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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the scenario:

A terrible snowstorm hits your area and 3 feet of snow accumulate after a couple hours. The roads are impassable for days and you don't have a 4WD so you can't get out. The electricity is knocked out, which is a big problem since you use electric heat. The temperature is below freezing outside, and soon the inside of your house starts going towards equilibrium. You also lack a fireplace.

How do you safely stay warm inside your house without using a generator or anything else that requires an expensive investment?

Thanks.
 

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The Punisher
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Cheap used wood stove you should invest in if nothing else. At least you'll stay warm.
 

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I f you live in a all electric home , you are gonna need a propane tank in case it snows and ices and knocks down powerlines. A few years back we had an ice storm that knocked my power out for a week, me and my (then) girlfreind made it fine cause I was prepped for just such a thing.
We used the propane heaters I had to keep the house warm and the water pipes from freezing , and the coleman camp stoves to do our cooking. It was a bit inconveinient , as she put it, but it staved off a real disaster.
 

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I have a couple things I can use under those circumstances. I have a couple 100ct bags of tea lights. While they don't throw off a ton of heat, they do throw off a little. You can use tarps to section off the house and just heat one room. I have a couple propane tanks but haven't gotten around to picking up the heater just yet, I might do that soon.

I have a couple quarts of ultrafine paraffin, a few empty jars, and some lamp wick so that could be used, too.

Tomorrow I'm picking up a propane turkey fryer so I would have hot water for taking a bath, too.
 

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Fill the bathtub with water. If your pipes freeze, you may not have any water.
Turn you're smallest room into the warm room. Put heave blankets over the window and a towel under the door. Grab your huge box of candles, your big pile of blankets and your 50 below sleeping bag and chill out. In a small space, a couple of candles will put off enough heat to survive. Get some plumber candles, they burn a long time. But get a big box of candles regardless.
I'm sure there are much better ways to deal with this problem, but with this, you should be able to at least survive.
If you have a backpackers stove you could heat water for tea and a hot water bottle which would be nice in your sleeping bag.
 

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Scarred for life...
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I had this happen once.

It was awful. I had a wife and three kids and we were freezing that first night with no power and no heat and it was 10 degree outside.

We slept in one bed that night, with 6 or 7 blankets on us which actually worked well. The problem was in the morning when everybody got up the cold was nearly unbearable.

We ended up hiking to a neighbors house that had wood heat. The old woman who lived there was not able to get around and had nurses coming to see her every other day to make sure she was ok, but they couldnt come in the storrm and for several weeks after, and we helped her with living while she kept us from freezing to death.

It was not funny at all.

Nowadays I have electric heat mostly but also a vent less propane heater for emergencies.
 

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As Mad Dog will probably agree with me. You don't put you and your family in that situation to begin with. ALWAYS have a back up plan.
If you live in cold country, all electric is your worst choice.
Here in my little corner of Alaska power outages are common , a few hours or several days.
We have Toyo Stove oil heaters. They need power to function, thats why there's a generator on the porch and the big one in the garage.
Plus we have a wood stove and several cord of wood.
Don't rely on one source of heat...........
 

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I live far enough North that this is one of the events I routinely prepare for. I heat my house with natural gas piped in. I have electric heaters, a wood stove and a fireplace for backups.

In my backyard is stacked enough firewood to run the woodstove for half the winter. I'd like a full winter, but that would be at least 5 full cords of wood! I'll get there in another year maybe.

I have flannel sheets, a couple of blankets, comfortors and sleeping bag for each bed. Everyone has snow pants, boots, hats gloves coats and long underwear.

I can cook on my woodstove and my backyard grill has 2 backup tanks of propane.

Cold is something I can handle!

If I were stuck at someone elses house who has so ill prepared, I'd have my sportsmans blanket and sleeping bag from my car. I'd also be able to rig a minishelter inside the house with the normal amount of bedding and trash bags people have. Knowingf how to do all this would completely blow my sheeple image though, especially if I have to pull out my Mainstay rations and little tea light lantern from the car!
 

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a wood stove would be best but if you cant put one in.get a propan heater you use for camping, karosene lamps,coleman cook stove (propane or karosene) you stay in a small room (crack a window).

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5712813

http://www.tradekey.com/product_view/id/44205.htm

just think of it as a camping trip in very cold weather and prepare for it.

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/detail.asp?product_id=5430E700&categoryid=2010

and get 10 20lb bottles of propane or how many days you want to be prepared for 1 20lb will last about 3 days or so :thumb:
 

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You can always setup a standalone tent indoors. It's much easier to stay warm in a small confined space than in a large room. The tent will help hold in your body heat.

If you lack a tent you can use a tarp and paracord and create your own indoor shelter.
 

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This is the situation many were in during the ice storm of '98. At our place we didn't have power for several days in the middle of January. No biggy. Of course you should have alternate sources of heating and others are right about being able to create a 'warm' room. However, if you live somewhere cold then you've got cold weather gear, so you can always just wear it and pile on some blankets.

I think the key thing is not how to stay warm but be sure to turn off your water and crack open a couple taps so the pipes don't freeze up, burst and create an indoor ice rink.

Cheers,
-Per.
 

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tinfoil bandana
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Here's the scenario:

A terrible snowstorm hits your area and 3 feet of snow accumulate after a couple hours. The roads are impassable for days and you don't have a 4WD so you can't get out. The electricity is knocked out, which is a big problem since you use electric heat. The temperature is below freezing outside, and soon the inside of your house starts going towards equilibrium. You also lack a fireplace.

How do you safely stay warm inside your house without using a generator or anything else that requires an expensive investment?

Thanks.
If you are talking about just what you have on hand, then your best bet is to use the smallest, windowless room in the house. If you have a basement, use that- the earth makes a good insulator. Wear as much clothing as you can to conserve body heat.

Beyond that, you will need certain preps.

A good list to have:

Propane heaters and camp stove

PROPANE!!! Heaters and stove are useless when you run out.

Knit caps, or better, balaclavas. You lose most of your body heat through your head.

Good, thick or insulated gloves or socks. Frostbite sucks.

A large pot to boil water- make sure your camp stove will actually get hot enough to boil the water in that pot. You may need to melt and purify snow for drinking water.

Canned food. You can heat it up in the can, boxcar Willie-style.

Next level:

Wood stove. Not reallly cheap, but a good one can heat a home well. Mine measures 3'x3'x2' tall and will heat a 1400 sq ft home.

WOOD!!! See propane comment above.

Cast Iron pots and pans. Holds up to heating and cooking on top of the wood stove better than T-FAL will. Trust me on this one:rolleyes:

Battery powered lights. Yes, you could use Coleman lanterns and a truckload of candles, but remember that flames need oxygen, just like you. No sense in CO2 poisoning just for light. I have a few crank generator LED camp lights that will provide light for 5 hrs with only a few minutes worth cranking.

Radio/TV. Battery powered of course. Weather band a plus. Just to keep you informed of just how screwed you may be.

CB/HAM radio. If the cell towers are dead, your cell phone won't work, if phone lines are down your land line won't work. CB is cheap, needs no license, and many people have them. Ham radio will transmit farther.

That's about all I can remember from the last time I got snowed in.
 

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We're talking sub-zero , right ?
Out in a tent , without a heat source ?
I don't think so. As I write this it's 16* above zero and snowing. Glad the heats on.
It's very differn't in sub zero weather than most of you are use to. It's going to hit 10* above tonight .
We have flannel sheets on the bed a couple of blankets and Ma's going through menopause and puts out a lot of heat , good to curl up next to.
Get some back up heat sources. Freezing is not a good time.......
 

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Get everyone and all you need in one room toward the center of the house. Close all doors. Insulate the walls with blankets. Set up a tent. Cover up in blankets. Eat food. Have 2 people stay awake and exercise/talk. Use the water in the water heater somehow.
 

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I have a basement disaster room
food, propane & kerosene heat and cookers(with adequate ventilation), lanterns & candles and water for about a month.
 

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You stay warm by having the right clothes and the right sleeping gear before the storm hits. A good sleeping bag rated for subzero tempertures will keep you warm at night. Once awake, suit-up in the proper clothes quickly and continue your day. This is a pretty simple approach but it works. I slept in an army issue sleeping bag once in 10 degree weather and was fine for comfort. Keep your clothes inside your bag when you sleep and they will be warm when you wake. Dress in some layers before hopping out of the bag and finish dressing in the other layers quick. You will feel some cold during the transitions... but you are not going to suffer from the elements if you are inside an enclosed structure.

Regarding the water pipes... turn on the water and maintain a constent flow that does not allow the water to freeze within the pipes. This may seem like you are wasting water... but if your pipes burst within the wall the water will flow anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks guys, I am seeing common themes here: Dress in layers, cover with blanket, barricade into smallest sealed room, maybe make a tent, etc. Not sure about burning a propane tank or candles inside for heat--what about CO2 buildup?

FYI, I am renting right now and have to deal with what I've got. The situation I described is the real threat for me. One of my first purchases once I have my own house will be a dual wood/pellet burning stove. Once I get big bucks, I will link that with a geothermal heating system.

Again, thanks all around.
 

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Check to see if you have a gas stove, and water heater. If so, light the oven and/or burners with a flint, or match if you like those more. If your water heater has a pilot, great. Crack open a window for a little ventilation. Take warm showers, keep the hot bath water in the tub.
Failing that, setup blanket tent around hot water heater if full and nonfunctional to get some heat from that for your makeshift tent. If hot water heater needs electricity to light (do any?), shut off gas to avoid any unintentional lightings, or carbon monoxide getting to your tent. Find layers of clothing, and blankets, and hats. Put hat on, wear layered clothing, wear per comfort range. Put hot tap water in thermoses, to make soup, and use hot water bottles or ziploc bags to hold hot water to you as needed from the tank if needed. The water in the tank should last along time, but even better, wrap the tank (if you even have one in this urban setting) with extra blankets if there are more available. Open the vent valve in the tank if shutting off the water main while extracting water. Avoids cold water input, and implosion due to vacuum.

Setup another tent near daytime windows that catch sun, place black items and rocks inside.
Call neighbors over to snuggle.

Trickle cold water from all faucets to prevent freezing, and to keep the cold water flowing into the hot water tank if it is still working.
Need more information. Probably depends on your skill level, appliances, and urban setting.
 

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When you get in bed with a bunch of blankets, remember not to put all of them on top of you. Put some underneath you so you don't lose heat there. The wool ones are better on the bottom, the down ones on top (down compresses too much to be worth anything if you are on it)

I learned this lesson when I dated a girl who lived near Pittsburg. I would have thought that the unheated room I got to stay in (by myself) was a message, but her mom was quite generous with the blankets and her dad was generous with the ammo and always took me shooting, so no complaints. I did damn near freeze until I put some of the blankets under me, though.
 
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