Prepping for Winter

As the cool air blows through my window, I am reminded that winter is just around the corner. On the one hand, I am excited to see the first snow and can’t wait to pull out my cozy winter coat. On the other hand, I am a bit worried. I don’t feel as prepared as I should be.

Most people probably think about getting their furnace checked and getting the car ready for winter weather. I’m sure you also know to have flash lights and extra batteries on hand, as well as candles and matches. But prepping for winter goes way beyond all of this. 

Life Without Electricity

Have you thought about what life would be like if a severe winter storm knocked out your power for several days or more? How would you stay warm? How would you cook?

When I lived out in the country, I didn’t worry about these things quite as much because I had a wood stove. A wood stove provides plenty of heat and can also be used to cook on if need be.

But in town, I have to rely on the grid. And that doesn’t make me feel very secure. I remember when my kids were young, living in a small cabin with part of the roof missing and no front door. Winter was rough, let me tell you. In an effort to ease my worries a bit, I decided to search for ways to keep my home warm during a power outage.

The first thing I found was a fact sheet from the University of Georgia that suggested, among other things, using portable electric heaters.

When the power goes out.


After I stopped laughing, I looked for some more useful suggestions.

Gather Supplies

Before a power outage occurs, look around your home to decide the best place to shelter. If you have a master bedroom with attached bathroom, this is ideal. When the power goes out, you can bring your stored food and water into the chosen room and plan to camp out until the power is restored.

Make sure you have a supply of extra blankets and sleeping bags to snuggle into. Put blankets over your windows and at the bottoms of doors as well, to keep heat inside and drafts outside.

Consider purchasing extra clothes to allow your family to layer. Start with thermal underwear and add layers so each person can add or remove as needed to stay comfortable. Don’t forget hats and gloves. You’d be surprised at how a hat will help you retain body heat. During my time in the cabin, I slept with a knit hat on every night.


A kerosene heater may be a good investment, but with the price of kerosene you’ll want to be sure it is for emergency use only. Also, make sure the one you purchase is for indoor use. Don’t forget to purchase a CO2 detector as well.

A generator may also be a good investment but, as with a kerosene heater, you will have to store fuel, which is pricey. In either case, make sure you store the fuel away from the area you are heating.

A solar generator is another great investment that doesn’t require you to store fuel. This could allow you to run an electric space heater as needed to keep the room warm enough.

Now, what about food?

The CDC recommends throwing away food if the power has been out for two hours and its temperature has risen above 40 degrees. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to help everything stay cold.

This time of year, camping gear is usually on sale. This is a perfect time to stock up on things that can help you during a power outage. A campstove is one such item.

Now, it isn’t typically recommended to use a campstove indoors. Doing so can result in a build up of carbon monoxide in the room you are living in. However, if you are smart about ventilation and have a CO2 detector, you should be able to use a campstove safely indoors providing that you only use it to cook, not to heat the room.

Make sure that your campstove is always attended to while in use. You don’t want to add a house fire to your troubles.

If you have a solar generator, you may be able to use small electrical appliances to cook as well. I have used a rice cooker to cook many things besides rice. A coffee maker can heat water. You can even purchase a small electric frying pan.

How do you prepare for winter? How would you handle a power outage?

Image credit: merfam

4 thoughts on “Prepping for Winter

  1. Apparently in Georgia, they have mice, rats and chipmunks running in wheels to produce electricity to power the electric heaters that was so appropriately suggested in the fact sheet you referenced. Unreal.

    Great article. I have been a Wisconsin boy for 40 years and really have nothing else to add. Very well written with excellent content.

  2. Glad you liked the article. I am not sure why they would recommend electric heaters for a power outage, but perhaps we should all include mice on our lists of emergency items for when the lights go out. 😉

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more, Joan. I think most people don’t realize the importance of having enough water. Stocking up when you anticipate a power outage (or any other disaster) is a wise move.

  4. Water is the big concern whenever our power goes out (we’re in upstate NY, and unfortunately, it happens at least once or twice a winter). It’s hard to thaw snow when you don’t have a lot of heat, so we fill an extra container of water whenever we’re expecting a severe wind/snow storm. 5 or 10 gallon round containers are cheap this time of year (sold as camping gear). Great article!

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