10 Best Alternative Heat Sources Without Electricity

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Electricity is such an integral part of our daily lives nowadays that it is nearly impossible to imagine living without it. In the case of emergencies, like floods, storms, and blizzards, that knock down electrical posts and disconnect power lines, low temperature is the biggest enemy.

Exposure to the cold while being indoors can put you and your family at risk, especially if you have elders or children in the house. In difficult situations, when you don’t know when the power will be back, you need to find alternative ways to heat your house without electricity.

Fortunately, there are heaters and other tools that you can use to keep your house warm, some of these you can get at a store, and others you might already have in your home. Aside from heating devices, there are also some precautions you can take to keep the cold out. These aren’t just hacks but also reminders to help you survive during a power outage.

1. Fireplace

One of the most common ways to heat a house is to burn some firewood wherever your fireplace is and stay there. It is one of the best and easiest ways to keep you warm, just make sure that you have enough ventilation all over the house to lessen the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. Propane Heater

Propane heaters are one of the most effective ways to heat a room without electricity, they are affordable and convenient heating devices that can keep you warm faster and longer. These heaters can heat big spaces so you and your family can stay in one place while the power is out to keep you all warm at once.

It uses liquid propane as fuel which you need to be careful in storing because they have a high risk of leaking. Make sure that you have enough ventilation when using the heater as well because the fumes can be dangerous.

3. Kerosene Heater

When in need of emergency heating, kerosene heaters are usually on the list. They produce more heat than propane heaters and the heat last longer so they can heat up big rooms and wider spaces.

Propane burns cleaner than kerosene however and it is much cheaper, but kerosene heaters are still among the best choices for heating your home.

Related: Kerosene vs Propane Heater for Indoor Use

4. Pellet Stove

If you don’t have a built-in fireplace, you can always buy one. A pellet stove is like a fireplace but smaller and more convenient. They can be more expensive than getting an indoor fireplace, but they produce less air pollution, making them the cleanest indoor heater.

The pellet-based fuel used for a pellet stove is made from recycled sawdust and wood shavings. When burned, they give off a good amount of heat without as many chemicals.

5. DIY Heater

If you didn’t get the chance to get a heater in case of emergencies or need more heat but don’t have another one, then you can just make something yourself with things you can find all around your house.

Here are some DIY heaters you can make to keep you and your family out of the cold during a power outage:

  • Space heater with terracotta pots – a homemade heater you can make using flowerpots and candles. It will take about 20-30 minutes to heat you up and it is only effective at heating one person at a time.
  • Stoneware heater – if you have a ceramic pot you wouldn’t mind getting scorched a little bit just lying around then you can use that to heat yourself up. Put the pot on top of some bricks that are placed on either side of your candles and the heat will collect inside. You might need a portable fan or hand fan to push the heat out of the pot and into the room. 
  • Metal can, alcohol, and toilet paper – you probably have some metal cans stocked away in your kitchen, you can use these to make your own heater. Just grab that, stuff a roll of toilet paper inside, and soak it with alcohol completely. Once you light it on fire, the toilet paper will serve as a wick and the alcohol as fuel.

6. Wear Layers

Freezing couple in warm hats and gloves

Keep yourself warm by covering yourself in layers of clothes. The heating devices you have set up around your house might not be enough to keep every person in your house warm so wearing thick layers of clothing will also help keep your body temperature from dropping.

You and your family can wrap yourselves in thick blankets while also wearing sweaters and jackets, as well as mittens and socks to keep you warm. Clothes can act as alternative heat sources for power outages.

7. Keep Doors Closed

Avoid opening and closing doors to keep the room and your whole house warm. Temperatures can drop significantly low from a small blast of cold wind. 

You also don’t want to open your spaces too wide because the heaters might not be able to warm up the whole space.

Read Also: Sealing Gap Between Double Doors

8. Have a Designated Heating Room

Some heaters might not be able to heat up large spaces, and especially not two separate rooms at once. Keep everyone in your house in one place so that all of you can stay warm.

In this room, you can insulate the doors and windows to keep the cold winds out, you can also use carpets and rugs to keep the warmth inside. This can preferably be a room where you can all comfortably stay, with your blankets, heater, and backup heating option.

9. Let the Sun In

Block out your windows, but only the parts where the wind can come in and take your warmth away. Letting the sun in, if there is any, can also help in keeping you warm during a power outage. Draw back your curtains and let the light in to help.

You can also spread blankets and towels where the sun comes in to absorb them and keep them in the room much longer.

10. Insulate Your Home

As a precaution for when the winter comes in or before a storm hits your area, you need to invest in your home’s insulation to prepare for these emergencies, especially in case the electricity goes out.

Home insulation is one of the best ways to keep your home and your family warm.


Being cold is tough but staying cold is even tougher, it puts you at a health risk and makes you very uncomfortable if it goes on for a long period of time.

Having alternative heating options in case of emergencies is good preparation for anything that might happen. There are a variety of options you can choose from to keep you and your family warm during the winters or storms when power is out, you can choose the best one that is suitable for your home and your family.

The strategies listed are also added tips for you to take to keep the cold out. You can do more research on other alternative ways that fit your needs and find the best solution to keep you safe and warm.

Thomas is the founder and chief editor of AirComfortLab.com. Hailing from Berkeley, California, his passion for HVAC started at a young age, and he has been immersed in the industry ever since. In his spare time, Thomas enjoys hiking, trying out new BBQ recipes, and exploring the latest smart home technologies.

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