For thousands of years, humans have kept warm in cold climates with fires or hearths in their homes. In the last 50 years we’ve began to build homes without fireplaces because “they are just so sooty,” and have become totally reliant on central heating. Because the ability to heat our homes requires electricity, many people are in danger during prolonged power outages. Many families are discovering this danger this week as the New England storm (ironically nicknamed Snowmaggedon) knocked out power to many homes for a few days. With their heat off, people were moving in with other families that had fireplaces and huddling in their living rooms to stay warm. It raises the question, how will we stay warm during the apocalypse? (continued..)
If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, It would be wise to install a wood stove. If it’s too late for that, try these ideas:
You can start a fire anywhere, but the you’ll need to allow the smoke to leave your home. Opening your windows is counterproductive and cutting a hole in your ceiling allows too much heat to escape as well as rain and snow to enter.
Even if you don’t have a fireplace, your home may still have a chimney from an old fireplace. Tear out the sheet rock around where you think the old fireplace was. You’ll probably find it bricked up or an iron plate over the old opening. Remove the brick or plate and build a fire in the old fireplace opening.
If you have a newer suburban style house or apartment. You’ll want to create an exhaust system to place over your fire that can direct the smoke out a window. The best part is that your home should have one already.
- Tear out your air ducts that are now useless and attach one open end to your open window. (If you don’t have air ducts use your dryer exhaust tube)
- You can seal around the edge of this fitting with cardboard and duct tape (Yeah that’s what it’s for)
- Attach other duct pieces so that the other end fits right over where you fire will be.
- Remember that you want the smoke to go out the exhaust, not the heat, so make sure the vent over the fire is not too large.
- You want the heat of the fire to be directed towards you. Use some of the duct work to build a heat reflector around the base of the fire.
Some other tips:
After the apocalypse, your 5,000 square foot home is a disadvantage. You’ll waste fuel trying to heat anything larger than 500 square feet. Close off all other areas of your house except for the room you are heating. This is where you’ll eat, sleep and survive. See, the apocalypse isn’t so bad, your family is already spending more time together.
Body heat goes a long way. The Mall of America has no central heating system, it is heated much by body heat. Unfortunately, you can’t have 40,000 people shopping in your home, but you can keep your family and close by to stay warm.
(Up next in part II…stay warm with out an extra coat.)