Staying warm during the bitter cold takes some planning. There are plenty of people that survived with very basic means in very cold places. Luckily we have some more convenient options. This winter is starting to look like it will be a cold one in my area, so I have been thinking about how to stay warm, especially during an emergency situation. All too often bitter cold comes with snow and ice storms too. Bitter cold is easier to handle as long as you have electricity.
A lot of gas or propane heaters do not work at all or at least work less efficiently when the power is out. Oil heaters may not function either. My Dad has one of the older Monitor heaters, and it requires power to use even though it is oil.
One of the preps I have started putting back recently is a few inexpensive fleece blankets. You can get a dozen for $50 or so on Amazon, or you may find that you can get good ones a few at a time at your local grocery store. Of course, you may want some nicer blankets to stay cozy too. The post I link to below has a lot of options in a wide price range. EKTOS 80% Wool Blanket... Buy New $23.00 (as of 01:55 EDT - Details)
Classic Mylar Emergency Blankets
These are so inexpensive and useful that every prepper should have a dozen or two. Emergency blankets can be used for signaling or as reflectors for lights too.
There are many types of hand warmers. The disposable kind is nice but they only last for 8 hours. You can get Zippo hand warmers that take lighter fluid so you can keep them going for as long as you have fuel.
Consolidate into fewer rooms
A smaller space is easier to keep warm. While you naturally don’t want pipes and plumbing to freeze, you can keep some rooms quite cold and heat a few rooms nicely if needed. Sealing off rooms to a large degree can be helpful.
Placing anything under your door to block drafts is a good idea. Any drafts around window seals and other areas of your house may be able to be sealed with spray foam insulation. Of course, you need to be careful not to seal a house up so well that oxygen is an issue. Some heaters can deplete oxygen levels too.
Layer your clothing but be smart about it
Dress in many layers but be sure you can move around well. If you are dry, then cotton is comfy and okay for some clothing, but if you have to go outside, you need to make sure you don’t get wet and not be able to get dry and warm. BUFF Unisex UV Multifu... Buy New $37.49 (as of 01:25 EDT - Details)
Use multiple heat sources
While I live in the Southern United States, we still have several sources of heat. We could stay warm enough to make it with just the woodstove, but it would be cold in our front room, and the fire would require constant attention. When temps start getting in the 20s here, we make sure to have our electric furnace set to come on at around a 60-degree indoor temperature. My husband and I enjoy this luxury after years spent using just a wood stove in the house. It is not the easiest thing to get up 3 times a night to put wood on the fire.
On the rare occasion we both slept through the whole night, we would wake up to a cold house that was hard to get back up to a livable temperature. We are not people that feel they need an 80-degree temperature inside but waking up to 50 F, and 20F outside is no fun. Some of you may remember me mentioning that when we lived in our camper, we had to use a single space heater and the gas oven to stay warm. We spent two winters in that camper, and it got below zero more than once. We just put on layers and enjoyed 50-60F when we could get it that warm.
I firmly believe that everyone needs a source of heat that does not rely on electricity during an emergency. Wood is the most common in my area, but anything is better than just relying on the power grid during an event.
You might consider taking a look at my post on back up heating methods.
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