Creating Light With Odd Household Items in a Blackout

Preparing for an uncertain future sometimes means learning valuable lessons from the past. One of those lessons is discovering ways to provide light without electricity.

Today I want to discuss several ways you can light your home during a blackout.  

It’s difficult to imagine now, but for the vast majority of human existence, people did not have electricity to light the inside and outside of their dwellings. As recently as 100 years ago, only about one-half of American homes enjoyed electrical power.

Electricity is a huge help to us as we cool and heat our homes, provide light, and use appliances. But with heat waves and storms frequently striking our vulnerable electric grid, the number and duration of power outages are on the rise.  


Perhaps the most obvious way to light the inside of your home is with candles. Obvious, but not particularly safe. In addition to the fire hazard, paraffin-based candles can produce toxin-filled smoke you and your family do not want to breathe. 

You’re better off using safer candles including those made from beeswax, soy wax, or coconut wax. Regardless of what kind of candles you use, be sure to have non-flammable holders for them. 

And here’s a little trick you can use to amplify your light from a candle. Fold a large piece of aluminum foil so that it’s standing. Place it near (but not too close) to your candle.

When a candle is lit in front of it, light from the fire will reflect off the foil for additional illumination.   

Oil lamps

Oil lamps are another option for lighting your home. They can be fueled with kerosene, olive oil, lamp oil, or even animal fat. The same open-flame concern exists here as with candles, so be sure to use caution. 

Kerosene can put off a strong odor. So it should only be used in a well-ventilated room. That’s more challenging during cold weather.

The brand of oil you use should be labeled as smokeless, non-toxic, and safe for indoor use. In other words, a clean-burning oil. 

As far as the lamp itself is concerned, you can choose from tabletop lamps to wall-mounted lamps to hanging lamps and reading lamps. Make sure you have plenty of extra wicks on hand.

Flashlights, etc.

Flashlights are a good choice when you are suddenly left powerless by extreme weather or another cause. Their portability is an advantage. But make sure they are in working order and are kept in easily accessible places.

Some people like to keep a small LED flashlight by their bed. And if you have solar-powered flashlights, you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries. Other battery-powered light sources include some lamps and lanterns.

There are no odors or fumes to worry about with these items. Headlamps are especially advantageous when you need both hands to work on something and require light.

Safety is another benefit with flashlights and battery-powered lamps and lanterns. Your kids or grandkids can handle them with ease. Use rechargeable batteries with your flashlight to save money in the long run.

Solar lights

Solar lights may be better known for their outdoor usages. But there’s no reason why you can’t use them indoors when needed as well.

Especially by placing them strategically in your home to light up dark areas. 

Some people place their solar lights outdoors during the day to soak up plenty of sunlight. Then they bring the lights indoors when darkness sets in. This saves on electric bills and comes in very handy when the power goes out.

There are many ways to light up your home during a power outage. But solar lights are your safest and most cost-effective option. 

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