Stay Warm and Well: 5 Strategies for Coping with Sudden Power Loss in Cold Weather

Stay Warm and Well: 5 Strategies for Coping with Sudden Power Loss in Cold Weather

Stay Positive and Support One Another

When the power goes out unexpectedly in cold weather, it can be stressful and inconvenient. However, by banding together and supporting one another, communities can withstand difficult times. Reach out to vulnerable neighbors to ensure they have warm shelter. Share resources and information to help each other through power outages.

Prepare Your Home

Simple preparations can make a cold weather power outage safer and more bearable. Insulate walls and attics, repair drafts around doors and windows, and install storm windows. Have flashlights, batteries, warm blankets, non-perishable food, and alternate cooking devices on hand. If using combustion devices indoors, ensure proper ventilation.

Stay Warm and Conserve Heat

Close off unoccupied rooms, stuff towels against cracks under doors, and cover windows with blankets at night. Layer clothing and limit opening exterior doors. Cook, run faucets, and shower to add humidity and warmth. Turn down thermostat to around 65° F during waking hours if some power remains.

Monitor Local Resources

Listen to news and weather reports for updates on outages and emergency shelters in your area. Many communities open warming shelters where residents can get out of the cold. Contact local services if you or someone you know needs assistance getting to a safe, warm place.


How can I stay warm without power?

Layer clothing, use extra blankets, and gather in the smallest room you can heat effectively. Eat and drink warm fluids, stuff towels against cracks, and raise your thermostat a few degrees if you have limited power.

What should I do if my house gets too cold?

Temperatures below 60°F put you at risk of hypothermia. Seek shelter at a warming center or friend/family member’s home. Call emergency services if you need help getting to a safe location.

How do I keep my pipes from freezing?

Allow indoor faucets to drip slowly, open cabinets under sinks, close vents in unused rooms, and keep your thermostat above 55°F if possible. Use safe alternate heating sources to warm rooms with water pipes.

Can I use my gas oven to stay warm?

Running a gas oven with the door open can help supplement heat, but keep it low (under 200°F) and ensure dangerous fumes vent outside. Do not bring flammable objects near the oven and monitor it continuously.

How long can food stay cold/frozen with no power?

A full freezer can maintain temperature for about 48 hours and a half-full freezer for about 24 hours if the door stays closed. Throw out perishable refrigerated foods after 4 hours without power. When in doubt, remember the saying: “When in doubt, throw it out.”