Ten Items for Your Home During A Short Term Power Outage


You have lost power.

It’s going to be a short term power outage. What are some of the things that might be nice to have during this time? Here are just a few ideas:

In no particular order,

Battery powered lanterns or Flashlights – LED technology flashlights (and extra batteries) will be a must during any power outage.

Water – While your faucet tap may still deliver water during a power outage, those of you with well water will be without (unless your generator supplies the power). Keep extra water stored for drinking and sanitation. You can pour water into your toilet tank to enable a flush.

Camp stove – While you should keep some stored food that does not require cooking, a camp stove will enable a variety of food choices during a power outage.

Portable, safe indoor heater – A standalone heater could become an essential asset during a short term winter power outage.

Winter rated sleeping bag – If your house is cold (no heat during a winter power outage), having a cold rated sleeping bag will be a welcome item for night-time sleeping.

Books – No power, no cell phones, no laptops, no TV. Maybe it’s time to read a book by candlelight.

Quiet generator – A generator for a short term power outage doesn’t have to be a ‘whole house’ generator, but just enough to supply enough power to operate some lights, perhaps to keep your refrigerator and freezer going, etc.. Many generators are very noisy. The Yamaha model is a very quiet generator.

Coffee percolator – If you’re a coffee drinker, having a percolator to sit on an emergency camp stove (or over a fire) might be a ‘must have’ ;)

Quality can opener – When the power is out, your electric can opener won’t work. You will need to use a good old fashioned hand can opener for some of the food you might choose to eat from your cupboards.

Candles – While using common sense fire safety precautions (be careful with kids in the house), candles offer an obvious light source as well as a cozy nostalgic ‘warmth’ while enduring a short term power outage.

There are many, many things to consider having as a backup to our modern conveniences during a short term power outage. The thoughts presented above are only intended as a starting point to get you thinking about it.

You may already have all of these things, but what are some additional handy items to have on hand for a short term power outage?


  1. Lotsa booze and lotsa fireworks (just to freak out the neighbors). Battery operated DVD player, battery operated CD player/disco ball and plenty of dance music.

    1. Next week, look for clear LED Christmas lights on sale. I have a Yamaha esi 1000, and with the unit right behind the house, even with a small load, you can hardly hear it from in front of the house. If at all possible, get the gasoline/propane/NG unit from US Carburetion (no, I am not affiliated with them).

  2. We just put in a wood heater, hurray! Now we have a couple of pots of pretty warm water available any time. I tossed the coffee maker and have gone back to making my morning brew by dumping boiling water over the grounds in a cone filter. If I have to, I can also make reusable filters out of bleached cotton fabric.

    Candles are nice, we have a few, but we always have some cooking oil, tallow, lard, etc., around. We get a wide-mouth, low canning jar, fashion a wick holder out of the spring from a clothespin, the wick is the cotton string that ties up your Sunday roast. Takes a bit of figuring to get the depth of oil right, but after you’ve done it once, its not a problem. I think they might be a bit safer than candles because they are not as likely to tip over. The drawback is that the glass can get pretty hot. Handle with care.

    The only thing that I am a bit concerned about is power failure in the summer. Keeping perishables cool.

    1. I keep a Hall Drip-O-Lator ceramic pot, grounds hopper and water basket handy. Mid-50s tech. Can find on Ebay for $4.00 and up. Just boil water and fill basket. Voila’.

  3. I love the battery head lamps because you have both hands free to work or read.

  4. I picked up a set of solar yard lights to use at night is case of a power outage. They stay lit most of the night.

    1. Solar powered motion lights for outside. When powers down it helps me find my way through the property (and the dogs). Also alerts me if someone is on the property. My wife likes candles for the smell but I prefer the old fashioned kerosene lantern with lamp oil. Can take it outside without wind blowing out the flame and you can adjust the light.

  5. FYI- Alkaline batteries will recharge. We use the solar yard lights for night lights, and yes they do stay on all night. ( as long as they charge all day) One of the batteries died so I stuck an AA Alkaline battery in it just to see how long it would last. After a month I started to wonder why it was not dying down. It has been in the light for almost 3 months and is still recharging each day.

  6. You know in the prepper world we always say one is none, and two is one. Well yesterday I was taking a little hike in the mountains and it was around 30 degrees not particularly cold and I had on one of my lighter coats, and as I walked along I thought I would just do a little inventory of what I had in my coat pockets, and guess what, Old Murphy had been around. I couldn’t believe it, but in my chest pocket I had a BIC lighter along with a small chocolate bar and maybe from being in my truck all summer, the chocolate had melted and was set up hard around the head of my BIC lighter, I couldn’t even get it to work when I got back to my truck. I also had a book of matches in my other chest pocket and a Mag and Flint fire starter in my side pocket and I wasn’t going to start a fire but this was a case of, “one would have been none in an emergency”. Trekker Out.

  7. Solar lights work well and if you look you can find them up to 70 lumens which is pretty bright. Small generator will keep Fridge,TV and a couple of lights on. I have stick up LED lights in bedrooms and bathrooms. Not a ton of light but enough to move around with. I have a propane stove so no problem with cooking but also have a zoom versa,col-man,barbecue and hobo stoves if needed. For the coffee ( and I am drinker ) while I have a percolator I find a french press works better for me. Since I live in the mountains I get practice every winter on no electricity. My recommendation is everyone should try going without power for a weekend. If you do this a few times you will really find out what you need.

  8. Our power goes out the most when it’s hot. I mean very hot and very humid. Keeping the air moving for some type of cooling effect is very important. So, you need a fan and some type of generator. We have a solar generator that stays charged. We have tried using the large, industrial fan, but it’s power requirements drained the battery too quickly. Looking for one that uses less power.

  9. My family in New Jersey living in a large apartment complex after hurricane Sandy lost all power for two days. Nobody had a way of making a pot of coffee without electricity. You could’ve sold a book of matches, a cup of coffee for obscene prices.

  10. Living in the desert, the O2 Cool battery operated fan is a must! We used it quite a bit last summer, as we are vendors at outdoor events and needed it for under our canopy just to keep some air moving. It takes 8 D batteries, but this fan went on and on! I am very impressed with it, and plan to buy a few more. I found it on Amazon.

  11. Light.
    I upgraded my flashlights with an extra 18650 lithium so the cob light on it’s side will operate about 20 hours, enough for a room.
    Plus more little lights than I remember and over 100 2032 batteries.
    Plenty of things plus lots of bottled water.

    Gas Stove so use as needed, needing a lighter or matches to operate.

    Loud generator with multiple heavy extension cords if that becomes necessary.
    Water well is set up to easily operate off any generator with the 20A socket.

    Books, A home made usb power system to charge anything usb
    like my phone for audio books, music player, lights indefinitely.

    Wood burner inside so dealing with the cold is no problem.

    coffee? bean water is nasty.
    candles are a fire hazard even though I have over 30 pounds of them.
    Can opener, my gerber multi tool, the pocket knife opener, the zillion p38 can openers, the 3 in the kitchen- all manual.

    Any power down situation that lasts less than a day is merely annoying.
    Yes we never really know but you usually have an idea.

    I suppose a last resort, my car with a normal 3/4+ full fuel tank and several inverters that range from 200w up to 2,000 watt- car alternator has a high amp rating for accessories.

    I intend to keep things as normal as possible unless the situation is actually serious.

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