How To Keep Warm When The Power Goes Out

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How To Keep Warm When Power Is Out

When Huricane Sandy hit, more than 8 million homes were left in the dark. But with a superstorm of such proportions, that was to be expected. However, no one expected the power to stay down for 3 straight weeks!

Unless you’ve got a reliable energy source, your home is going to become your living hell, especially when you have to go through many long, cold nights. Not to mention all the food in your freezer going off. And even if you do have a backup energy source, you may never know when something goes wrong and suddenly you’re forced to rethink your survival plan from scratch. In this case, knowing how to keep yourself and your family warm with just a few resources can be lifesaving. So read this carefully and then send it to your loved ones. One day, they may be thanking you for keeping them alive.

Keep the cold outside your home

First thing you need to do is keep your home as warm as it can be. Which means you’ll have to turn your home into a greenhouse.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plastic wrap
  • Duct tape
  • Towels
  • Old clothes

1. Start by shutting all doors and windows. If you have interior and exterior windows, make sure they’re all perfectly shut.

2. Cover interior windows with clear plastic wrap and secure them with duct tape. The plastic wrap will create a greenhouse effect, capturing sunlight during the day and keeping your room warm longer. The duct tape will prevent cold air from leaking in the house. However, be careful about carbon monoxide leaks! I suggest you get a carbon monoxide detector before sealing up your home this way.

3. Now roll up some towels and old clothes and cover all drafty areas, especially along the bottom of your doors. A good way to check for draft is to hold a lighter close to the the wall or door that may be leaking air from the outside. Pay attention to the flame. If it flickers, then you’ve got to draft-proof that spot.

Keep yourself warm

To keep your body temperature high, you’ll need:

  • Clothes (for multiple layers)
  • Warm socks
  • A wooly hat
  • Food
  • Water
  • A hot water bottle
  • Hand and feet warmers (the ones you squeeze and they instantly start producing heat)

1. First thing your should know: you lose most heat through your head and feet. So if you’re thinking a couple of warm sweaters will do, you’re wrong. If you don’t have at least one pair of thick wooly socks and a hat, you’re likely to keep freezing. Gloves will help, too. The whole point is to cover as much skin as you can.

2. Wear multiple layers of clothing: an underlayer, a midlayer and if it’s really cold, an outerlayer. Something like this:

  • Underlayer – Two-ply long johns and undershirts (cotton on the inside for comfort, wool on the outside for warmth).  Two pairs of socks–a thin pair of cotton socks beneath a heavier wool pair–are warmer and more comfortable than a single thick pair.
  • Midlayer – For warmth and ventilation, wear a tightly woven wool shirt that opens down the front and a quilted jacket over it that also opens in the front.  Pants should be of tightly woven wool, cuffless, with plenty of room in the seat and legs, and flaps over the pockets to help keep snow out.  For added ventilation use suspenders rather than a belt. A woolen stocking hat or mask-like hat will greatly reduce loss of heat from the head.
  • If it doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you can also wear an outerlayer, for example a parka that covers the hips and has a hood with a full-length zipper. Usually, you’d wear this outside to protect you from snow, wind and rain, but since it conserves body heat very well, you can wear it during very cold nights, too. (

3. Wrap yourself and your loved ones in blankets. It’s best if you can all cuddle under the same blanket, to keep yourselves and each other warm. Make sure your heads are covered as well, because your breath will warm up the air underneath the blanket faster.

4. Move. I’m not saying you should start running around the house until you collapse on the sofa, but you should at least tense and relax muscles while sitting in bed, all covered up in blankets. Physical activity produces body heat, that’s why you start shivering when you get cold. So don’t just sit there like an ice sculpture, get your muscles busy so they can warm up.

5. Try a hot water bottle. If you can heat some water, it could help you keep your feet warm longer. An alternative would be running a hot pan over the blanket, to warm it up.

6. Light a few candles.Candles can produce a lot of heat, but you’ll have to be extracareful where you place them. Don’t leave them unattended, check them once in a while and never fall asleep without putting them out first.

7. Eat. If you haven’t eaten in a few hours, your body finds it harder and harder to produce heat. You’ll need to eat fatty foods, preferably warm. You’ll feel much more relaxed and warm after having a good meal, you’ll see.

8. Drink lots of water. When your body isn’t hydrated properly, your muscles might have trouble contracting. So drink water constantly, to “feed” your muscles, but don’t overdo it. Trips to the bathroom and back can get you shivering again and you’ll want to keep your body heat constant. However, don’t hold it in if you need to go to the bathroom. You body will use energy to keep the liquid warm inside your body and that’s just wasted heat.

9. Try to relax. Don’t think about how cold it is, try to picture yourself sunbathing or sitting in front of a fireplace. Being stressed about the cold will only aggravate the feeling, so think positive. It’s very important.

I hope these tips will help if you ever have to put up with freezing cold. If you’ve had such an experience and you’ve got some “inside info” to share with us, please do. It will be highly appreciated.

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