17 Tips To Staying Warm During A Winter Power Outage

Updated: Mar 29

One of the worse disasters Texas has ever witnessed ravaged the state and much of the south in 2021. Blackouts from the unprecedented winter storms paralyzed much of the state in February. Different reports show from 50 up to 700 people died as a result of the electrical grid failure during the winter storm straight out of Wonderland.

Remember to investigate every aspect of safety and educate yourself thoroughly. By educating yourself now you can prevent having to take unnecessary risks in a time of desperation. Hundreds of people die and thousands become sick from exposure to Carbon Monoxide.


Carbon Monoxide Safety


Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as, "The Invisible Killer" because we are unable to sense the invisible, odorless, silent gas. Portable generators, gas car engines, charcoal grills, and gas- and oil-burning furnaces are some common things that all produce carbon monoxide. Here are things to consider to keep you and your family safe.


  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.

  • Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home.

  • Install battery-operated CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.

  • Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

  • Have your gas or oil furnace inspected every year.

  • Electric shock risk: Do not use in a wet environment.

  • Store any fuel outside in case of fire.

 


1. Eat and Drink!

Burning calories from food warms you up. When you burn calories your body is literally creating heat. Some studies show that high-fat diets help keep you even warmer because you burn more calories. In addition to eating plenty make sure you are adequately hydrated. Water is fantastic at retaining heat, so by staying hydrated you are more apt to hold your heat once you are warm.


2. Clay Pots + Candles Heater Hack

This homemade heater uses a few candles to heat up a series of upside-down clay pots that are layered like Russian nesting dolls. The pots get very hot and retain and radiate the heat well. Be sure to use caution around this, as the clay pots can get very hot. Keep all flammable items away from any heat source.


3. Pitch A Tent Indoors

Warming a small tent is much easier than an entire house or a single room. Since the space is small and enclosed your body heat is trapped inside. You can increase the effectiveness of this method by covering the tent with more insulation like emergency blankets or normal blankets. If you don't have a tent you can build some type of tent using a card table and blankets for example.


4. Eradicate Air-Flow And Insulate Your House

Keeping the warmth in and not letting in more cold is essential! Windows will steal your heat as well as air coming in from underneath a door. You can use, tape, and plastic/bubble wrap to block this and further insulate your house or room. Close off as much of your house as you can. If you have expanding foam or caulk you could also utilize that to close some gaps.


5. Get Active

When you move, you generate heat. The more you move the warmer you'll be thanks to thermogenesis! Just be careful that you don't get soaked in sweat because you can raise your risk of developing hypothermia. The main point is to improve your circulation so that your arms and legs stay warm.


6. Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol

Despite what is intuitive and often touted as great ways to stay warm, your blood vessels constrict and could make your extremities colder from drinking coffee and liquor. Instead of coffee try drinking caffeine-free tea or hot chocolate.


7. Plastic Bag Socks / Plastic insulation

If your toes and feet are cold one thing you can do is insulate your feet further with plastic. Put a plastic bag over your socks and put on another pair of socks over that. This works to insulate as an outer layer but isn't the best option for long term use, as plastic will retain moisture. Some airflow is good. Change out of any wet clothing.


8. Have A Fire

This is obvious but what do you do once you've run out of firewood? Remember most things are flammable including furniture, though be cautious of what you burn as some materials create toxic fumes. One thing that you might not know is that cow "chips" or dried animal manure is a great source of burnable material. If you don't have a fireplace you can consider installing a stove or something of that nature if you have the means to do so, just make sure that you follow all rules and guidelines of proper installation.


9. Stay Off Of The Floor

The floor, especially if you don't have carpet can be cold. Stay off of the floor as much as you can, and find a designated well-insulated spot to keep warm.


10. Utilize The Wim Hof (The Iceman) Breathing Technique

Wim Hoff (The Iceman) developed a breathing technique to optimize health and athletic performance. He is able to withstand cold temperatures amazingly well.

  • Find a comfortable seat.

  • Rest your palms on your thighs.

  • Breathe in fully, breathe out fully. (Breath may be in and out through the nose or the mouth.)

  • Try to make a full circle from inhaling to exhaling and back to the next inhale.

  • Repeat 30 to 40 breath cycles.

  • After the final round, hold your breath for as long as you can.

  • Option: perform as many push-ups as possible while retaining your breath.

11. Hot Water Bottles

Water stays hot for a while. You can put warm bottles next to your core to help you stay warm. You can heat water using candles. You can also drink warm water and use it to make hot food.


12. Keep Fit

People who are more physically fit feel the cold less. Muscle tissue generates heat.


13. Use Hot Stones

If you heat some stones you can use them to transfer heat. You don't have to put them onto fire but just near it. However, do not use stones pulled from a river or other water source. Stones have the potential to hold water which expands when heated causing the stone to explode. People have used hot stones and brought them into tents from their fires when camping. They can be incredibly hot but if you're careful you can wrap them up and bring them indoors to enjoy the radiant heat. You can also put them on something that won't be affected by the heat like cookware or bricks.


14. Wear Layers

Bundle up in multiple layers. Your first layer should fit close to your body. A soft natural fabric that is comfortable is best. (Note: cotton retains sweat). The second layer is an insulator. Merino is a good material. Synthetics will trap heat but leave you stuffy and uncomfortable. You can stack up as much of the wrong fabric that you want but it won't compare to other options like Merino.


15. Kerosene (Or Other) Heater

In an emergency, this works in a pinch. There are heaters designed for indoor spaces. Beware of the danger of fire and be aware of fumes and vent them properly.


16. Generator

If you have a generator and fuel you will be able to use your electricity to help you generate heat and use an electric heater or electric stove to help you stay warm and create heat.


17. Snuggle With Loved Ones And Pets

Getting close to an animal or your loved one will keep you significantly warmer and also be comforting during an emergency. Skin to skin contact works best, as there are no layers between you preventing heat absorption. Obviously, use discretion and common sense to avoid uncomfortable situations. Bunking with farm animals in an emergency situation will keep you from freezing as well.

 

What are your favorite hacks to staying warm? Comment down below!

 

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