Prepping for Winter Power Outages

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So who do you rely on when disaster strikes? (And by disaster we can mean any number of things, from weather events, to job loss, etc..)

Why YOURSELF of course!

The best way to handle any contingency is to BE PREPARED.

So how do you keep warm if the power’s out? (Especially if you’re total electric…!)

my own driveway

There are indoor stoves, thermal blankets, DOWN comforters, battery powered and SOLAR charged lights, old fashioned kerosene lamps, candles, easy to eat meals and so much more if you really think about it.

First and foremost DRESS in LAYERS. Right now, even though I do have heat, I’m reducing the stress off the system by keeping the heat at around 62 degrees. The secret to staying warm is dressing in layers. I’m wearing a tshirt with a sweatshirt over it and a fleece jacket over that along with sweatpants, wool socks and fuzzy slippers. Quite cozy.

I’ve some fingerless gloves in case my hands get cold here in the office and of course some good heavier winter gloves for outside (such as bringing in firewood.)


One should always have extra socks on hand, wool or not. If you’re doing anything outdoors in the snow/ice you’re bound to get wet socks. You’ll want to change out of them as soon as possible.

Encourage everyone to wear something on their feet. I know a lot of kids would rather just go barefoot no matter the temperature but keeping your hands and feet warm will go a long way in keeping your body heat more stable.

If your house is poorly insulated and the cold is creeping in you might decide to gather everyone into one room. A prepper family I know designed their house so that there’s a center room, with a wood burning fireplace, that can be shut off from the rest of the house. This enables them to only have to heat (or maintain warmth) in one area.

my own fireplace

We do give off body heat and having everyone in one room will help. You can also set up a tent in the shared space for additional aid in keeping the warmth centered.

Got old quilts or blankets? You can cover your windows, doors, outer walls as added insulation. Also, bubble wrap on windows helps as well. (Use a spray bottle and lightly spray the window with water. Measure and precut bubblewrap to fit. Easy and cheap.)

Got an upstairs? Heat rises. Perhaps your shared space should be upstairs.

Got a basement? Ground temperatures remain pretty steady. It’s easier to bring the temp up in a structure with 55 degree walls vs walls steadily bombarded by scary low temps.

Do you own a DOWN comforter? Real down, not a ‘down alternative’ comforter? DOWN holds heat in. Your own body heat when wrapped up in a down comforter will keep you warm all night! Down comes in different strengths. We’re using a light ‘summerweight’ down comforter on our bed right now, although I do own a heavy ‘winterweight’ one, just in case!

Wear a hat or cap. A lot of your body heat escapes through your crown. Wearing a cap, a hat, or wrapping a scarf over your head will help… as will the hood of a hoodie.

Got a wood stove? Or a fireplace? Use it.

Using ALL your firewood? You just learned that you need to cut/store more for next winter.

Got a terra-cotta pot and some tealights? You can create a small heater using these items. The candles heat up the base and the pot and radiate the heat outward.

No clay pot? Some well placed candles will help. Not a ton but they will help especially if used in a small space. (Always place candles on a non-flammable surface and keep away from pets and children.)

Considering a generator for future use? They’ll be in short supply right now. The last time we had power outages there were no generators in a hundred miles in any direction! You can do your homework now and watch for a sale.

No water? Gather snow. Heat it over a candle if you have to. (It’s advised to boil melted snow before drinking to kill any bacteria.) Gather snow and fill your bathtub. You can then use the melted water for flushing.

Cold extremities? Do some jumping jacks. Get moving to get your blood flow moving. However, don’t exercise so much that you perspire. You want to warm up, not burn up.

Do you have a MANUAL can opener? You’d be surprised at how many households only have an electric can opener. It’s true that many of the canned goods come with pop-tops there are still quite a few that don’t. How will you open that can of chicken soup without a manual can opener?

You need to eat, even if it’s lukewarm soup. You can improvise a method to heat canned goods over candles if you have to, or in your fireplace, or over a sterno. You might have to think outside the box.

Hopefully, with the weather warming up the next couple of days you’ll have discovered for yourselves what you’ve missed in your household preps. Make a physical list not so that these important discoveries don’t slip your mind.

You can then make a list of what you were short on, your shortcomings and make a plan so that you never put your family in this kind of predicament again.

What did you find out that you need for the next winter storm?