How to stay warm in a power outage – or even if your heater just goes out.

I haven’t been looking up much for the past couple of weeks other than how to build a preorder form for book sales for upcoming book signings and recipes. Pretty generic stuff for me, lol.

But today. TODAY. *sigh* I live in Wisconsin. Not too cold normally. Sure we hit below zero once and a while, but I also whisper ‘thank God I’m not in Canada’ lol. I’ve friends there. Snow to the roofs of their cars right now. Butt hole cold. Brrr.

But today. We ran about 8 degrees. Not too bad. But the house was getting colder and colder. I wear faux fur moccasin slippers but they weren’t doing the job. Not even with thermal socks on.

It was just my husband and myself home. The Daughter and Granddaughter (henceforth D and DG in perpetuity) were at her boyfriends for the weekend. Is it only me, but do most 20 somethings live at home? Back to the story.

Now, I like it cold in the house. With the crazy weather changes I’ve been popping migraine pills like candy. But, it’s getting a little too cold. The temperature outside dropped again. Even my husband asked if I was cold because he was.

THEN he says, maybe I forgot to turn the furnace on.


H: Oh, I changed the filter while I was cleaning up downstairs. (washing machine overflowed all over the floor-it’s been a good weekend!) I had to turn it off. Let me see if I forgot to turn it back on.

He moseyed on down to the basement.

I heard a click and the heater kicked in.

H: I turned it back on.

GAH. I never would have thought about the heater being turned off. Never even crossed my mind. Since he was leaving for work in about an hour I would have been home alone with no heat. Temps haven’t warmed up at all. They tend to drop even lower at night.

But then my brain wouldn’t stop asking, what if the heater had gone out? Last time we all shared body heat, lol. Me, H and both my D and son. They were little, in grade school and we had a king size bed. We had the heater replaced in two days. Always in the dead of winter.

But again, I was alone. No body heat. No pets, even. So I started looking up what to do.

  1. Block all drafts from doors and windows with towels. Makes sense.
  2. Keep curtains closed unless the sun is shining to help warm the room. Closed because it’s now night.
  3. Move to one room. Pile blankets and pillows and even a mattress if there’s room. Flashlights, extra clothing, even gloves and hats. Keep the doors closed to keep heat in. Doable.
  4. If you have a tent, sleep in it to protect you from the weather. Yuck, mine are spider and dirt filled, but maybe I should clean them up for future winters. Hmm.
  5. Don’t keep opening the refrigerator & freezer.
  6. Turn on the generator (I don’t have one, but have been thinking about getting one). Keep it outside and well ventilated.
  7. Use the fireplace (Again, I don’t have one)
  8. Use portable heater but keep a window cracked so you don’t kill yourself from the fumes. (This I have! I just don’t know where it was moved to-need to find it)
  9. Go to a hotel, especially if it is a long power outage. That would depend on whether they have power and heat also.

Then I checked out the Urban Survival Site for 17 ways to stay warm.

Layer your clothes, use hand warmers. Close off unneeded rooms. Huddle in one room. Duct tape and plastic up windows. Close curtains, use towels to stop drafts. Invest in solar heater, fireplace and generator. Drink warm liquids, pile on blankets. Use heated water bottle, exercise, put up a tent and drag out your sleeping bags.

Not too different. But how are you supposed to cook? I would imagine I’d have to drag out my grill. But it would have to be outside. But if you didn’t have one? Here’s a handy dandy heater.

An empty never used paint can is best, but who has that? Not in an emergency! You can use a vegetable can. Here are the steps from the Urban Survival Site:

Materials and Tools:

Tin Can Heater Materials And Tools

  • 1 empty 1-quart paint can with lid or empty food can
  • 1 roll of toilet paper
  • 1 bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • A flathead screwdriver


Tin Can Heater Assembly Process

  1. Use a screwdriver and your hands to remove the cardboard tube from the center of the toilet paper roll.
  2. Once the tube is removed, squeeze the roll so it collapses in on itself.
  3. Slowly insert the toilet paper roll into the can.
  4. As you approach the end of the roll, you might need the screwdriver to get it past the rim.

Tin Can Heater Setup Process

  1. Make sure the toilet paper is below the rim of the can.
  2. A large tile at least 1-foot square should be placed under the can.
  3. Slowly pour the isopropyl alcohol onto the toilet paper wick until it is saturated.
  4. Light the top of the can,f but be careful if you place the can in a bright area. The flame can be difficult to see.

Tin Can Heater Lit

Place the can in a safe location. The can will get very hot, so extinguish it and let it cool before touching. The lid can be slipped over the top to put out the flame. Seal the lid with light taps from a hammer and store where you store other flammable materials like kerosene, gas, oil, and propane. Before using again, top off the can with more isopropyl alcohol.

I bet everyone has those materials at home! But will you remember it? And what if you don’t?

You can build a heater from a clay flower pot. Prop the pot upside down on non flammable materials so you have room to put about 4-6 tea candles underneath. Eventually it will begin to heat the area around it. Easy peasy!

In case of any power outage, make sure you have plenty of water! Start to fill your tubs immediately so you have enough to make it through the outage. Hopefully it won’t be necessary, but you never know.

Here’s a couple of video’s showing how to build them.

Here’s a clay pot heater. From Canada, lol.

And this lead to how to build a 72 day candle. Who doesn’t have a tub of crisco!  8 hours a day for 72 days using a 6 lb can of crisco and a candle or two!

Here is a simple solar furnace. Huh, who knew! I’m still a little unsure of a couple of steps so may hunt out other videos to make sure I have them correct.

But luckily my heater is on. I just always have those ‘what ifs’ that run through my head!

About smilesomebodylovesyou

I'm an author but I can only talk about me so much! So 5 out of 7 days I feature other romance books and 1 out of 7, I post sales. I usually reserve only one day for myself.
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