Electricity off? Here are 8 ways to stay warm if your power is out

English Cocker Spaniel with a blanket (Adriana Morales/Pixabay.com)

HOUSTON – If you’re realizing the power is out and you want to do all you can to stay warm, here are some ways you could use to avoid the cold.

1. Layers, layers, layers

Don’t just put a coat on. Put on a tank, a long sleeve shirt, sweater, and then another sweater and then your coat. This is about staying warm, not fashion or looking svelte. Just put the layers on and wear a hat over your ears. Toasty yet? If not, grab some mittens or gloves or improvise with socks over your hands. And, speaking of socks, wear a couple pairs on your feet and then house slippers if you’re indoors. Stay indoors. This is not the time to be opening your house up and letting the cold inside.

2. Block those cracks and crevices.

Feel cold air coming in somewhere? Use thick towels to keep out the drafts, especially under doors and around windows. Use tape to keep the material in place. It may be unsightly for a time, but we’re looking for warmth right now, no?

3. Open blinds in the daylight hours, close them at night to keep out drafts

In addition to blocking drafts with towels, use your blinds and window coverings to your benefit. Open them during the day to let daylight warm your space as much as possible and at night, close them to keep drafts out and warm air inside.

4. Use a warming center

Several warming shelters are now open in and around the Houston area to help if you don’t have power as the winter weather continues. Food, shelter, blankets and beds are available at several locations.

5. Blankets

In addition to all of those layers on your body, cuddle in with multiple thick blankets. It’s important to keep your pets warm as well with blankets and coats, too. One of our KPRC 2 producers said she and her family are keeping the pets warm and themselves by cuddling with the dogs. “The dogs (act) as space heaters because they put out a ton of heat,” she said.

6. Fire pits and grills

Do you have a fire pit or grill? In addition to cooking up some marshmallows and hotdogs today, you can keep yourself warm if you do go outside for a time. Never use a fire pit or grill indoors.

7. Get in your car (But NOT in your garage)

If you’re cold and nothing seems to work inside your home, get in your car and idle it in your driveway. A really important point: Make sure to idle your vehicle outside in the open air and not in your garage. The danger is your vehicle’s exhaust pipe could pump carbon monoxide – a highly toxic gas – inside your vehicle if idling in the garage. This can be fatal. Do not do this.

8. Fireplaces

Natural gas fireplaces and wood fireplaces are a good option for keeping a few of your main rooms warm without power. Blowers aren’t an option without a generator, but a properly maintained fireplace can usually safely keep at least one main room and possibly an adjacent one toasty. Use blankets to cordon off rooms if necessary. Be sure to make sure your flue is open so gas and smoke can escape from your home through your home’s chimney.

When will the cold end? Be sure to stay up-to-date with our KPRC 2 weather team. Check outage information here.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.