All Categories


How To Survive A Power Outage In Comfort

Survive A Power Outage


Long Term Survival During A Power Failure


Depending on where you live, a power failure can be a common occurence, or it can be a very rare thing. For some people, keeping a generator prepared at home is normal. For others, especially in the city, it is not even possible. With the right preparations, a power outage does not need to be an uncomfortable experience. You may even consider it sort of like camping, if you are prepared.

Once, during a blizzard, I lost power for a week. I had just moved to a new apartment and had not even unpacked anything yet. The nearest neighbor was about a quarter mile away. The snow was about 18 inches deep overnight. There was no heat, no water, therefore no toilet, no power and no light. It was very cold and dark.

Thankfully, I have always been prepared for such an emergency. I had to dig through the cartons to find stuff, but things were not too uncomfortable the second night.



Here is how you can survive a power outage in comfort.


Use a 12 volt battery for backup power

Small 12 volt rechargeable battery


To have light and power for your cell phone, laptop or portable devices, you should always try to keep a 12 volt battery on hand such as the one pictured above. This is a standard alarm type battery. You will also find these in the emergency hall lighting in most businesses. You can find them at Radio Shack for about $29. These little batteries hold a surprising amount of power. You can also have a spare car battery, lawn mower battery or boat battery on hand. Keep it charged up at all times for emergencies.

Two 6 volt lantern batteries can be strung together to make 12 volts as well. The reason for having a 12 volt battery on hand will be shown below.


How To Have Light And Power In A Power Outage


Below you can see some of my ad hock survival methods during the power outage. I took a 12 volt alarm battery and hooked up a 3 way cigarrette lighter adapter to it. I had some battery clamps laying around, so I cut off the cigarrette lighter socket and added the battery clamps. Then I had the ability to plug in devices, just like if I was in my car. My cell phone had a wall jack, and a USB charging port. Using a power inverter to convert the 12 volts to 120 and then back down to 5 volts for the phone is very wasteful, so I hooked up a car USB jack I had purchased one day. Now was the perfect time to test it out. That goes into the 3 way splitter and my phone USB charging cable into the USB adapter. Perfect. The phone was charging.

In the image on the right, I took my electric bicyble battery and connected the 3 way splitter into it and plugged my laptop travel charger into the splitter. I used the bike battery for the laptop because it holds a lot more power than the single little alarm battery. I could have used a car, boat or RV battery as well with the same results.

The main point is that as long as the cell phone towers held out in reserve battery power, I had cell phone reception for emergency use. And the laptop kept me working from home, even without power. I also had internet by using the cell phone as a modem.

Use auto battery to charge cell phones

Use a marine battery to power devices during power failure

How To Have Heat During A Power Failure


The first night was a bit cold. I only had my Homemade Oil Lamps the first night, so it was a bit colder, but not miserable. The second night I found my old camping propane heater. It is a catalytic heater, so it is safe indoors. I have often used this in an ice fishing tent and out camping in larger tents in winter. Surprisingly it kept the apartment 50 degrees during the night when it was on high.

The heater uses those little green camping cans of propane. I could only find about two of them, which ran out fast. Finally, after three days trapped in the yard, with the car snowed in, I broke free to the main road. Had to shovel three whole days to get the car out to the road. The yard, driveway and side road were all snowed in. That was a workout. During the day I kept busy shoveling to stay warm.

I got out to the shopping center to find that all camping gas, propane, kerosene, gas cans, generators, candles and flashlights were sold out everywhere. I couldnt even find water anywhere. Sold out. Finally, I looked in Walmart in the plumbing section and found a few of those blue tanks of propane. Same as the green, just sold for plumbing. I grabbed a few and headed home.

Future note: keep those tanks in stock ahead of time. They will not be around in an emergency.



Catalytic Propane Camp Heater For Survival Heating

Small propane heater


Again, I had just moved, so I did not have gallon jugs laying around empty. No water buckets, so reserves - nothing. That meant no drinking water. There was a little creek down the hill a ways. It was in the middle of the woods and seemed clean enough, especially in winter. So I packed up all my little drinking bottles and canteens into a backpack and headed down the hill. Waist deep in the snow in winter in the forest is no joke.

Anyway, I got all the bottles filled up. Fortunately, I only had to make this trip two times during the week. You can flush the toilet with surprisingly little water, if you pour it in the back. Remove the back lid, fill it up and flush away.

I had a propane cook stove to boil the water to be safe and sure for drinking.


Provide Water During Power Failure

Provide Water During Blackout


To summarize - you can be relatively comfortable in a power outage, with the right attitude and a bit of planning. You may even consider it like a small adventure. Think of it as camping inside.

Feel free to ask any questions or get help with your project on our Support Forum.

View some of our other articles:

About the Author

Troy Reid


No comments yet! Be the first:

Your Response

Most Viewed - All Categories