Tips For Staying Warm When The Grid Is Down!
A Guest Post By Naomi Broderick
For many people “Bugging In” or staying at home during a critical SHTF or grid down scenario is a much more appealing option than leaving the home and “Bugging Out”. For this reason it is important to think about some things you can do to keep your home habitable enough to comfortably live in throughout the winter. This article will especially focus on tips for staying warm if the power was to go down for a long period of time. Besides electricity and lighting, one of the most critical accommodations that we would lose during a grid down situation is the comfort of our heating and central air systems. Making sure that you have some safe, effective, and economical sources of warmth before the cold strikes should be an important action item on your agenda if it isn’t already prepared.
What are some ways to make your home warmer?
Provided you aren’t using any other heating methods which produce large amounts of carbon monoxide, weatherizing your home and keeping an air-tight seal from the outside can help to keep your home warm and it is also extremely economical. There are many products on the market that will allow you to self install plastic film over your windows. You can also place towels or additional weather stripping under the doors to keep cold air from creeping in.
Since most of the heat in the winter time escapes through the attic (hot air rises), adding additional blow-in insulation in your attic is also a fairly cheap and effective way to help keep the chill off in a long and powerless winter.
Due to the risks of cooking with fire indoors without proper ventilation or equipment, for many people it may also be good idea to have some stored foods, dehydrated & freeze dried mixes, or even self-heating MREs that require little or no cooking on hand as well. Cooking with fire indoors is as dangerous as using it to keep warm, and it contributes to the deaths of millions of people who do so in developing countries. If you are planning to cook indoors, just make sure to have the proper ventilation and equipment to do so safely. Consider using a propane stove or your BBQ grill on your back deck or have a dual use wood burning stove professionally installed prior to needing to rely on it while the grid is still functional.
Provided you have adequate ventilation, propane and oil heaters can also be effective heating solutions, though bearing in mind the risks with using these applications inside over a long period of time. Candles, lanterns, and any other light source independent of electricity can work at boosting the thermometer when you really need it as well.
Take a look at this portable military style stove that could also be an option for adding to your preps.
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Some additional considerations for planning to keeping warm
Besides knowing the most effective safe heating sources, make sure to engage in the right practices to best conserve your resources and minimize waste. When planning ahead for grid down heating, you’ll need to carefully consider the materials at your disposal. If you live around densely wooded areas, firewood can be a reliable resource to make sure that the worst of coldness doesn’t seriously affect your household.
It’s crucial to cut and store this wood ahead of time on racks and covered with weather-resistant sheeting to ensure the availability of dry, viable wood. Burning wet or unseasoned wood is not recommended as it can cause a build up of creosote in the chimney and cause a house fire. If firewood isn’t feasible, store safe clean-burning fuels such as natural gas or propane, using either smaller portable bottles or have a large tank installed on your property, so you don’t have to rely on the grid. Lastly, solar powered generators can be a reasonably affordable solution for some of your energy needs (provided that they’re properly geared to withstand subzero temperatures.)
If possible only use a couple of the rooms in your house. Seal your household off into a smaller area whenever possible. This means you have to keep less square footage warm and will conserve on resources. Only use portions of the home that are absolutely necessary. Consider sleeping on the highest floors with all of the family members in one bedroom. The added body heat and huddling close together can make keeping warm much more easily than trying to do so independently in separate rooms. You could also consider using dense sleeping bags rather than just sheeting and comforters. While not typically as comfortable, sleeping bags are much better at retaining your heat than traditional bedding.
During day light hours try to utilize rooms with South facing windows, the heat from the sun will naturally keep this room a bit warmer than others in the house. Also during the day be sure to wear insulated clothing in multiple layers to retain body heat as efficiently as possible.
Sources Of Heat To Avoid?
Any open flame which is not situated in a well-ventilated chimney poses a health risk to your household, and in several ways to boot. First, there is the obvious risk of starting a house fire by starting fires in unconventional locations, or with makeshift fuel sources. Although house fires are survivable, unnecessarily presenting a risk to your household by using open flame heating methods is reckless. That being said, a safe fire site (fireplace or wood burning stove) can produce heat quickly and is more economical than wasting your backup energy and fuel sources on heating.
Other dangerous sources of carbon monoxide include gas heaters, stoves, and power generators. Never run an internal combustion motor insider your home! The Carbon monoxide will kill you in short order.
Preppers invest a lot of time and money in preparing for potentially bad situations so that during the good times they can rest easy and enjoy life knowing that they will be ready for whatever comes their way. For those in the Midwest reading this article be sure to check out some additional security solutions that can be found with ADT security in Gary, Indiana. While this won’t keep you warm when the grid is down it may be able to help bring you more peace of mind while the grid is still up!