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How To Survive The Winter With No Heat

Updated on July 28, 2012

Many reading this may ask why would I need to know how to survive during the winter with no heat. But the sad reality is there have been massive power outages in the north throughout the winter. Even cities have been without power in some cases for weeks. Keep in mind even gas and oil furnaces need electricity to work. So even though it doesn't happen often it can and the best way to deal with it is to know how to live without heat.

Preparing For A Winter Power Outage

Long before winter approaches you can defend yourself against such bad circumstances by preparing yourself. Keep in mind even if your family can survive the cold your home may need protection. Things like water pipes can and will burst if they freeze. This can cause serious damage when water goes everywhere and then freezes again. You can purchase several different items that can help you.

  • Generator - This can be stored in you garage throughout the summer and in the event of an outage used to power a few heaters. You will be paying a lot more than normal heating to run the generator as you have to use gas and run it constantly. But it does the job. Remember leave it outside, in an open garage, or open roofed porch and run an extension cord inside.

After A Snow Storm
After A Snow Storm | Source
  • Solar Panel Setup - Whether this a custom setup or newer solar panels built into your windows this can help. Keep in mind power is limited and during the night or stormy weather there will be no power from this method.
  • Backup Power Supply - These devices are getting much better then they used to be and can hold enough power for 12 hours or more. So a power outage of several hours could be dealt with, however I would keep these as a back up to your backup.
  • Wind Turbine Setup - These work very well to generate electricity but keep in mind they are dependent of the wind.
  • Propane Heater - In the interests of using everything available you can purchase one of these indoor heaters. If you have a barbecue it's as simply as removing the take from it and attaching it to the heater in your home. Have the tank refilled as needed.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generator - As I advised in a previous article on this type of clean burning fuel cell is that it runs on hydrogen and creates water so no damage to the environment for anyone considering the ecological effects in this case.
  • Sleeping Bags - Aside from ways to generate power purchase your family some heavy duty sleeping bags. Even in -40 degrees these will keep you warm.
  • Candles - This is an easy one. If you have no power you will probably be using them anyway. A candle does generate more heat then you think in an enclosed area. Don't put several candles in each room though as it will get smoky and hard to breath.

If you have children it is important not to alarm them, continue on as you would possibly present it as an adventure. If you have a fire pit or campfire in your yard in the summer there is no reason why you can't in the winter. Get yourself some marshmallows and some wieners and cook them outside at the fire with them. Have some fun and deal with it in the best way you can.


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    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      People should be very careful about bringing a propane tank inside of their home because of the danger of explosions. You should NEVER bring a gasoline powered engine, such as a gas powered generator inside the house a they create carbon monoxide gas which will kill you. Keep the generator outside and run an extension cord.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      oh I remember freezing cold in the north(Wisconsin). Ice storms are pretty, but damaging.

      Now I'm south and it is hot and no I don't miss the horrible north winters, but it might help to think of them to cool down.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Sherry Hewins - I can say I think a propane tank will blow up at random any more inside you home than out, but with anytime handling of propane you should always be careful, that's true. Also I wouldn't say bring the generator inside your home either, outside is ok, an open porch with a roof would be ok too. Thanks for reading and commenting, sound advice :)

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      terrektwo - I'm not here give you a hard time, and I understand completely if you don't want to publish this comment on your hub. But it's not that propane tanks explode randomly. The problem is that it's not uncommon for the tanks or valves on propane tanks to leak. If this occurs outside, the gas usually dissipates harmlessly into the air. If it occurs in an enclosed space the gas builds up, and if there is a spark it can explode. The reason I know this is that it happened down the street from me a few years ago, and a father and two of his three kids were killed. They were using a camp stove and propane tank inside a trailer to cook with while they were building their house.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      wetnosedogs - the warmth must be nice compared to storms for sure :)

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      Sherry Hewins - I welcome your comments of course and understand what you mean, accidents can happen and that is regrettable, which is why everyone should play it safe as much as possible. Under the law from my area you can use small cylinders of propane in your home provided you have a carbon monoxide detector. Which is very common as I have natural gas heating in my home, like most people in my city. The natural gas pipes going into my furnace also have valves and there are many sections where it could leak, however after years of having natural gas in my home I have yet to encounter a problem. We play it safe with the CO monitor and it also has the ability to detect natural gas. I also have my furnace serviced every year which helps. There are propane heaters on the market currently that are made specifically for indoor use. They have an automatic shutoff if they detect low oxygen levels in a room. Also propane is odorless and colorless but the chemical added to all propane, ethyl mercaptin, has a very potent odor. In your home it would be very clear when you have a leak as you would smell this. That's the whole reason they add it to propane. I thank you again for reading and commenting :)

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the list of options, terrektwo.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you for the information in this hub. In Ohio we have lost power several times due to some powerful storms. Several parts have been without power for more then a week. The information in this hub in wonderful, and I think going out and getting it ( just in case) is a great idea.

      Thanks again!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Useful information. A storm caused a three week power outage a few years back. Our salvation was our log fire and visits to the local inema that still had power.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      Maren Morgan M-T - no problem, one can never know when it can be needed, but hopefully we won't have to face it. Thanks for reading!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I remember when we lived in Virginia, a few times the electricity would go off during winter storms. We had a huge fireplace across one wall that we used to heat and cook. I believe that your ideas would have helped us to withstand those times much better. Voted up.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Here in the Northeast we have found its impossible to live without a generator...not just in the winter but all year long. Storms take down electrical wires at any time of year.

      Voted up and useful.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      Michele Travis - thanks for reading, hope it helps!

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      teaches12345 - it is always good to have a fireplace for sure. When I was a kid we had a wood stove when we lived in the country so at least then you know you have heat. These days a lot of homes don't have wood stoves though due to high insurance rates, but if you have one you have a leg up on many others in this case :)

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      tillsontitan - that's hard, sorry to hear that but I guess with a generator you are ready :)

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