We’re getting into the winter months in the United States, and many areas are already experiencing cold weather. This, of course, means that keeping our homes warm is always in the back of our minds both for our own comfort and for the safety of people who are physically weaker such as the elderly or very young who may not be able to handle exposure to colder temperatures for long periods of time.
But what can you do to heat your home during an extended power outage such as a disaster situation in which public utilities are not operational? Fortunately, there are options for heating your home when the power is out. A writer going by the name of Rich M gives us some options, and here they are along with our commentary:
- Propane: If you are like many people living in older homes and rural areas, you may already be used to heating your home with propane. Please note, however, that the propane “forced air” heaters used to heat your home still requires electricity to use, so that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about ceramic heaters, sometimes called catalytic heaters, to heat your home. These work very well to heat rooms in your home.
- Kerosene: Another portable heater option. Rich M advises that this may only be cost effective if you live in an area where people already use kerosene to heat their homes.
- Passive Solar: Of course, this means planning the building of your home to take advantage of the angles of the sun, but, if you haven’t built your home yet, then this may be something worth planning to take advantage of.
- Coal: Because coal is rock filled with petroleum, this isn’t an ideal solution, but it may be an option to use in a pinch to keep from freezing. The biggest issues are going to be ventilation, both to keep the coal lit (it requires a lot of oxygen flow) and to keep fumes from your living area), and to use a fireplace or wood burning stove lined with fire brick. Note: long term use will damage your fireplace or stove.
- Animal Dung: Obviously, this is a last ditch effort because who wants that in the house? But burning dried dung has been done in other cultures for centuries. So, if you have nothing else to work with (not even trees to chop down for wood), then this may get you through until you can get a better fuel to keep your home warm.
Now, you can likely think of other options for fuel that you can use beyond what is listed here, and it would be a good idea to keep that kind of information in the back of your mind. Better to make plans now and have options than to suffer later for lack of planning.