Staying Warm This Winter: What to Do When the Power Goes Out

Power Goes Out

If a winter storm makes your power goes out , you’ll want to find the best ways to stay as warm as possible. If your electricity is out for more than a few hours, your home will cool down, often to uncomfortable – if not dangerous – temperatures.

These tips will help you stay warm and safe even without your central heating.

Before Bad Weather & Before the Power Goes Out

If you have a generator, perform a thorough inspection before the winter season. This way, you’ll be able to fix any problems before you’re stuck in below-freezing temperatures without central heating. If nothing else, you’ll be able to use a space heater until your electricity is restored.


Find an indoor-safe heater that doesn’t require electricity. One common type runs on propane, which is safe provided that you follow all of the instructions and use common sense. Make sure that your home is well insulated. Vulnerable places include windows, doors and floors. The longer your home holds heat, the better off you’ll be.

When the Power Dies

Close off unused sections your home. Pick one or two rooms to occupy, preferably on the side of the house that’s not receiving the winter wind. The less space you try to heat, the warmer you’ll be.


You can close doors to create a smaller space. In addition to this, you can also block drafts with towels and hang blankets over openings without doors (such as hallway entrances).


Never use outdoor-only sources of heat inside your home. People have died from carbon-monoxide poisoning because they dragged barbecue grills, outdoor-only heaters or other such things into their homes for emergency heating. There are better, safer ways to stay warm.


Many people use wood-burning stoves or fireplaces as primary sources of heat. If this is the case in your home, you still have a good source of heat. However, you probably don’t have the necessary exhaust fans while your power is out. If this is the case, open a couple of windows. A little cold air is better than being toasty warm while inhaling deadly fumes.


Wear several layers of clothing. Multiple layers of socks, shirts and even pants help trap warm air near your body. If you’re desperate, you can do what homeless people do and stuff layers of newspaper between your shirts and pants. You’ll crinkle every time you move, but at least you’ll be warm. Be sure to wear a hat. A lot of heat escapes from your head – especially if you have shorter hair. A knit cap is one of the best bets, but a baseball cap will work too.


Get back into bed. Even if you can’t power your electric blanket, the layers of bedding will help keep you warmer. This is doubly true if you live with other people: you can all bundle up together in the biggest bed and share body heat.


If you become cold despite all of these tips, start moving around. Even just walking around the living room a few times will make things more pleasant.

When the power is finally restored, you can crowd around the nearest central-heating vent and sigh with relief. In the meantime, you’ll stay alive and safe despite the winter’s cold.

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