The winter cold has hit especially hard this year, and while Northern parts of the U.S. are thawing, places like Texas remain frigid and without power. For most people, staying warm isn’t too difficult, but in a home with no heat or power, what can you do? Here are some tips for staying warm at home:

Minimize Heat Loss

Your first step to staying warm is to minimize heat loss in your home. Doors, windows, and air vents can be quite drafty, especially if there is no heat in the house. To insulate, roll up some towels and place them under doorframes, and window cracks. From there, you can also hang blankets and towels over windows as well, and lay them over hard flooring. Make sure you keep as many doors and windows closed as possible.

 

Stay in One Room

To help prevent further heat loss, it is best to fortify one room and stay in it. After insulating the doors and windows in your home, gather everyone who lives with you and bring them to one room in your home. If you live in a two-floor house, stay on the second floor. Heat rises, and you’ll be warmer for longer on the second floor of your home. Move everything you will need to that room and line it with blankets to further insulate. Make sure that all your pets’ resources are in the room as well.

 

With everyone together, a room can heat up pretty quickly. Since our bodies give off heat, staying in the same room as your family, friends, and pets can keep everyone toasty. For people who own fish, reptiles, or amphibians, consider calling your local reptile care facility for resources.

Use Alternative Heat Sources

Firstly, alternative heat sources do not mean cars, ovens, or burning charcoal. The gases released from these sources are deadlier than the cold. If you have a space heater and electricity in your home, place the heater away from any walls or blankets in the room. For those who don’t have access to electricity, a candle is a great alternative for generating light, but not necessarily heat. Heating pads, hot water bottles, and electric blankets are also great heat sources.

 

Before using any alternative heat source, make sure you are in a room with a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector. Plug-in monoxide detectors can be bought online or at a local hardware store.

Bundle Up

Even if you aren’t going outside, wearing multiple layers and bundling up is essential to staying warm, especially if you don’t have heat or electricity. Some of the most important places to cover up include the head, neck, feet, and hands. Those parts of the body lose heat the fastest. For pets, be sure to bundle them up too, especially around their paws. You can gently tie socks around your pet’s feet for booties in a pinch.

 

When choosing what fabrics to wear, having at least one layer of wool, flannel, or fleece will keep heat in the best.

Make Sure to Hydrate

Water helps keep your blood moving, will help you stay warmer than without it. However, you’ll have to go to the bathroom quite a bit. Taking bathroom breaks is just as essential as staying hydrated because your body will expend extra energy to keep any liquids in your bladder warm. To conserve your body heat most efficiently, consider where your closest bathroom is, and set up near it.

Eat Warming Foods

Staying fed can keep your body from shutting down any essential functions, and extra calories will keep you warmer for longer. Warm foods like soups, stews, and other hearty meals are great for warming up the body. Spices like red pepper, ginger, and cinnamon have warming effects as well. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and starches are best for packing in calories and retaining heat.

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