Frequent hikers, mountaineers, and skiers should already know that regulating body temperature is a key element to survival in the outdoors.
In truth, one of the biggest challenges during a SHTF situation, especially for those that live in the colder climates, is how to heat your home and stay warm when the power goes out.
Fortunately, there are lots of options out there, especially for preppers who take the time to plan and gather resources in advance.
Take time now to research and learn ways to not only produce heat without electricity but to insulate against heat loss and to regulate your body temperature when you are wet or cold. Half the battle when it comes to knowing how to do this is knowledge and preparation.
Wood Cook Stove or Pot Belly Stove
One of the best investments you can make if you are considering an off-grid heat source is a wood powered cook stove. You can search out an old-fashioned used one with a wood box for around $800 to $1,000 or save up to purchase a newly manufactured one for between $2,500-$7,000.
A wood powered cook stove serves the dual function of heating your home and providing a source of heat for cooking. You can also incorporate copper coils to heat hot water.
The only downside is you must have a good supply of wood as fuel. As a cheap alternative backup fuel, you can learn to make your paper fire logs like in the video below and stockpile them:
Set Up an Outdoor Wood Furnace
One of the latest trends is outdoor wood furnaces which are designed for outdoor use and installed complete with ductwork that carries heat into the house.
The size of the outdoor wood furnace requires it to be filled only once daily, and because it is located outside the residence, the risk of fires and accidental burns is lower than with a wood cook stove or pot belly stove.
Again, the downside is the requirement for an unlimited supply of wood to burn.
Gas-powered or Diesel-powered Generator
A gas-powered generator is a great option to stay warm without electricity for a temporary period. When the power goes out for several days or a week, a generator will work just fine to run the furnace and heat your home.
Make sure you have a good supply of gasoline on hand and that it is properly stored and rotated to prevent any adverse effects.
Diesel-powered generators also work well, and diesel is typically less expensive and more shelf-stable than gasoline.
Some generators and other engines run on biofuels, so if this is a resource that interests you, be sure to read up on it and stock the necessary supplies and equipment to make the biofuels.
Build a Fire
If you find yourself stuck without knowing how to stay warm without electricity, the most common idea is to build a small fire. For safety reasons, building an open fire should be done outdoors rather than inside.
To be successful, you need to have several different ways to ignite a fire as well as dry tinder and wood to burn. This works if the weather is mild to moderate but when temperatures drop below freezing, you will need to find a way to safely build a fire indoors to stay warm.
Another popular wayis to use a propane heater like the Mr. Heater Buddy. This type of propane heater can be purchased for around $100 USD and works without electricity.
Your best model is one that is portable and comes with all the safety features such as automatic shutoff if it tips over, the pilot light goes out, or it detects low oxygen levels.
Portable propane heaters are generally approved for indoor use in small areas such as garages, sheds, and campers because of the safety features that are built-in. The only downside is that the heater does need to connect to a propane tank.
If you stockpile these, the heater will serve you well even in an extended power outage. You will need to plan for a renewable source of heat if the power outage lasts longer than your propane supply.
Many people regularly use kerosene heaters in their homes as a supplemental heat source already. Some use them as a primary heat source. Make sure that you install a carbon monoxide detector for safety when using a kerosene heater indoors.
Again, the downside here is that you must store ample amounts of kerosene and your supply will eventually run out. On the up side, kerosene is more shelf-stable than gasoline.
Oil or Kerosene Lamps (4 lamps with ¾” wicks burn 3 oz. of kerosene per hour which equals about the same amount of heat as a 900-watt heater. Adjust wick to burn a blue flame to produce the least amount of carbon monoxide.
The risk of fire is significant with oil or kerosene lamps that tip over, so ensure that they are in a stable position before lighting and only carry if necessary.
Make a Flower Pot Heater
One of the trends in recent years is a DIY version of a heater using clay flower pots and tealights or candles. There are a multitude of DIY setups but the one I like the best hangs from a stand and looks decorative until you need to use it.
Several people report these flowerpot heaters do tend to catch fire when multiple tealights are placed next to each other or if the heater is placed on furniture or the floor.
Please take every safety precaution, use only one tealight at a time and do not leave unattended, especially at night. The video below breaks down how to make a hanging flowerpot heater.
Solar Heat (Passive and active)
Heating with passive solar or solar panels takes a bit more planning and is more complex but will be well worth the investment. A sunroom with south facing windows and a brick or stone wall opposite the windows will absorb the heat in the daytime and radiate it into the room into the evening.
If you can’t do a brick or stone wall, you can paint milk jugs black and fill them with water to absorb the sun in the daylight hours. There are also a variety of heaters and furnaces that use solar panels to collect heat and push it through duct work into your home.
Regulate Body Temperature
If you can cook using a woodstove or a small fire, heat up some cocoa or make a cup of soup. Drinking warm beverages will help to warm your body from the inside out. Physical movement and exercise will help to raise your body temperature and warm you up rather quickly.
Another way to raise your body temperature is to cuddle up with your loved ones or even your pet. Mammals are natural heaters, and cuddling puts that to good use by keeping everyone warmer. The person most vulnerable to cold should be between two others for extra warmth.
In addition to being prepared to dress in layers during cold weather, stockpile oxygen activated hand warmers to help regulate body temperature.
Hand warmers can be used in boots to keep feet warm and dry, in mittens or gloves to keep hands warm and toasty, and in your sleeping bag at night.
For someone experiencing hypothermia you can place hand warmers in the groin area and the arm pit to help raise body temperature.
The great thing about hand warmers is they are relatively inexpensive and have multiple uses. They can be used to soothe sore muscles, to warm baby bottles or keep hot beverages warm longer.
Handwarmers can also be used to melt snow for drinking, to warm batteries so the cold doesn’t drain them as quickly, and to remove moisture from electronics.
Hand warmers typically last for 5-7 hours and are manufactured as a one-use product. If you don’t need the warmth for the entire 5-7 hours, you can re-use the hand warmer later by sealing it tightly into a zip lock bag.
Make sure to remove as much air from the zip lock bag as possible so the warmer is de-activated. Next time you need to use the warmer, simply open the zip lock bag which will re-activate the warmer when the oxygen hits it. Do not use oxygen activated hand warmers directly on the skin as it can get hot enough to cause a burn.
Dress in Layers
It’s always a good idea to stockpile clothing to dress in layers to help you keep your body warm in cold weather. Dressing in layers keeps you warmer than one thick layer because the air trapped between the layers serves to further insulate you.
Using several thin blankets sometimes feels warmer than one thick blanket because air is trapped between layers.
The key to dressing in layers effectively, especially when outdoors in cold weather, is to wear a base layer against the skin that will keep your body dry. Look for moisture wicking fabric that dries quickly, such as merino wool or silk to use as your base layer.
Many people wear thermal underwear. Avoid polyester and cotton fabrics next to your skin as these will cause you to sweat and feeling chilled. A warm hat, gloves, wool socks and sturdy boots that are waterproof will keep extremities dry and warm.
The second layer is for insulation and works to retain heat by trapping a layer of air next to your body. Natural fibers are best for your insulation layer. Look for fabrics such as merino wool or goose down.
Wool retains its insulating property when it gets wet whereas goose down doesn’t insulate when wet. Fleece tops or Thinsulate fabrics make a good second layer because they dry fast and are breathable and lightweight.
Ideally the outside layer must be windproof and waterproof but still breathable. Look for fabric that includes a (DWR) durable water repellent finish. This will ensure that water beads and rolls off fabric rather than soaking through.
Water resistant fabric is typically made of tightly woven fabric such as nylon to block the wind and light rain, but it will become soaked in very wet conditions.
Look for waterproof shells that are non-breathable if you will be immersed in water. These will be made of nylon that is polyurethane-coated.
These are great for cold wet weather but can be bulky and harder to move in. They work well for low-level sporting activities like fishing but aren’t great if you must do a lot of activity while wearing them.
How to Keep House Warm Without Electricity
Designate a “warm” room in your home
Choose the smallest room in your home to function as your “warm” room during a power outage. Keep Mylar emergency blankets on hand and staple or tape these to the walls of your warm room, caulk and insulate any windows, and be ready to hang a heavy blanket over the door as added insulation.
If you can’t isolate one entire room in a survival situation, pitch a tent in the most insulated room or outdoors with a small fire just outside the opening of the tent. The idea is to hold the heat in as close to your body as possible.
Use thermal curtains and a draft stopper on external doors to keep cold air out and trap warm air inside the house. A felt lined rug on the floors will stop drafts in the flooring and provide extra insulation. All exterior doors should have weather stripping. If needed, staple or otherwise attach blankets over external doors for additional insulation.
Believe it or not, you can use bubble wrap as insulation on your windows to keep cold air out. Simply dampen one side of the wrap, adhere it to the window and let dry. Then use window plastic or window film to seal off each window.
If it is predicted to get bone-chilling cold, you can use newspaper, spare clothing, towels, or blankets in between the windows and the plastic, a blanket, or curtain stapled over the window.
Another option is to use a clear shower curtain over the windows which lets sunlight in during the day to warm the room but blocks drafts.
As you can see, there are a multitude of ways to stay warm without electricity if you are armed with the know-how and resources in advance of a power outage.
The type of heat source you use will depend on the climate you are in, your budget, and the amount of time and labor you want to invest.
Hypothermia is a leading cause of death in emergency situations, so it’s always a good idea to know several ways to raise body temperature and insulate against heat loss just in case.
Print this article
- If You Can, Get a Generator. Even if you've already lost power, it's not too late to look for a portable generator. ...
- Stay in a Southern-Facing Room. ...
- Seal Window and Door Leaks. ...
- Use a Fireplace or Another Heat Source. ...
- Camp Out Indoors.
- Close all of your windows properly. ...
- Use cheap clear shower curtains over the windows that receive sun light. ...
- Put up curtains. ...
- Seal your doors. ...
- Let as much sun hit your house as possible. ...
- Close off any unused rooms. ...
- Put down a rug or carpet.
- Insulate your body.
- Insulate your environment.
- Keep moving.
- Light a candle.
- Use a gas stove.
- Take advantage of the sun.
- Use A Small Space Heater. GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater. ...
- Try Insulated Curtains. ...
- Apply Heat Under The Covers. ...
- Consider A Heated Blanket. ...
- Wrap Yourself In A Blanket Scarf. ...
- Apply A Door Draft Stopper. ...
- Cover Bare Floors With A Rug. ...
- Hang A Shelf Above A Radiator.
- Create Warm Room. Before you turn on an emergency heater, you need to think of how you will trap that heat. ...
- Propane Heaters. Propane heaters are the best emergency heaters for most homes. ...
- Kerosene Heaters. ...
- Wood Stoves. ...
- Passive Heaters. ...
- Fireplace Heating. ...
- Electric Heater. ...
A candle can only produce very little heat. In fact, it produces a twentieth of what a space heater can produce. The heating capacity of a candle is just enough to keep a tea hot. A space heater can keep a whole room toasty.Can you really heat a room with candles and flower pots? ›
Yes, you can get a surprising amount of heat from this setup. But it doesn't work the way some think it does. The same amount of heat is coming out of the candles whether there's a pot above them or not, so it's not that you're 'making the candle hotter. 'Can a cold house make you ill? ›
Cold homes are bad for health. If you're struggling to pay your heating bills and your home is cold and damp, your health may suffer. Problems and diseases linked to the cold range from blood pressure increases and common colds, to heart attacks and pneumonia.How do you warm up in a cold room? ›
- Tips for Staying Warm and Getting Better Sleep.
- Use a Space Heater: If you don't have central heating, a space heater is an ideal substitute. ...
- Use a Hot Water Bottle or Electric Blanket: ...
- Layer Up: ...
- Drink Warming Tea: ...
- Wear Socks: ...
- Do Some Light Stretching: ...
- Soak in a Hot Bath:
If there is a cold room in your house, the problem has likely been caused by dirty vents, cracked ductwork, worn insulation or faint drafts.
- 1) Block Out Draughts. The best way to keep your home warm without turning up the heating is to stop the current heat from escaping. ...
- 2) Use Your Curtains. ...
- 3) Lay Down Rugs. ...
- 4) Layering Up. ...
- 5) Socks & Slippers. ...
- 6) Hot Food & Hot Drinks. ...
- 7) Hot Water Bottles. ...
- 8) Keep Moving.
- Get a good coat. ...
- Dress in layers. ...
- Keep your feet warm! ...
- Find a warm hat, something to keep the wind off your ears! ...
- Protect your hands. ...
- Book a trip somewhere warm so you have a thaw on the horizon was Val's first suggestion!
- Stay hydrated.
What is the lowest temperature a human being can survive? . 05 Kelvin, or about —471° Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of deep space. This can be survived for brief moments due to our bodies being poor radiators of heat, outside of an atmosphere, we don't shed heat as quickly as we normally do.How do you survive winter 2022? ›
Tips and Tricks For Keeping Warm in Winter
Wash those hands regularly and make sure you keep your fingers away from your face. You never know what bacteria you've picked up. Drink 2 or more litres of water a day - Again, relevant throughout the year, but this is the best way to flush your system out.
A woodstove or fireplace can be a lifesaver during a power outage, and not only as a general source of heat. You can also boil water as you would over a campfire, with the pot placed atop a woodstove, or via the built-in water reservoirs some models include.Will boiling water heat a room? ›
So boiling water will heat the room more slowly than simply turning on the gas stove. That said, there is a way in which boiling water might feel like it heats the room faster: it increases the humidity in the room. Increased humidity inhibits evaporation of sweat and makes a room feel hotter even when it isn't.Can a candle heat up a car? ›
Emergency Survival Candle
“These usually last 36 hours,” says Nester, “and you have enough [fire] to take care of lighting needs. A couple wicks can heat your vehicle or melt snow. They're non-toxic.
- Get Your Room Temperature Right. Let's get the most important tip out the way first! ...
- Get Cosy in Extra Layers. Have you got the right room temperature, but you're still too chilly? ...
- Warm PJ's. ...
- Take a bath. ...
- Wear Bed socks. ...
- Dig Out Your Hot water bottle. ...
- Enjoy a Hot drink.
If I leave a hair dryer on in a room, will the room become warmer? The short answer is yes. but how fast the room will heat up and to what temperature is driven by a number of factors.How do I get warm fast? ›
- Drink Warm Liquids. There's some debate over how effective drinking hot liquids can be for heating you up on a cold day. ...
- Throw a Sweater in the Dryer. ...
- Get Up and Move. ...
- Take a Warm and Cold Shower. ...
Battery based heaters, or hand warmers, are a great portable option for sporting events, camping, or being outdoors during cold weather. The heaters are safe to operate and can usually hold a charge for 8 to 12 hours.What is the cheapest form of heating? ›
It's not as cost-effective without solar panels, but a gas boiler is still the cheapest way to heat your home – though that's set to change soon, with the cost of gas rising more than twice as quickly as electricity.
Generally, infrared heating is the cheapest way to heat a small space, since it uses up such little electricity. However, an Oil-Filled Heater with a digital thermostat is also a great choice for a small room. Both heaters don't use much electricity, and can maintain a temperature well.Why should you only burn candles for 3 hours? ›
Burning a candle for too long will cause carbon to collect on the wick, leading it to “mushroom.” The wick will then become unstable and produce a dangerously large flame. Plus, your candle will start to smoke and release soot.How much heat does a tea light give off? ›
One tea candle can produce around 30 watts of heat, which means that you need at least 20 to 30 tea candles to heat a very small room (and replace them every 3 to 4 hours).How do you heat a room with tea lights? ›
CLAY POT with Tea Lights ROOM HEATING | no electricity - YouTubeDo tea light candle heaters work? ›
“This combustion generates heat and will raise the temperature of the space,” he said. “The terracotta is just forcing some of the warm air from the candles to stay in place and not dissipate so rapidly, but it is doing nothing additional other than the illusion of a little heater,” Muller added.Is there a solar heater? ›
Solar air heaters can vary in size, cost, and heating capacity. A 32-by-18-inch window air heater panel costs $400 to $500 and can heat a small room; a 28-sq-ft. outdoor wall-mounted unit costs $2,700 and can heat 1,000 square feet.Why do hospitals keep it so cold? ›
Hospitals combat bacteria growth with cold temperatures. Keeping cold temperatures help slow bacterial and viral growth because bacteria and viruses thrive in warm temperatures. Operating rooms are usually the coldest areas in a hospital to keep the risk of infection at a minimum.Is it better to sleep in a cold or warm room when sick? ›
Many people like sleeping in a cool room, but don't make it so cold that you wake up shivering in the middle of the night. When you're feeling sick, you might want to consider raising the temperature a little, rather than letting the thermostat drop. Just don't forget to change it back when you're feeling better.
As long as you feel comfortable, there are no health risks to sleeping in a colder room. Ideally, you should keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees to experience the maximum benefits.How do you warm up without a blanket? ›
Wear Thick Socks or Slippers
Keeping your feet warm will make your whole body feel warmer. For an extra cozy feel, slip on a pair of ultra-warm wool stocks. Or keep a pair of slippers or shoes to wear around the house, especially if you tend to have cold floors.
Why do I get cold when I sleep? Getting cold at night is completely natural, as to prepare you for sleep, your body's core temperature drops. this is likely to be linked to your circadian rhythms, which helps you know when it's time to sleep and time to wake up.Do rugs make a room warmer? ›
In regions where winters are extreme and/or last for a long time, rugs are one of the most trusted ways to keep the room warm, besides beautifying the space. In fact, you can place an area rug for home if your floor always feels cold or even if you simply want to feel extra warmth under your feet all the time.Can you get sick from sleeping in cold room? ›
“You can't get sick from being cold in general, whether you are outside or inside,” Fecher says.Is it better to keep bedroom doors open or closed in winter? ›
The simple answer is, leave them open.
You see, when an HVAC system is operating, it functions best as a whole unit, circulating air throughout your entire home. So, when you shut several doors in and around your home, you're actually disrupting the nature of how your HVAC system operates.
Windows – Typically, windows lose the most heat in the winter and the most cold in the summer. If a room has a lot of windows in it, then summer heat and winter cold is going to be making its way in.How do you stay warm while sitting? ›
If you're sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide a lot of warmth.How do little clothes stay warm? ›
Wear an under-layer.
This is an easy way to stay warmer without having to do much. An under-layer is a layer of clothing which goes under your normal clothing. A common form of underwear are thermals. This under-layer can take many forms, but each can help you stay warm without adding a lot of bulk or extra steps.
- Use your curtains. ...
- Use timers on your central heating. ...
- Move your sofa. ...
- Maximise your insulation. ...
- Wrap up warm. ...
- Turn down the dial. ...
- Block out the draughts. ...
- Install thermostatic radiator valves.
Soldiers can use multiple insulating layers, depending on their activity level and the outside temperature. Light, bulky fabrics such as wool, down, polyester fleece or synthetic pile fabrics that trap air make the best insulating layers.How do you keep warm in the forest? ›
- Lit fire upgraded weapon.
- Lighting a fire.
- Catching on fire.
- Additionally, using booze will temporarily reset all cold effects.
- Making a fire.
- Building a shelter for overnight.
- Getting (and staying) dry and warm.
- Staying hydrated.
- Getting enough food.
Our research found that the warmest material is wool, with thicker Icelandic wool being even better, and a wool-acrylic blend being somewhere in the middle. The warmest clothing for you will be dictated by the number of layers you can use, and the thickness of the materials you are wearing.How do I feel less cold? ›
In order to maintain a feeling of warmth, you can manipulate your clothing, your activity and your food. The most common thing people do to stay warm is wear a coat, hat and gloves. Obviously increasing clothing thickness or piling on the layers helps.How can I stay warm this winter 2022? ›
wearing plenty of thin layers rather than one thick one. putting on a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes or boots when you go outside. wearing clothes made of wool or fleecy synthetic fibres (cotton is only effective if the garment stays dry) wearing bed socks and thermal underwear at night.How do you get warm in the wild? ›
- Stay out of the wind. ...
- Wear a warm hat.
- Build a fire - remember that in the winter, in most places, you can always stop and make a fire (provided you have the means to do so!).
- Drink something hot.
- Go for a pee - your body is heating that extra water for no reason.
- Build an emergency kit.
- Notify someone before leaving.
- Locate a safe area.
- Find or make a shelter.
- Make a fire.
- Properly utilize layered clothing.
- Find a source of water.
- Purify water.
How to GET THE WARM SUIT! The Forest Tutorial - YouTubeHow do I get warm without anything? ›
Go for a walk or a jog. If it's too cold outside, hit the gym, or just do some jumping jacks, pushups, or other exercises indoors. Not only will it warm you up, it helps build and keep your muscles, which also burn calories and make body heat.
- Drink Warm Liquids. There's some debate over how effective drinking hot liquids can be for heating you up on a cold day. ...
- Throw a Sweater in the Dryer. ...
- Get Up and Move. ...
- Take a Warm and Cold Shower. ...
Inner Layer: Wear fabrics that will hold more body heat and don't absorb moisture. Wool, silk, or polypropylene will hold more body heat than cotton. Insulation Layer: An insulation layer will help you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers, like wool, goose down, or fleece work best.What is the coldest temperature a human can survive? ›
Still, 56.7 degrees is the coldest anyone has ever been and survived. Hottest temperature: Willie Jones holds the record for the highest recorded body temperature. During an Atlanta heat wave in 1980, Jones was admitted to the hospital with heatstroke and a temperature of 115.7 degrees.Can you survive winter in a tent? ›
A tent that can survive the winter must be durable and insulating as well as water repellent to keep out moisture and condensation. Winter camping also requires more gear than you'd generally need in the warmer months, so a tent large enough to accommodate you and your gear comfortably is crucial.How long can you survive in the cold? ›
In water that is around the freezing point, a person is likely to survive only 15 to 45 minutes with flotation and possibly up to an hour or so with flotation and protective gear before the brain and heart stop (Table 1).