Updated May 30, 2023
read for 10 minutes
Snowstorms can knock down power lines, often leading to power outages, leaving you without powerheating systemfor hours.
Sitting indoors for long periods of time in extremely cold temperatures is not only inconvenient, but can bedangerous to your health. The elderly and children are especially vulnerable.
Fortunately, there are several methods to heat your home without electricity. Some involve DIY tasks, while others involve setting up a simple non-electric heater. You can also consult our guide atprepare for a winter power outage.
In this article, we look at some alternative heat sources for power outages to keep your home habitable, even in freezing weather.
How to heat your home when the power goes out
- 1. Indoor kerosene heater
- 2. Opt for a propane heater
- 3. Use a pellet stove
- 4. Go for catalytic heaters
- 5. Soapstone stoves
- 6. Make your heating yourself
- 7. Use a burner can
- 8. Use rocks for heating
- 9. Go for wind systems
- 10. Passive solar heating
- 11.Make a designated heating room
- 12. Layer yourself
- 13. Camping kooktassen
- 14. Focus on home insulation
- 15. Insulate your plumbing
1. Indoor kerosene heater
Kerosene heaters can be great alternative heat sources during power outages. You can also use it if you want to save on bills.
If using a kerosene heater, follow allheating safety tipsis crucial. To keep the emission of harmful fumes to a minimum, choose a ventless option. Place your paraffin heater by the window and open it a little to be sure. This helps reduce the buildup of hazardous fumes in your living space.
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2. Opt for a propane heater
Propane heaters provide an effective way to heat a room without electricity; newer models even have an efficiency of up to 99%. In addition, they are an affordable and convenient backup heater option. These heaters can quickly heat a medium to large space with liquid propane as fuel.
When using propane heaters, be sure to take all necessary safety precautions such as proper storage of propane tanks and adequate ventilation when the heater is in use. Also pay attention to the characteristics of oxygen deficiency and overheating when purchasing a propane heater.
3. Use a pellet stove
The pellet stoves are efficient alternative heat sources for power outages. It runs on pellet-based fuel that is made from recycled sawdust or wood shavings. It comes in a variety of sizes and styles so you can find the best option for your home.
When pellets are burned, they produce a good amount of heat without releasing any harmful chemicals into the air. While pellet stoves are more expensive than oneindoor fireplaceor wood stove, their efficiency and use of clean fuel are worth the cost.
4. Go for catalytic heaters
Catalytic heaters require natural gas or propane and a catalyst to operate. The catalyst is typically an electrically charged, platinum-coated plate.
Although these heaters use fuel, they are a waste-free way to generate heat as they do not produce any gases. They only speed up the chemical process in the stove instead of burning the fuel.
Catalytic heaters are safe for indoor use because they generate heat without a flame. For greater security, you can place them near the half-open window.
When using catalytic heaters as alternative heat sources for power outages, keep in mind that they require regular maintenance, just like any other heating equipment.
5. Soapstone stoves
Soapstone may sound like an unconventional way to heat a room without electricity, but it really works. Soapstone absorbs heat quite easily and radiates it back to keep you warm. You can place it near your heat source (such as a wood stove) so that it retains enough heat. While sleeping you can turn off the heat source and use the soapstone blocks as a bed warmer.
6. Make your heating yourself
If you're out of heating options, try itDo your own heating. With materials found in most homes, you can easily make an indoor heater that does not require electricity.
A DIY candle heater is a great way to add warmth to your room. It is one of the best emergency heat sources and also effective. You will need some candles and terracotta pots to make this stove. It works by trapping the heat from the candles in the clay pot. Because clay is porous, it disperses heat into the surrounding air, warming up your room.
An alcohol heater is another popular way to heat a room without electricity. It can also help to heat food items during an outage. All you need is a metal can, rubbing alcohol, and a roll of toilet paper. Put a tissue roll in the can and then fill it with alcohol. Light the alcohol and your DIY heater is ready!
7. Use a burner can
A biofuel burner can come in handy during a power outage. You can use it to heat your wood or just leave it on for a while to warm up your space. However, follow all safety precautions when using the burner canister and keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
If using a fuel burner, always choose biofuel as it comes from natural ingredients and does not produce harmful fumes. Also choose refillable and reusable cans to reduce waste.
8. Use rocks for heating
For this method, you'll need some outdoor space to build a fire. Take the wooden sticks and light the fire. Collect some large stones and place them near the fire.
Once they are properly warmed, take them to your room. Do not touch the heated rocks with bare hands; use gloves or a thick towel to avoid burns. The heated stones radiate heat into your room and keep it warm.
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9. Go for wind systems
Electric wind systems are a great alternative source of heat for power outages. Moreover, it is a perfect way to save a lotheating costsand an environmentally friendly way to generate energy.
A small electric wind system works in the same way as commercial systems. It is designed to capture wind energy and convert it into electricity. This electricity can then power your electric heaters, household lighting and other appliances.
10. Passive solar heating
Passive solar heating systems are designed to capture the heat from the sun in the elements of the building. This heat can later be used to keep your home warm when the sun is absent while maintaining acomfortable room temperature.
A large south-facing window and thermal mass such as concrete, brick, stone or tiles are primary elements of this heating system. Thermal mass absorbs the heat from the sun's rays.
Before using this method, keep in mind that you can only use it if your home gets enough light during the winter months.
11.Make a designated heating room
Create a designated area where everyone can gather in the event of a power outage. Insulate the doors and windows with draft strips and put a thick rug on the floor to reduce the chanceheat loss.
After the insulation process, add your alternative heat sources, such as a wood stove or a gas stove, to keep yourself warm when there is no electricity in your area. You can also add sofas and thick blankets for relaxing, as well as mattresses for sleeping. Be sure to turn off your heating equipment before falling asleep.
12. Layer yourself
If there is no proper heating system to heat your house, it is always better to keep yourself warm by putting on thick clothes. Start with basic thermal clothing, then put on a sweater and a jacket depending on how cold it is.
You can also wrap yourself in warm blankets during a power outage. The choice of thick mittens and warm socks is also important. You can also use electric hand warmers. Just hold them in your hands or put them in your pocket to transfer heat to your body for more warmth.
13. Camping kooktassen
During power outages, you may not get hot meals without proper heating equipment. In this scenario, consider camping cooking bags. The heat packs can generate heat to boil water, which in turn helps cook food.
These cooking bags come with a heat pack and a container to put your food, such as pasta or rice. Place the heat pack in your lunch box. Pour water over it. Place the food tray on top of the heat pack and close the box lid. After 15 minutes you have a hot meal!
14. Focus on home insulation
Before choosing alternative heat sources for power outages, make sure yourhome is adequately insulated. It can be very difficult to retain heat during a power outage without insulation. Also, your backup heater options may not even work properly.
Use foam board insulation on the exterior walls to minimize heat loss.Find air leaks around your homeand seal them with sealant. Apply weatherstripping to your windows and doors to prevent cold drafts. Also place a draft stopper at the bottom of the door and between the window frame and the frame. Use insulating shades and thick rugs to create a cozy environment.
15. Insulate your plumbing
It is not an alternative heat source, but a way to protect your home if the electricity goes out in the winter.
In colder months, the water supply pipes can freeze or even burst, flooding your home. Insulating water pipes is key to preventing this damage; Pipe insulation is often used. Thiskind of insulationis available in many different materials, such as foam and foil pipe insulation, bubble wrap and rubber pipe insulation.
Once the power is back, you can try thefreezing protection modethat some heat pump models offer. In this mode, your heat pump blows out warm air continuously without using much energy. This prevents the temperature from dropping below freezing.
If you are not at home, you can also control this mode with your phone if your ductless heat pump is connected to asmart AC controllerasCielo Breez moreofSkybreez eco.
Alternative heat sources can certainly come in handy to help you stay warm and cozy during a severe storm. If you're preparing for a power outage, choose at least two heating options. For example, if you use a propane stove, choose camping cooking bags to radiate heat and heat up your food. You can always make more backups in case the power problem goes unresolved for days. Also remember to insulate your home in a timely manner and follow all precautions when heating your home without electricity.
Combustion heaters are a great option for heating your home without power. Combustion heaters are indoor heaters that don't require electricity, utilizing propane instead of electricity. If you need heat without electricity or gas, kerosene radiant heaters should have everything you need.How do you stay warm during a power outage? ›
Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors. Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.What is the cheapest permanent heat source? ›
Natural gas is likely to prove the cheapest way to heat a home if you have this heating option available to you where you live. Although prices have risen, natural gas is the least costly form of space heating. This is followed by electricity, propane, and heating oil, from the next cheapest to the most expensive.What is the cheapest way to heat with electricity? ›
Most energy-efficient way to heat a home using electricity. Heat pumps can reduce your heating costs by up to 50% Effective for both heating and cooling your home.How can I make my house warmer without heating? ›
- Close up any cracks in your window frame. ...
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. ...
- Invest in the best blankets. ...
- Make your curtains work harder. ...
- Use draft stoppers on your doors. ...
- Cover your floors with rugs. ...
- Prevent drafts around electric outlets.
Non-electric heaters fall into three categories: propane, kerosene, and natural gas. Some heaters are dual-fuel, which means they can run off either propane or natural gas. While all these types can do the job when it comes to providing heat, they each operate differently.Where is the warmest place in the house during a power outage? ›
You can set up near any sources of backup heat you may have, such as a stove or fireplace. If you don't have one of those, then your best bet is typically a room with a large south-facing window. It will gain heat during the day.What are the sources of heat for emergency preparedness? ›
- Create a Warm Room. Before you turn on an emergency heater, you need to consider 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. ...
Do terracotta candle heaters work? If you're wondering whether it'll heat your room, the answer is: not any more than a candle would. Let me introduce you to the laws of thermodynamics. The first law says that energy cannot be created or destroyed within a system.What is the most comfortable heat source? ›
Radiant heat (floors or walls) is considered the most comfortable due to the thermal comfort explanation above.
A penny alcohol stove is the easiest, cheapest, and most reliable DIY heater or stove you'll probably ever make. Plus, it's lightweight and functional enough to bring to your camping, backpacking, and other outdoor adventures.What is the safest heat source? ›
#1: Electric Heat
Electric furnaces, baseboard heaters, and other heating methods that use electricity are among the most efficient and safe heating methods.
Infrared quartz model space heaters will be the most energy efficient. Other types of space heaters that are less efficient include ceramic models, oil-filled radiators, and convection models.How can I heat my room without forced air? ›
Radiant heating is different from forced air heat in that it heats objects and materials, such as furniture and flooring, rather than just the air. Most whole-home radiant systems distribute heat via hot water heated in a boiler or hot water heater.How can I warm myself up indoors? ›
Move furniture away from external walls: Sitting with your back against an internal wall will instantly feel a lot warmer. Insulate your floor with rugs: If you don't have carpets, put down plenty of rugs. Hardwood or laminate floors are a lot colder than carpeted areas.Is there a heater that runs on batteries? ›
Ontel Handy Heater Freedom - Wearable Neck Heater for Cold Winters, 4 Heat Settings & Comfort-Heat Technology, Cordless Personal Heater for On-the-Go Heating, USB Rechargeable, 6 Hour Battery Life.What portable heaters are safe to use indoors? ›
Sealed combustion heaters are much safer to operate than other types of space heaters, and operate more efficiently because they do not draw in the heated air from the room and exhaust it to the outdoors. They are also less likely to backdraft and adversely affect indoor air quality.Is there a $7 heater for homeless? ›
The tent-safe heaters cost just $7 and anyone can make them.Is there a such thing as a portable heater? ›
There are many styles and types of portable space heaters to choose from including floor heaters, personal space heaters, baseboard heaters and wall heaters. As you're shopping for space heaters, you'll often see the words 'convection' and 'radiant. ' Convection means the heat circulates around the room.How to make cheap room heater? ›
- Put 3-4 candles on a tray and light them up.
- Position two bricks on either side of the tray and two behind the tray.
- Take the ceramic bowl and put it upside down on the tray. ...
- Place the small fan on the bricks behind the tray.
- Turn on the fan, and your setup is complete!
On top of dressing in layers and huddling under extra blankets, hang your darker ones on the windows to draw in heat. Keep doors and windows closed, and use towels to block drafts around them. If necessary, move to your basement, which may be more insulated by the ground.
How Long Will a House Stay Warm Without Power? A house will begin to lose heat as soon as the power cuts. It should stay warm for 8-12 hours, depending on environmental conditions.How do you keep cold food safe during a power outage? ›
During a Power Outage
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. The refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours. If the power is off longer, you can transfer food to a cooler and fill with ice or frozen gel packs. Make sure there is enough ice to keep food in the cooler at 40°F or below.
- BBQ Grill Pit.
- Fire Pit.
- Gas Stove.
- Camp Stove.
- Fireplace or Wood Stove.
- Solar Cooker.
- Rocket Stove.