to warm people’s beds, tents, or blankets by filling milk jugs and placing them underneath your blankets.
Before the power goes out, get an alternative cooking source on hand if you do not have a gas stove. You can provide your family with hot food and drinks that will help them stay warm with a butane-powered gas burner camp stove.
Avoid very cold food if possible. It is better to have room temperature than cold to avoid cooling your body internally.
If you have a generator running a slow cooker is a way to make hot food for your fmaily and provide some heat radiation and humidity to your space.
Consider your lighting.
Flashlights, fairy lights, even solar lights from your front yard can be sued to provide light for your home in a power outage.
It is great to carry flashlights, but you should consider using sources of lighting that can help keep your family warm by emitting even a small amount of heat while providing light.
This can range from oil lamps to even candles in a pinch. If you have a wire basket you can use to bold a pot of water up over a jar candle. This will leave enough space for air to flow and help create some radiant heat while providing your home with extra light.
Oil lamps are one of the most efficient options for light and heat should you have some available.
Dress in layers
Remember that you want to trap in the heat but not so much that you sweat which can lead to rapid cooling. Dressing in layers allows your to regulate temperatures more easily and add or remove as needed to keep you from overheating or getting too cold.
Protect your pipes
While a power outage greatly increases your chance of frozen pipes there are still things you can do to help prevent frozen pipes. Leave water dripping at your sinks and tub to help ensure that your water stays flowing.
Keep your family entertained
Things can get a bit boring during a power outage. Keeping some board games, coloring books, and simple activities that can be done by candle light on hand is a great way to help make it easier to handle a winter power outage without going stir-crazy while you work to stay warm.
If like to keep extra battery chargers on hand so devices can still be used for entertainment. Even if the towers are down Kindle books you have already downloaded can be a great way to stay entertained while hiding under the covers. Try Kindle Unlimited if you have a signal and you will be content for days.