Most of us live in new or new-ish homes with large, spacious rooms. Even if your kitchen is small by today’s standards, your great-grandmother would have loved it! If you’ve ever been in a home built in the early 1900’s or earlier, you know how tiny every room was in comparison with today’s homes.
Well, it turns out that when an emergency hits and there is no power or you need a new furnace, those tiny rooms can be your friend and help you stay warm. It’s far easier to keep a 12×10 room either toasty warm in the winter or cool enough in the summer than a luxuriously huge room found in modern homes.
So, there’s your survival strategy for when the power goes out and you’re either freezing or sweltering: pick one of the smallest rooms in the house (probably not the bathroom, though!), and plan on making that your living quarters until life returns to normal.
Quick Tips to Stay Warm or Keep Cool
If this happens to you, try these tactics to stay warm or keep cool:
- Select a room with a very small window. The largest percentage of summer heat and winter cold comes directly through windows, so your Survival Room should be one with a limited amount of window area, or at least some good thermal curtains.
- Stock up on extra blankets and quilts. You’ll use these to cover windows and doorways, again, limiting the amount of outside air that enters. You can even tape up inexpensive mylar emergency blankets instead.
- If you’ve experienced power failures in the past due to weather conditions, be sure to have proper clothing ready and accessible. You’ll likely stay bundled up from head to toe on cold, wintry days or wear nothing but shorts and tee, or even just a bathing suit, if the power goes out during the summer.
- Be sure that your heat source is safe to use indoors and have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the room you plan to use for these types of emergencies.
- Even if you loathe camping, watch for sales of sleeping bags and even small indoor tents. On the coldest of nights, you could always pitch a tent indoors and have everyone sleep inside it. Again, a much smaller space for temperature control.
- For an inexpensive heater, watch this video.
- Make sure this room has a phone jack and you have a corded phone. Cordless phones go out in a power outage, and you might need a way to get in touch with emergency personnel or worried loved ones.
- Power when there’s no power: Buying tips for your first generator
- Power-less in Seattle: A first-person report from a winter blizzard
- Winter survival for kids
Remember: When the power goes out, the much easier strategy is to plan on staying in a single room, with access to a bathroom, not to keep the entire house cool or warm. The kids will probably just feel like they are having a camping adventure inside!
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