With flights cancelled, 26.8 inches of snow covering Central Park, and governors in at least nine states from Nashville on north calling a state of emergency and advising people to stay home due to the storm, it’s as good a time as any to think about how to stay warm.
Getting indoors is one of the easiest ways to keep comfy, but what if your power is out and heat is no longer pumping through your walls?
Here are 8 tips on how to keep things toasty-or at least partially warm- when the power goes out.
(Remember, lighting anything larger than a candle inside requires that you have proper ventilation to get the carbon monoxide out of your air. Never use a camping pack heater or an alcohol fuel heater indoors, as these can quickly turn deadly by build up dangerous levels of combustion products in confined spaces.)
1) Keep the Cold Out
This is common sense, but avoid opening windows and doors as much as you can. This includes interior doors. Keep them closed, and it will help to contain the heat in the rooms you use, and let you ignore those you don’t. Definitely keep the exterior doors closed as much as you can. That cold air will pull any heat from the house out, and you are trying to keep it in. If you can, exit through a closed-in porch or through an indoor door to the garage, to minimize heat loss.
Also, close your curtains when it isn’t sunny out, to keep the cold out. If it’s sunny enough to create warmth inside from sun coming in the window, take advantage of nature’s light and open things up. Just be sure to close the curtains once the sun goes down again.
2) Use Blankets
Blankets aren’t just great for cozying-up to keep warm. If you have a few extra, put them at the bottom of exterior doors to block the drafts, and hang them over windows as an extra block to the cold over curtains.
3) Sleep Together
It’s sleepover time! If you have an indoor tent, or an outdoor one that will fit in one of the rooms of your house, put it up! Sleeping together in a group will create warmth and the tent will help to keep some of it contained. Combine wool blankets and cotton sheets for extra warmth over and inside sleeping bags. Down comforters are great for keeping warm.
4) Wear Your Hat
Your head is one of your key locations for losing heat, so wearing a hat can help to conserve your body heat, even when you are sleeping. It’s not just for the baby.
5) Layers, Layers!
Dressing in layers may make you look like Heidi, but it’s the way to go. T-shirts, sweaters and jackets will work together to keep you body heat circulating inside your clothing, and help to keep you warm. A t-shirt under a sweater can work wonders.
6) Keep Active
Moving around will help you stay warm. Walk around your home, do jumping jacks or march on the spot- whatever works. Just remember to take those layers off as you heat up, in order to make sure your sweat doesn’t soak your clothing, which will then make you colder, as you cool off.
7) Eat and Drink
Being in the cold will make your body burn more calories as it tries to stay warm. Eat more than you normally would, to compensate. It would even be a good idea to eat a calorie-rich snack at bedtime to keep you warm through the night.
Alcohol “warms the body”, but it’s not a true ‘warm’. You will feel warmer, but your body temperature is actually no different. It’s best to avoid it, to keep your mind sharp in the emergency you find yourself.
8) Light Up the Wood Stove
If you are lucky enough to have a wood burning stove around in your time of emergency, now is obviously the time to use it! If you have a fireplace with good ventilation, this will add heat to the house, as well.
Take note of how much wood you have and burn it conservatively if you think you might be in for the long run before the lights come back on.