Wood Stove Winter Prepping

Winter Prepping Tips To Survive the Cold

Winter is coming. The temperatures are dropping fast. Hoodies are coming out. Pumpkin spice everything has arrived. From all the reports I’ve seen this winter will be the worst in 20 years. 

Even my beloved Tennessee is going to get colder. Much colder. Glad I chose this year for my off-grid adventure. 

Winter brings a whole new facet to prepping. Many things need doing to get ready for winter. In the winter you need to change out your  Bug Out Bag. Car kits need upgrading for the cold. 

 If you have not already started, you’re behind. Today let’s look at some considerations for winter prepping.

 

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Winter Prepping

Prepping In the Winter  brings challenges not faced during warmer months. Even here in the South, we have issues. The biggest issues I see are maintaining core body temperature, increasing calories and travel. Taking care of those three will do you well.

Freezing to death is a very real concern. If your only means of heat is electric and the power goes out what do you do? With plummeting temps, you will be burning more calories to maintain warmth. How will you get those extra calories?

 

If we get serious amounts of snow this year road travel will be dangerous. Icy spots outside your home and vehicle can build up and unless you use a product like Traction Magic, you can seriously injure yourself.

How will you get around? Should you even try to travel? Let’s begin our winter prepping series today with Keeping warm.

 

Keeping Warm

To me, this is the most important part of winter prepping. To survive you must maintain your core body temperature. Where you are plays a big part in staying warm. We will focus on the home today. Later I will tackle the car and outside.

I know a thing or two about staying warm at home. I have not used the heat at home the past three winters. This past winter we had temps in the single digits. I did not freeze at home. My apartment temperatures in fact never got below 50. Those were rare occasions. Normally the temp was in the low 60’s.

I do not walk around in shorts during those times. Usually, a sweater does the trick.  I like to use 100% wool clothes as much as possible at this time. Wool is a must for winter prepping. Start hitting up goodwill and thrift stores for cheap wool. Army surplus stores are great for wool clothing too.

Passive Heat

During the winter I cover windows with black plastic. Not the entire window though. I use a black window curtain over the windows. Behind it run a strip of black plastic. Leave a few inches on the top and bottom. This leaves a space between the window and the curtain that gets superheated. The hot air raises to the top and flows out the into the room and the cold air gets pulled in from the bottom. No this is not a magical off grid heater. It does help to keep the apartment tolerable.

Behind it run a strip of black plastic. Leave a few inches on the top and bottom. This leaves a space between the window and the curtain that gets superheated. The hot air raises to the top and flows out the into the room and the cold air gets pulled in from the bottom.

No this is not a magical off grid heater. It does help to keep the apartment tolerable.

Electric Blankets

Another trick I use is to only heat myself. Heating an entire house is very inefficient. Wasted heat makes up a large part your electric bill. I like to use heating pads and blankets.

I like to use heating pads and blankets on the couch .I put down a heating blanket to sit on. The heat radiates through me making me warm. If it gets extra cold I’ll put the electric blanket

If it gets extra cold I’ll put the electric blanket over me. I now prefer the heat of an electric blanket over AC heat. You can feel the heat soaking into you. Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are

I now prefer the heat of an electric blanket over AC heat. You can feel the heat soaking into you. Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are

 

Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are Sunbeam Twins. I’ve used them for three years with no problems.

 

Ceramic Pot Heater
Ceramic Pot Heater

Ceramic Pot Heater

Last year I tried out one of the Ceramic flower pot heaters. The internet was full of them. I built one and tested it thoroughly.

After weeks of testing, I called it Myth Busted. It was not enough to warm up my tiny closet sized bathroom.

I had someone comment and say it does work but you can’t measure the difference. Yeah, Sure thing lady. It is a hand warmer and that’s it. Don’t bother building one for winter prepping. It’s a waste of time and money.

Heat From Cooking

 

 

Winter is a good time for using the over for slow cooked dishes. I like to get out my dutch over and slow roast meat all day. I get a delicious meal and some extra  heat.

The opposite is true for summer. Then I like to do a portion of my cooking outside. 

I also don’t batch my cooking as much. Usually, I like to do a lot of cooking for the week all at once. In the winter I will cook daily to get a little extra heat in the home. 

What winter prepping article would be complete without talking about heaters. I will talk about a few methods today. For off-grid power out heating, we will be using either wood or gas. I don’t know enough about oil heaters to speak on them today.

Heaters

For quick and easy heat the little propane heaters are great. You can buy a buddy heater and stock up on propane cylinders and be set.

 

Like all options today make sure you have a working CO2 alarm. The Buddy heaters  give  off a decent amount of carbon dioxide. If you have the money this might be the easiest option.

 

A buy and forget option for winter prepping. No home modifications. In an emergency find the smallest room and heat that one. Normally I would recommend sealing the room off. With the Carbon dioxide though some air flow is better.

Kerosene heaters are another option. They are readily available from almost all big box stores. The price on them is usually around the $130~$170 range. They will really heat up a large room.

 

If you want to heat up more space than a buddy heater then kerosene is the way to go. Kerosene is not as easily found anymore though. Growing up I remember just about every gas station had a kerosene pump. If you can find one it will cost you around $4 a gallon.

 

The price is on the high side for me. It’s still better than no heat, though. One last point about kerosene is the smell. When they go out it will stink up your whole house.

 

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Wood Heat

Wood heat is the ultimate in heating for winter prepping. You can always find something to burn for heat. You will need to gather wood for winter. It is best to wood dry for at least a season. Keeping the wood dry is important too. A wood shed would be best.

 

You will need to either buy cords of wood or process it yourself.  You will need to have the wood ready to go before winter comes. Splitting wood in the winter is going to suck.

To burn the wood in you have many options. Wood burning stoves, Fireplaces, rocket mass heaters. Most of these options will be very expensive. You will need to do massive remodeling work on the home.

 

If you are in an apartment this will not work for you. Rocket mass heaters are built from scratch. They are the best option if you have any building skills. Rocket mass heaters will work from sticks over big logs. You cannot just buy one. If you have money you can buy a wood burning stove and have it installed.

 

Wood stoves are not cheap, though. It is my best pick for off grid heat, though. Nothing beats wood heat for winter prepping.

 

 

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20 thoughts to “Winter Prepping Tips To Survive the Cold”

  1. These are good tips all and for those who have not done their winter back up heating hopefully will get them moving. Up here in MN we take heating very seriously. For the auto, personal hand and foot warmers are invaluable if even only used to warm hands while get other heat source going. The firewood tips are good as you mentioned, however a couple notes on that are the exercise in splitting in the winter warms you up crazy fast. Also the wood splits much easier when frozen or cold if you are doing so by hand. I agree with you, wood heating is the best albeit wasteful depending on your stove or heater set up. The rocket mass heater the best if you can build/install the components. After that I would go with the kerosene stove and then propane or LP. You should come up and see how we heat the ice shack for hard water fishing. There are definitely some inventive folks when it comes to ice fishing

  2. There are different grades of kerosene. I’ve used a kerosene heater for many years-the best grade is #1, and that will not stink up your house. That’s what is best for heating with kerosene.

  3. I really liked the electric blanket idea. i put that particular item on my list. The black plastic on the windows is also something i’m going to try because I have a great southern exposure. I do have black industrial floor mats laid down in the dining room and one bedroom that get a lot of sun. haven’t checked to see if they are actually radiating any heat but today would be a good day to do a test and break out a thermometer because it is sunny yet a little chilly outside.

    I have looked into installing a wood stove but my big concern is that I live in a large trailer and I wanted to find a wood stove rated for a home like mine. After quite a bit of research I did find several manufacturers that produce EPA approved wood stoves. The one that caught my eye was a Drokt Legend series for around 1,350.00 dollars. Probably would cost about that much to have a NFI certified installer put the thing in.

    I do have two kerosene heaters and they work very well. I usually start them on the front porch and then move them inside once they have gotten nice and hot. That way i don’t get that kerosene smell in the house. Just reverse the process when I when want to turn them off.

    There is a natural gas furnace in the house but it’s an old Coleman and it just isn’t up to the job when it’s -20 degrees plus wind chill. The poor thing never quits running when it’s that cold so i have to supplement the BTU’s it puts out. I do turn the thermostat down to 50 degrees when I leave for work and the dog doesn’t seem to mind. She curls up on her blanket and snoozes the day away. She also sleeps with me and keeps me warm. If this winter is going to be as bitterly cold as the last I may have to adopt another dog or two to put on the bed!

    Thanks for the tips!

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

  4. Not true.. I Googled it, found the appropriate page on the EPA’s website and read it. There is no ban on wood burning stoves.

  5. This is in reply to “Mark” 0bama did not ban wood stoves, the EPA is going to ban wood stoves that are non-catalyic. Just buy a wood stove now and don’t worry about it. The gov is not going to confiscate your wood stove.

    I heat exclusively with wood and have for years. I live in Michigan and use about 5 cords of hardwood (oak, hickory) per season. It gets cold outside but we stay cozy and warm without spending money on utilities (gas or electric).

  6. One thing I did not see mentioned was 3M or equivalant inside window plastic weatherstrip,glass is a very poor insulator expecially if older. I have large windows facing south and the difference in cold weather with or without these kits is very noticable. Also the sdeal around the door not just the bottoms. Easy test to check for air leaks around windows and doors is blow smoke (alot)from the outside around the windows and seams to see if any leaks indoors. Or have a person stay inside with a lit candle and blow/force air around the windows or doors see if the flame moves or even goes out, cheap way but effeicent.

  7. You asked where you find higher grade kerosene: most gas stations carry one or the other but usually not both. The pink looking cheaper stuff smells super strong and sometimes smokes. The higher grade is clearish and doesn’t smoke & smells much better. Around where I am you just have to check. I have a place in the country just a few miles from my house…..they sell pink. BUT the 2nd closest place (in town lol) sells clear. Clear is 110% worth the tiny percentage extra you have to spend on it. Gas stations that have kerosene might advertise “kerosene” but they never come out & say: hey we have the smelly stuff, so you just have to ask which color or grade:)

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