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10 clever hacks to get through a power outage

No matter where you live, power outages are likely to happen at some point, because every season brings its set of potential emergencies.

Even if the power outage lasts for just an hour or two, it is a major inconvenience. Below are 10 ways to breeze through a power outage with ease, no matter how long it is.

Alternative charging methods for your phone

Alternate cellphone charge

Berlin, Germany - July 6, 2017: smartphone charging with power bank on wooden desk in office. A powerbank is a portable device that can supply power from its built-in batteries through a USB port. (Cineberg/Getty Images)

Cellphones are a great way to stay connected and informed during a power outage. Most phones come in handy with a flashlight, a compass and other helpful tools.

First and foremost, make sure your cellphone is on low battery mode and close unused apps and put your phone on airplane mode to save battery life. If your cellphones and back up chargers are out of battery, connect your phone to a laptop that has battery. The laptop won't be usable without WiFi so it is a great way to get a little more battery for your cellphone.

If you still have power but want to charge a phone quickly without using a wall socket, plug it into the USB port on your TV. Most newer TVs have a USB port.

Last case scenario, you can charge your phone in the car.

Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside

Shopping area in terminal of Dubai International Airport

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 28, 2014: People in shopping centre in hall of terminal of Dubai International Airport. (TasfotoNL/Getty Images)

In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, if it is safe, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air sinks. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.

If there is a community pool, keep in mind if the power is not working in the area, the pool pumps will not be working and cleaning the pool.

Keep a supply of books, board games, playing cards and other items available to keep your family entertained during a power outage.

Put ice in the washing machine

When a freezer doesn't have power, ice melts and food thaws, causing a huge mess. For a temporary freezer, turn your clothes washer into a cooler. Fill it with ice and any other items that need cooling. It will keep the ice cold and drain water when it melts.

Residential water damage caused by defective washing machine

Strap a head lamp to a gallon jug of water to fill room with ambient light

Strap the headlamp to the jug, facing the light inward. The water amplifies the light to create a “lantern” to illuminate an entire room.

If you don't have a head lamp, you can tape a flashlight to the top of the opening to a gallon of water.

Amplify light with mirrors


Mirrors can't create light, but they reflect it. Most mirrors are not 100 percent reflective, but they can still help bounce most of the light back and increase the general brightness in a room.

Fill up zip lock bags with tap water

If the weather is cold enough, fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put them outside to freeze solid. Do the same thing with zap lock bags. Put the bags into coolers, the freezer or the washing machine, which can serve as temporary refrigerators.

Turn off and unplug

Power board

Overloaded power board in home office. (davidmariuz/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power surge that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.

Use a crayon as a candle

Crayola Crayons

A heap of Crayola brand crayons of various colors. (andipantz/Getty Images)

Light the pointy part of the crayon, let it melt onto a disposable surface like a paper plate. Once the fire reaches the paper on the crayon, stick the crayon in its wax on the paper plate. One crayon should remain lit for a couple of hours.

Only use this method if an adult is present and can stay in the same room to avoid a potential fire threat.

Put valuables in the dish-washing machine


In the case of a power outage during a flood, the dish washer is a great place to put things because it's water proof and durable. That includes important documents, jewelry and expensive clothing items.

DIY battery

Used Batteries

Istanbul, Turkey - July 2, 2014: Large collection of non-rechargeable AA size batteries piled. Brands include Philips, Duracell, Panasonic, Ikea, Sony, GP. (kemalbas/Getty Images)

If you run out of AA batteries for flashlights or other electronics, you can convert AAA batteries with a ball of foil. Just insert a ball of foil between the negative end of the AAA battery and the device to generate power.

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