Ways of heating a MA apartment without electricity?

I am prepping for a winter power outage in Massachusetts. I live in an apartment with central heating that depends on electricity, so I need a way to keep warm when the power goes out. Looking at the article about emergency heating, it seems that a portable propane heater is recommended for indoor heating. However, I don’t know how to effectively prevent carbon monoxide buildup while using one indoors. Another concern is that I heard that it’s dangerous to store propane indoors, and I’m pretty sure someone will steal my propane if I leave it on the porch. So, I have a few questions about heating my apartment without electricity:

  1. Would I realistically be able to use a portable heater in my apartment without dying from carbon monoxide? Would cracking open a window provide enough ventilation without the risk of carbon monoxide buildup, and how possible is this during a snowstorm? How would I store the propane?
  2. What’s the most cost-effective way of prepping for at least 2 weeks when using a propane heater? Assuming that a 1 lb propane canister lasts 6 hours, I would need a lot of canisters to heat my space for 2 weeks.
  3. Other than using a propane heater, what would be some other ways of keeping my space warm?

  • Comments (10)

    • 3

      I am no expert like many others on here but living in the NE, Maine, I can relate. I have a small Mr. Heater, propane, that I use in my ice fishing shack all day long with no issues. It is designed for indoor use. I also have its larger brother, the Big Buddy, which can run off of 2x 1lb or a 20lb propane tank (just have to get the hose for the larger tank). That is much more efficient then tons of small 1lb tanks. The large unit puts out 18,000 BTU’s I think, enough to heat a room up to the 70’s when it is 0 outside. Again, it is designed for indoor use.  You can get the large unit on Amazon for $120 looks like. Never ran the 20lb tank none stop but website says you get 110 hours on a 20lb tank.

      For the carbon monoxide I am sure you can find a battery powered one to use when your power goes out. 

    • 3

      This discussion might help.  Also, most certainly get larger LP tanks.  20 lbs works good but I prefer 40 lb tanks.  They are the same diameter, just taller.


      • 1

        Redneck, you got me looking at one of yours now.

      • 1

        I love that heater!

      • 1

        How would you store them if you were in an apartment? All of the safety notices I read say not to store propane tanks inside.

      • 2

        I guess if you felt better not having them inside with you, I’d look for a storage location close by.  You have any friends or family that has a storage shed or detached garage nearby?  Is there a commercial storage facility relatively close?  You know any businesses that would let you keep it there?

        Point is, if you are simply prepping for an electric outage, maybe caused by a winter storm, then you could store them most anywhere.  Then prior to the arrival of the storm, just drive to the storage site & bring them home with you.  Even if it was an unexpected outage, you should still be able to get them rather quickly.  You just don’t want to be driving around during or after a storm.  Plan ahead.

    • 2

      Check out the Vesta indoor stove. It just got released about a week ago, and is now sold out, grrr, but hopefully will be back in stock, soon. It is safe to use indoors as it uses canned heat.  You can remove the heater element and cook on it, too. I’m so irritated at myself that I did not buy it immediately, last week, as this would be perfect for us and we already have a supply of Ready Hour canned fuel.

      Screen Shot 2022-10-22 at 4.57.30 PMScreen Shot 2022-10-22 at 4.58.27 PM


    • 1

      This is also another interesting method you can try — tea lights and terra cotta clay pots. I have not tried this, but there are a lot of videos on youtube about people trying this and it working. Some guy heated his place using this for 72 days in Canada, one winter. Tea lights are pretty cheap, too. You can get a big bag from IKEA for $5.


    • 1

      One thing to consider is, you do not need to run a heater 24 hours a day. Only enough to heat the room, and then shut it off until the room gets cold and a sweater or blanket won’t keep you warm. Also, you can stay/sleep in the living room, and close all other doors to keep heat in only the rooms you need. 

      Also if you have the extra cash, buy a propane burner that runs off of the bottles, so as you cook,  you are also heating the room.

      I also line in an apt, tho it does not get as cold here as it does in MA. I also have a Coleman stove with a few gallons of fluid for cooking, some kerosene lamps, and candles. You can also do the candles and terracotta pot heater, but there is a fire hazard with any open flame, and one has to be concerned about a smoke detector going off as well.. I also have a 12 volt blanket and marine battery, and can charge the battery with my car if it runs down.

      A generator would be great, but once started, you would have more friends than you thought you had.

    • 2

      If you can boil water, you can store that heat in a hot water bottle and have personal warmth for a few hours.