Apartment Living / General

How to Stay Warm Without POWER: 16 Heat-Generating Hacks

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If you’re suffering from the cold during this brutal winter season, I’m so sorry. I hope this post helps you. I’m a Florida girl stuck in a mountainous region this winter, where it’s been freezing temps nearly every day since November. So I’ve had to learn how to stay warm without power (and with it).

Maybe your power went out and the weather is freezing.

Or maybe you just want to lower your heating bill.

Whatever your reasons, below are 16 ideas for staying warm without electricity.

5 Items You NEED If You’re Trying to Keep Warm Without Electricity

1. Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Detector

Some of the options for keeping warm without power are huge carbon monoxide poisoning risks! CO is odorless and cannot be seen, so it’s very dangerous as it can build up and sneak up on you. The results can be deadly. Keep a CO monitor with you at all times so it can alert you if the CO levels are getting dangerously high.

2. Matches and lighters

You need a way to start a fire if needed. Keep these handy.

Long matches are better because they reduce your chance of burning your fingers.

Long lighters are great too.

3. Candles

Candles are simple sources of heat and light. Keep them around.

Survival candle

Tea light candles

4. Portable Generator

This one is solar and battery powered

5. Blankets

Down blankets are ideal indoors

Emergency blankets are a good idea too

16 Ways to Stay Warm Without Power

Keeping Your House Warm Without Power

1. Designate the smallest, sunniest room in your house as the “warm room.”

Your “warm room” is the one place where you will consolidate ALL your heating efforts. It’s too much trouble trying to heat an entire house.

Ideally, this room will be:

  • The smallest room in the house (less space to heat)
  • The sunniest room in the house (you can use the sun as a heat source)
  • Well-insulated (do NOT pick a drafty room)
  • Upstairs (hot air rises, so upstairs rooms are warmer)
  • Has a door you can shut (to keep heat inside)

2. Plug up ANY cracks in the windows/doors.

You can use duct tape, masking tape, towels, and blankets to plug up the cracks in a door that let the cold air in. You can also buy door draft stoppers to insulate your doors.

3. During the day, if it’s sunny, pull back all curtains and blinds.

Now, this is the dilemma with windows:

  1. They’re a great heat source because the sign shines through them.
  2. They’re a terrible heat source because they’re poorly insulated and cold gets through them.

So, what you can do, is during sunny days, pull back the curtains. BUT at night, cover the window with curtains and even tape blankets over it or use blankets to plug the cracks in the window.

4. Pull out the down blankets.

Down blankets are excellent at keeping you warm. Get all of them. If you don’t have down, just pull out all your blankets. Put them in your warm room. Keep yourself wrapped in them.

5. If you have a gas stove, boil a huge pot of water on it.

**WARNING: NEVER leave your stove or oven on to warm your house. It may be tempting, but it could be fatal! The gas could fill your house and poison you with carbon monoxide.**

Boiling a pot of water does two things:

  1. The residual heat from the stove warms your house (or at least kitchen).
  2. The boiling water creates humidity, and humid air may FEEL warmer than dry air.

6. Turn OFF any vents in the bathroom or kitchen.

Those ventilation fans in the bathroom actually suck hot air out, so you don’t want them on if you’re trying to keep warm.

7. Layer your clothing.

Before you just pile on clothing willy-nilly, make sure you wear a base layer close to your skin. Ideally, your base layer will be tight-fitting with fleece inner lining. Avoid cotton because when you sweat, cotton doesn’t wick. Cotton holds the moisture against your body, which makes you cold. Try to find synthetic materials.

8. Sleep in your warmest winter clothes.

When I lived in Cusco, Peru, it was often in the 30s at night, and I had no heat in my apartment. I slept in my down jacket every night.

9. Wear wool socks

Get wool socks. They’re excellent insulators. Wear them all the time. Sleep in them too.

10. Cuddle with a person or a pet.

Your family is a great heat source! Cuddle with your significant other. If your kids are old enough where they won’t get crushed by you or fall out of bed, gather your kiddos and have everyone sleep in one bed to stay warm.

Pets are also excellent heaters! The normal body temperature of a dog and cat is 101 degrees! So grab Fluffy and snuggle him tonight.

11. Light candles

Okay, I get that candles are small (they’re also fire hazards!) but you can light a few and warm your hands over them. Light the candles in your “warm room.” You want ANY little bit of heat you can get. **Never leave lit candles unattended, as they could cause a fire.**

12. Get moving

Exercise and motion will generate body heat, and you’ll feel warmer. Walk around the house or watch a YouTube workout video to warm up.

13. Power your house with a portable generator

Of course, if you can, you can get a portable generator and use that to power your house. BUT you will need a transfer switch and gasoline or propane. ALWAYS run the generator OUTSIDE, not in an enclosed space (again, it’s a carbon monoxide hazard).

Alternatively, you can get a solar-powered, battery-operated generator so you don’t need gasoline or propane!

Here’s how to use a generator to power your house:

14. Sip hot liquids and eat warm foods.

This does wonders for warming your body up. Avoid frozen foods or cold foods, as they’ll make you start shivering.

15. Pour hot water into water bottle and use as a hand/body warmer.

If you can find a way to boil water, pour hot water into a heat-safe water bottle. You can sleep with this or use it to warm your hands.

You can even place the water bottle in the sun on a very sunny day until it warms up.

16. Put a tent on your bed or build a sheet fort!

Okay, so this hack has been making the rounds on social media due to the winter power outages in Texas—and it is GENIUS!

Place a small tent on your bed and sleep inside that. The tent will hold in the heat and provide a smaller space to keep warm. Your body heat will warm up the inside of the tent!

If you don’t have a camping tent handy, just build a sheet fort! You could place some chairs in your “warm room,” put some pads, blankets, and pillows between them, and then hang heavy blankets over the chairs to create your own sort of tent!

You know how if you pull your sheets/comforter over your head while you’re in bed, it eventually gets too hot from your own body warmth and breathing? That’s what happens when you build a sheet fort too! You can leave a little gap in the sheets for ventilation. It’ll be warmer inside your fort than outside of it.

Keeping Warm Outside

17. Stand in the sun.

I know—this may seem too simplistic, but it really works if it’s a sunny day. Even if it’s 30 degrees outside, the sun can really heat you up. This is how many Peruvians in Cusco stay warm. During the day, they stand outside in the sun, which is MUCH warmer than remaining indoors.