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How to Heat Your Home if a Winter Storm Cuts Your Power

  • Ryan Tollefsen
  • November 28th, 2018

Losing Power During BlizzardIf a powerful snow storm arrives in your neighborhood and tears down a few power lines, leaving your home in the dark and your HVAC system non-functional, it’s important to know exactly what to do by ensuring you have prepared for dealing with just such a situation.

Start Making Preparations

The best strategy is to wait out the storm making sure you stay warm in the process. This is especially true if you’re snowed in, or if your closest neighbor is a few miles away. Driving would be out of the question and going out to walk for miles during a blizzard wouldn't be advisable as doing so would be extremely dangerous, so making preparations is key.

Whatever preparations you make they have to be in place and ready to implement well before the reality of a winter crisis hits. You’ll have to think ahead, consider your budget and needs, and buy the appropriate emergency supplies, heaters and equipment that will enable you and your household survive comfortably during such a crisis.

Since it's likely there would be no electricity, buying an electric heater would be a pointless exercise. Even if you have an electric generator, it would stand to reason that you’d want to save as much electrical energy as possible, and with electric heaters using so much energy they are not a great option, even if you possess the strongest generator.

You should always look for non electrical alternatives for lighting, heating and cooking, such as lights and radios that have an incorporated hand-crank charger used for generating its own power, but, seeing as we are talking extremely cold winter storms here, a dependable fuel-based heater should probably be your first priority.

Which type of heater should you buy?

Many people would recommend buying a good kerosene heater because they have an output of more than 30,000 BTU, which is a lot of heat, but the simple truth is, you don’t know how cold it will get! The intense heat produced by a single kerosene heater can help warm up your entire home more effectively than other types of heaters even if the thermometer shows negative degrees outside.

On the other hand, buying wicks and kerosene for your heater, as well as the maintenance of the heater can be a much greater hassle than the less expensive and more accessible propane tanks that you’d have to get for a propane-based heater. The best propane heaters burn with a slightly smaller and less problematic flame, but their heat output is considerably inferior to that of a kerosene heater.

You could cover all your bases and opt for getting both a kerosene and a propane heater. While this option isn’t necessarily as practical as focusing on only one device, it can still be quite a good idea. After all, even your backup heater might need a backup!


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