Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out

Feature | Snowing | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

As the winter months approach, it is a must to have your heater checked and remember the basics of winter survival.

RELATED: Outdoor Survival | 13 Winter Camping Tips For Every Survivalist

In this article:

  1. Be Prepared and Survive the Winter
  2. Before the Winter
  3. During the Winter

Winter Survival Guide: Keeping Your House Warm

Be Prepared and Survive the Winter

Winter is getting colder and colder every year. The relentless consequences of global warming are unmistakable.

What is more adverse is when you have to live without heat in the middle of a winter storm. Without heat, surviving through the winter season is undeniably challenging, but you can still survive despite the cold.


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Preparedness is the answer. It’s your ticket out of harm’s way especially when SHTF. A malfunctioning system can have disastrous effects when temperatures plummet.

Be prepared for the seasons’ changes to prevent this from happening. No mortal man can stop the winter season from occurring but we can do something to keep ourselves comfortable in the cold.

Below is a list of winter survival tips. Learn how to stay warm even when the heat goes out.

Before the Winter

Feet in the Snow | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

Before the worst of winter hits, prepare your home for anything that can happen. There are a few things which should be done beforehand in case the bad gets to worse, and you are left without a heater.

1. Have Your Chimney Inspected

Chimney Inspected | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

If you are planning on using your fireplace, this is essential to prevent disastrous situations from occurring. In a situation like this, you need a winter survival fire to live through the cold winter.

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Burning wood releases gasses which will cool and stick to the inside of the chimney, forming a flammable hazard. Take care of this before it becomes a threat.

2. Flip the Switch on Your Ceiling Fan

Flip the Switch on Your Ceiling Fan | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

Although many people use their ceiling fan in the summer, most don’t realize the advantages of using it in the winter.

Each fan should have a small switch on the side, moving the blades to turn in the opposite direction. This forces the warm air down, keeping the heat from escaping.

3. Check for Cracks in Your Windows or Doors

Check Cracks in Your Windows or Doors | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

These small cracks in the caulking or even in the window itself can cause you to lose warmth.

Rather than allowing this to happen, check the windows before the worst of the cold hits. Repair the cracks as soon as possible.

4. Have Your Furnace Inspected

Furnace Inspected | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

There’s nothing worse than having your furnace go out in the dead of winter. Most repair companies are swamped with hundreds of others who are calling for the same issues.

Rather than deal with it later, have it checked before the worst of winter hits!

5. Protect Your Pipes

Check Your Pipes | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

You need to inspect and protect your pipes. Although keeping your sink dripping may seem expensive, this will save you from bursting pipes because it allows the water to escape before pressure builds up.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, you need to insulate them, especially those that are exposed to the outside elements.

RELATED: The Prepper’s Guide To Winter Survival

During the Winter

Family During the Winter | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

If your heater goes out in the middle of winter, call for professional help immediately. Set up an appointment as soon as you can.

Keep yourself and your family warm while waiting for help to arrive.

1. Close What You Need to Close

Open door Storage | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips
  • Close all your windows including storm doors. Open them only during the day if the outside temperature is higher than the inside.
  • Keep the curtains closed and open them only when the sun is shining directly in the window.
  • Close any rooms you aren’t using to prevent the warm air from going out of your winter survival shelter.

What Are Storm Doors? It is an additional exterior door that protects the primary access door against bad weather and cold. Usually, it is steel or wood.

2. Use Rugs

Rugs | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

If you have hardwood floors, use rugs to keep the heat. Rugs are efficient for blocking out cold.

Wool rugs make awesome insulation, but they are difficult to clean and they can be very expensive. Cotton and nylon rugs are perfect alternatives and affordable too.

Rugs can make your winter shelter (i.e., your home) cozier.

3. Use Candles

Candle Light | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

Candles don’t only give light, but they can also produce more heat than you realize. Candles are part of your winter survival basics so make sure you always have them handy.

Just make sure the candles are in a safe place and away from objects that easily catch fire.

4. Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights give off more heat than light. Turn on as many of these around where you want to keep warm as possible.

It may not be cost-efficient but it will surely make the temperature rise.

5. Cook

Use the oven to bake cookies or anything you need to cook. This will not only keep you warm but will give you more winter survival food for sustenance during a snowy day.

Use the excess heat from the oven by leaving the door open after using it. Stay as close to the kitchen as you can.

 

Looking for more cold weather survival tips? Check out this video from Homesteading Ways and learn different ways how to stay warm in case of a power outage in the winter:

Surviving the cold winter is difficult when you’re unprepared. Make sure to ready your house to protect your family from the plummeting temperatures. By taking a few steps beforehand, your home will be better equipped to protect you from the extreme cold.

If you know nothing about heating equipment, call a professional to mend the situation. Give yourself a clear advantage before things go out of hand.

Penny for your thoughts? Tell us what you think about these winter survival tips in the comments section below!

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Placard | Snowing | Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out | winter survival tips

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 17, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

45 Responses to :
Winter Survival | What To Do When The Heat Goes Out

  1. Eric says:

    House has no natural gas.
    AEK, baseboard elec heating useless. So were our CPAPs
    Hot water heater electric too but is well insulated and holds some warmth when full after 3days without power.
    3rd day was37 inside house. Ran faucets at a trickle.
    Our chimneys were declared unsafe with rust and buildup on liners
    did use candles
    Slept in sweaters and hooded coats with blankets, quilt and misc on top – still felt like we might freeze
    Not allowed to drive … Roads were restricted to emergency vehicles with a HIGH fine for violation.
    We bugged out as soon as road travel was allowed and went to Marriott.

    Thinking of getting better comforters with down filling.
    And moving to a hotel if storm has dire prediction or power does go off

    Any other practical ideas?

    1. Al says:

      Generator
      Good warm Sleeping Bags!
      Alternative Heat Sources such as kerosene or LP Gas heater (remember to ventilate)

    2. Nick says:

      Get genuine US military wool blankets from Derek at Quartermaster supply in Colorado

    3. mildred lane says:

      as a kid we use to sleep w/ our head covered an let our breath warm us

    4. Brad L. Meyer says:

      Look for one of two things, the Tact Bivvy (a quilted mylar sleeping bag, I don’t anything more about it) the second is the the thermal evasion cloak, it’s on youtube. Originally designed to defeat thermal imagers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW0upku1HIQ I am a fan of do it yourself this video explains how to make one. When I saw it I thought why have a sleeping bag and the cloak. I contacted the makers and they had used it as a sleeping bag in cold weather enviornment (down to 10 degrees). What makes it work is a layer of radiant barrier, a layer of fiber fill, and another layer of radiant barrier. The radiant barrier reflects back about 90 percent of your body heat. coupled with blankets should keep you warm. Let me add a good snow mobile suit and boots, will keep you warm and allow you to still do things in and around the home.

  2. Chuck says:

    If you have sealed the house up, I understand it is a bad idea to use a gas over and/or a gas stove to heat the kitchen where you are concentrating your living. Both of those items give off CO which is inconsequential during the normal day, with doors opening and closing and cooking generally limited. With the doors closed and the rest of the house closed off, the CO can rise to dangerous levels. Even using a candle in a snow cave, the recommendation is to make sure that there is air circulation from the outside to prevent CO poisoning. Actually, the residuals from CO poisoning are probably worse than actual death from CO. You suffer brain damage with all the fun symptoms that accompany that problem.

    1. Tim says:

      You’re not going to get CO poisoning from your gas stove! It does not put off that type of emission. If that were the case gas stoves would be outlawed in homes. Worst case is using up the oxygen in the sealed up house and have a build up of CO2 and as such you will have an oxygen starvation problem, not a poisoning problem.

      1. Bill says:

        All combustion gives off CO. Unless you’re using the range hood studies show elevated concentrations of CO in kitchens using a gas stove.

  3. JJM says:

    DURING – If you don’t have any baking to do, when was the last time you set your oven to SELF CLEAN? Don’t want to wait for summer for this one!

  4. Angele says:

    Before your hot water heater cools off fill 2 liter plastic bottles with hot water. (Smaller bottles work well too but don’t last as long) These hot water bottles can hold thier heat for up to 8 hours under blankets. Do be careful about the bottles touching the skin especially of young children or the infirm though. They transfer heat much faster then traditional hot water bottles and can be hot enough to burn skin very quickly. For young kids slip the bottle into a large sock and secure the end with an elastic band for a warm cozy they’ll love to snuggle when the grid is out.

    1. Chuck says:

      Store stuff you want to keep warm in an ice chest. It will keep stuff cold and also keep hot stuff warm. Wrapping the items you place in the ice chest in cloths will add to the insulating effect of the ice chest and keep the hot things warm longer.

      None of your appliances that require electricity will run when the juice is out. This included furnace, clothes dryer even if it is gas, ventilating fans, ovens and stoves that are electric. If it has a thermostat or a fan or moves, when the juice is off so are those gadgets. A gas stove and a gas oven will light, even if you have electric starters. You can always use a match to light the gas.

      Bill Catz is correct. If you live where it gets really cold the only remedy is a woodstove or a wood fireplace.

      If the electricity is out, the Marriott will not have juice either unless they have their own generator. That may only last a couple of days unless they are real survivalists. No sense in storing a lot of gas or diesel fuel. In most cases the electricity is back on in a couple of days and that’s most likely what they will plan for. If the juice is off more than three days, the Marriott will be just as cold as your house and not as cheap.

  5. Michael Hendricks says:

    Keep extra thermocouple on hand, or a hot source igniter so if these go out can install yourself. Make sure you are comfortable doing it before trying. I have done these many times easy enough. If pilot will not stay lite thermocouple is bad 9 out of 10 times.

  6. Bill Catz says:

    If you live where it gets extremely cold (it’s -2F here now), get a woodstove installed and have plenty of wood. A furnace is worthless if the electricity goes out. So are heat pumps. The thermostat and fan motor are both electric and neither will function. Many kitchen stoves are also electric operated. Some gas hot water heaters also require electricity to function. You need heat to survive. A good woodstove can pump out nearly 100,000 BTU of heat.

    Also, open cabinet doors where water pipes are adjacent to an exterior wall to keep them from freezing. Lay towels at the base of exterior doors to control drafts.

    If it snows heavily, make sure your roof vent pipes are clear to avoid CO poisoning.

  7. DR. Wilkins says:

    If you are going to be using a gas oven, candles or other gas device to heat your home during an emergency than you should also invest in a C0 Detector. You should also use exhaust fan in the kitchen above the stove, and if you do not have one than opening the top of a window instead of the bottom will cause a chimney effect and draw air from the house. It will also draw a small amount of heat out. Also lets not forget to use Gas or electric dryers. Everyone should purchase a lint diverter kit that allows them to divert the dryer exhaust from the outside to a lint trap inside and let the heat into the house, if you are using a gas or electric dryer and keep clothes in the dryer while using it the C0 gases are very minimal even after many hours of use.

  8. Troy says:

    I’ve used 2 1500 watt heaters to heat my house when my furnace died but the power was still on.

    I have a 2000 watt inverter and a bank of 4 marine batteries that I use to run only the furnace and the heat tape when the power goes out. You will not usually lose your natural gas service if the power goes out. If you use propane, that’s even better with your own tank. I installed extension cord ends into the furnace power wires. I unplug it from the house power and plug it into the inverter. I have a separate extention cord running to my heat tape and plug that into the inverter also.

    http://www.battery1234.com/

  9. John says:

    In a real bind, break out the camping gear. Pitch a tent including the vent cover. Zip up. Your body heat gets trapped in the tent keeping you toasty. Add some sleeping bags and some family members and you have a cozy bonding time.

    Never actually tried this, but Ive been camping in freezing temperatures before and was perfectly comfortable.

  10. Bill says:

    I have been living in a van (sometimes down by a river:-)) since the mid 80’s.
    My heating in the first (of 3) van(s) was provided by a 16 kBTU/hr RV furnace, which was only used to get going in the morning, as none of the vans has had insulation. I had a friend in the quick lube business that charged my deep cycle battery every day for a dollar.
    In the current van, my heat is provided by two devices, a 10 kBTU/hr blue flame heater and a 30kBTU/hr burner from a turkey deep fryer that doubles as a stove, and using a 3.5 quart tea kettle, a water heater.
    Given the current cold snap, I was forced to work out the logistics of using these together to keep the interior of the van warm enough that I could sleep in a bed roll that works well down to freezing in the buff.
    Leaving the water near to them keeps it from freezing solid.

  11. Tim says:

    Add a “T” into your gas pipe that leads to your furnace and install a quick disconnect like you’d find on the end of an air hose for your compressor. Get yourself a 30,000 BTU flameless heater (no CO) from Sportsman’s Guide or Northern tool etc. and add a hose to it that will plug into your new quick disconnect and you’ll have plenty of heat as long as you have a gas supply.

  12. mellie says:

    “Unmistakable”? REALLY? Even after the term “global warming” has been changed to “climate change” because the whole idea has been debunked multiple times by real scientists as being nothing but a globalist hoax to get us to give up our sovereignty, as well as even more of our money, to the evil U.N.? Get with the true program.

    1. CarlD says:

      I think he was being facetious.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I made sure the house we bought had nat. gas AND electric, so I could use the other if one goes out. Upstairs we have a ventless gas heater on the wall. It heats up the firebrick plaque & radiates heat without needing any electricity, plus they are 98% efficient. Get one; a great lifesaver. Or you can get a propane one & run a hose to it from the tank- (do some research before hooking it up; not sure if having a BBQ tank inside the house or garage is a good idea)

    1. Anonymous says:

      There’s also kerosene heaters too; just open a door maybe once an hour for a minute or so to ventilate & keep down on the carbon monoxide.
      Best bet is to get a BATTERY powered carb monoxide detector. We have a plug in one, but if the elec goes out we have no idea what the CO2 levels are

  14. Anonymous says:

    Vent free gas logs

  15. Gina Karlen says:

    Prep ahead…I put 3mil drop cloth plastic on all my windows except 1..basement windows even have a layer of the itchy pink insulation inside..I have body bag sleeping bags that hold 2 people and yes the camping gear..ppl think I’m crazy for all the prep I do for winter but my thermostat is at 65 and theirs is 77 I’m warm they still have a chill

  16. amzn.to says:

    Awarded to thhe highest student onn an MSc programme.

  17. Janice James says:

    With no heat except for an electric heater, I have had many “three dog nights” — unfortunately I only had one dog (border collie) and two cats — and we were all piled up together with comforters and coats on. You do not get too much done in the day because too cold to hardly move around — but you do survive somehow in 20 or 30 degrees in the house that is all brick and built 130 years ago. The bedrock basement stays about 60 degrees all year round. I have one cold water line of “Pex” and would turn my water off when below 30. I have survived for 6 winters now. Heck, I think the cold kept me from ageing too much — but the frozen toes sometimes gets me worried.

  18. Being from California, it is strange to live somewhere with all four seasons. I get cold so easy, and I want to do everything I can to prepare to stay warm during the winter! I thought it was interesting how you suggest checking for cracks in the window and doors. And I will definitely get my furnace checked, I am also think in getting my home better insulated.

  19. Kit Hannigan says:

    I really appreciate your advice about having your furnace checked before the worst of winter comes since the repair companies are probably swamped with the same issues. My friends are planning a week-long vacation on our cabin come winter. We’ll be sure to reach out to reputable HVAC contractors that can make sure that everything is running just fine, as suggested. Thanks!

  20. George T. says:

    Everyone should have one “Emergency Bivvy” type sleeping bag for everyone in your family. You can keep them in your car, so you are never without one. So even if the power goes out in your home for days, you will have a warm place to sleep. The bag is really a mylar “Space Blanket”, formed into a sleeping bag. It is much heavier and tougher than the regular “Space Blanket”, invented by NASA, and can be reused many times. The chrome reflective mylar inside the bag reflects 90% of your body heat back to you, and will keep you warm even in sub-zero weather. Such a small investment, for so much security.

  21. walter says:

    run Dearborn propane heaters and propane stove/oven hadn’t croaked yet.

  22. walter says:

    your crack about global warming is bull [email protected] . it gets cold in the winter hot in the summer get used to it.

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