When Texas had its deep freeze in 2021, residents spent nearly six days in below-freezing temperatures, and many of those days were without heat. We all learned that having no power in the wintertime can be incredibly frustrating and oftentimes dangerous.
But it’s not always power outages that leave us without heating. Some may make a conscious decision to not heat their homes to save some money in winter.
Regardless of why you don’t have heat, there are plenty of ways to boost the warmth in your home without blasting your HVAC or space heater.
Ways to Stay Warm During a Power Outage
Here’s hoping there are no power outages in the dead of winter during a serious freeze — but just in case this happens, next time you will be better prepared and expectantly warmer after reading our pointers below.
Prepare for Cold Weather
Spend some time before winter sets in to:
- Check your weather stripping and seals on every window and door & seal any gaps ahead of winter weather
- Buy some blackout curtains for the windows, or even in a pinch, some bubble wrap, because covering up the windows will block any cold drafts or get a draft blocker for the bottom of your front door
- Check the insulation throughout your house to make sure it’s thick enough.
- If a winter storm is forecasted, check out more ways to prepare here.
Opt Against Hardwood and Concrete
Hardwood and concrete stay colder than carpet. So if you have hardwood or concrete in your house, grab some blankets or rugs and throw them down on the floor to trap the heat in the room.
Compartmentalize Your Home
Close doors to rooms you aren’t using. This keeps the cold contained in those areas you are not using and let’s the heat escape to the entire empty space instead of just the room you’re in, making it harded to keep the room you are in warm.
Dress for the Weather
Layer, layer, layer. Ideally start with a thin base layer, a medium-thickness mid-layer, and a heavier top layer. Anything with wool or fleece will work well. If you don’t have those clothing items, just layer on what you have. You’ll be warm and it’s easier to take a layer off if you get too hot.
Have a Slumber Party
Pull out the sleeping bags and snuggle up with your family or invite some friends over for a sleepover. Sleeping bags are designed to be warm, especially if you buy ones for cold-weather camping, and bodies generate heat. If everyone cuddles up together in their sleeping bags, you’ll be toasty pretty quick.
Use Your Fireplace
Grab some wood and start a fire! Fireplaces are there to spread warmth around the room. Just be sure the flue is open so the smoke doesn’t billow into your house and always have a carbon monoxide detector located in the room with the fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, light some candles. You’ll need to be careful not to knock them over and start a fire, but they’ll have somewhat of a heat-generated effect.
Take a Car Break
If you don’t have heat in your house, go sit in your car and turn up the heat (plus if you have seat warmers, turn those on for extra warmth). It’s incredibly important to only do this in a well-ventilated area (and never a garage), which will allow the fumes from the car to escape and not impact you. Another option if you have the means to get around is you could take a bus, or taxi or drive somewhere with heat and hang out there for a bit. Many times cities have warming locations and centers to get some warmth, food and all the basic needs for survival.
Get active! Thirty minutes of energetic activity every day isn’t just good for your heart, it’s also good for warming up your body when you need a heat boost. That’s why people sweat! Many runners, for example, prefer to run in cooler weather because it’s easier to regulate their body temperature that way.
Heat rises. Try heading upstairs if you have a second level. It’ll likely be warmer than the rest of the house. Keep in mind, you’ll only want to do this if your home is well-insulated. Otherwise all that heat will escape through the walls.
Ways to Stay Warm With Electricity
No power outage, but looking to save some money on heating? Here’s what you can do.
Have a Feast
Cook! Using your oven and stovetop will warm up your home through the ambient energy that cooking produces. If you want to bake something instead, prop the oven door open while it cools down so the heat can spread around your kitchen.
Keep the Lights on
Light bulbs generate heat, particularly if you’re using halogen or incandescent bulbs. If you leave the lights on throughout the day, you may take a hit on your electric bill — but they’ll generate some extra heating for your home.
Enjoy Hot Beverages
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, warmed cider — pick your favorite hot beverage and enjoy it for a kick of warmth through your entire body.
Use a Heating Pad or Electric Blanket
If you have a heating pad or electric blanket, turn it on and get comfy. For heating pads, the best option is to sit on it or lean against it. Electric blankets are great for snuggling beneath with a pet or loved one (who will act as a little heater all their own). Make sure you use one with an automatic shut-off just in case the blanket’s cozy warmth puts you to sleep.
Turn on the Humidifier
Humid air is hotter air. Get a plug-in humidifier and use it in the room you want to warm up.
Heating your home doesn’t have to be an expensive or intensive feat. If you keep all of these tips in mind, you’ll be better equipped to stay plesant all season long, whether you have power or not.