How many sources of heat do you have in your home? If you’re in a colder climate, we hope your answer is more than one!
Those who live in cold places should always have alternative heat sources in their homes. Power outages, utility cutoffs, or breakdowns in your primary heating system can happen unexpectedly, leaving you in freezing temperatures without heat for extended periods.
Exposure to freezing temperatures can be dangerous to a person’s health, especially to children and the elderly. That’s why it’s essential to practice heat redundancy and have multiple ways to stay warm.
This article will cover alternative heat sources so you can stay toasty in your home all winter long.
Alternative Heat Sources for Homes
Your primary heat source probably requires electricity, natural gas, or both. Gas furnaces, for example, need natural gas and electricity (to power the blower). The following list contains heat sources you can use as backups in case of electricity or natural gas cutoffs.
Wood-Burning Stove or Fireplace
Wood-burning stoves or fireplaces are ideal backup heating sources, as you can also use them to cook food. Additionally, they don’t require any electricity or natural gas.
If your home already has one installed, perform routine maintenance and keep it ready for use. Of course, you’ll also want to keep a supply of wood for fuel.
If you don’t have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, you can purchase a portable one and install it near a window. Setting it up requires time, as you must construct the chimney to channel smoke out of your home. However, once it’s ready to go, this is a reliable option for heating a room (as long as you keep plenty of firewood on hand).
Like a wood stove or fireplace, a pellet stove is another option for an alternative source to heat your home. These stoves burn wood pellets and produce less ash than a traditional wood stove. They make efficient uses of fuel and are a lot cleaner and safer.
The only downside to pellet stoves is they require some source of electricity to run. They are ideal in a natural gas outage; however, for use during a power outage, you’ll need batteries or a backup electricity source to use them.
Portable Propane Heater
Propane is an ideal emergency fuel source. Portable propane heaters are an affordable, safe, and convenient way to heat a room without electricity. Be sure to purchase a heater that is made for indoor use.
When using propane heaters, be sure to take safety precautions. For example, you should always ventilate the room where you’re using the propane heater. Also, always ensure the propane tank is attached to the heater to avoid leakage.
For maximum safety, look for a propane heater with features that detect overheating and oxygen depletion. Mr. Heater and the Buddy Heater Series are excellent options to check out.
These heaters require propane or natural gas, oxygen (from the air), and a catalyst (a platinum-coated plate). When these three elements combine, catalytic heaters ignite without creating a flame.
Modern models are efficient and effective at heating medium to large rooms. In addition, they are generally safe as there aren’t any gasses released; however, to take extra precautions, we recommend cracking a window.
These heaters require regular maintenance, so check on yours periodically.
Soapstone heaters may seem unconventional; however, they are effective at heating a room. Soapstone absorbs the heat and then radiates it back to create warmth.
You can place it near another heating source, like a wood stove, so it captures a sufficient amount of heat. Then, when you’re sleeping, you can shut off the other heating source and keep the soapstone block next to your bed.
Soapstone makes a great bed warmer!
Solar or Wind Heating Systems
Consider investing in an alternative heating system that uses solar or wind energy. Solar heating systems are great for sunny areas. They can absorb solar energy even during the winter. Consider installing a wind energy system, though, if you live in a region with heavy snow or shorter daylight hours.
These systems are a significant upfront investment; however, they can reduce your bills in the long run and are eco-friendly.
Portable Electric Heaters
Portable electric heaters are not a system you want to rely entirely on for backup heat; however, they are generally inexpensive to purchase and can be helpful if there’s a natural gas cutoff. Here’s a list of the best space heaters.
Indoor Kerosene Heater
Kerosene heaters are only a good option for emergency heating if you take the necessary safety precautions. You’ll need to choose a ventless model and place the heater near a cracked window for ventilation. These measures help to eliminate any fumes or odors in your home.
We recommend this option as a last resort, as the fumes can be dangerous.