Power outages can happen at any time, and always seem to happen right when you’re about to make a meal for your family. Being able to reliably boil water for meals, cleaning, and possibly first aid will help you to consistently feed your family and be ready for any other emergency that may come up.
Here are 8 easy ways to boil water without electricity:
- Gas Stove
- Wood Burning Stove or Indoor Fireplace
- BBQ Grill
- Outdoor Fire Pit
- Propane Camp Stove
- Solar Cooker
- Ethanol Gel
Regardless of the method you use, be sure to have a lighter and a good, heavy-duty pot for the water. Also, be sure you know how to use your specific type of fireplace, stove, grill, or cooker to make sure you are staying safe and not causing any accidental fires or damage.
If you have a gas stove in your kitchen, all you will need is a lighter to get water boiling. This is the simplest solution when the power goes out as it is already in your kitchen and you are familiar with it.
The burners on the cooktop do not need electricity, only gas. But keep in mind that the ignitor for the burners, as well as the oven, do require power to work. So you will need to light them by hand in order to boil water without power.
All you will need is a lighter with a long neck, your gas stove, and a pot of water. Turn the lighter on and hold it near the burner. Once the flame is in place, turn on the gas as you normally would, it will ignite and you can control the oven as usual. Be careful to not hold the gas on too long before you get the flame ready as it will put too much flammable gas into the air. You will also need to make sure you have a lighter with a longer handle rather than a match so you don’t have to have your hand near the flame.
If you do not have a gas stove and experience frequent power outages due to weather or other extenuating circumstances, you may want to consider purchasing one as they can be used regardless of power. It is also a great option as you can prepare meals on it as you normally would even without electricity.
Indoor Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace
Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces can be a great place to boil water when there is no power. They are indoors, easy to access, and only require wood. This could be pivotal during an emergency if you are unable to purchase propane or gas, but can reliably find wood to burn.
You will need:
- Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace
- Small pieces of wood
- Cast iron or another durable type of pot
All you need to do is light the fire within your stove or in the fireplace and let it sit for a minute to warm up the stove. Cast iron pots can be placed directly on top of the stove or into the fire to heat up.
You can also use a kettle to warm up water on top of the stove. Rocket stoves are very popular as they only use a fraction of wood to cook with that a traditional stove does.
If you have never used your fireplace or indoor wood stove, be careful to stay safe and keep your home safe as well. Make sure you know how to use it, that there is sufficient ventilation, small children and animals are kept far away, and you never leave the fire unattended.
Having an outdoor BBQ grill can be so much more useful than your weekend cookout and summer BBQs. Water can be heated up quickly and efficiently using a propane grill.
There are a lot of different models of grills, so if you are in the market for one maybe keep in mind the possibility of boiling water with it. Some grills even come with a 3rd burner or a dedicated place to boil water that makes it simple and convenient.
All you need for this to work is your BBQ grill, a lighter, propane, and your pot of water. Any type of camping gear or stainless steel pots would work well on a grill.
Check your propane tank regularly to make sure that you have enough in case you do need to boil water in an emergency.
Outdoor Fire Pit
For anyone who is a regular camper and loves to be outdoors, an outdoor fire pit may be your best option as it will be familiar to you. Having an outdoor fire pit is an awesome resource to have not only for emergency cooking but for making great meals and spending time with family.
The setup to boil water in an open fire pit is pretty simple. First, make sure the area you are building your fire in is free from plants or anything else that could catch fire. Next, create a barrier with rocks or bricks so that you can better keep everything contained.
Once you have that all set up, set up your wood and get your kindling ready. Your wood should be placed in a way that you could set either a Dutch oven, a steel kettle, or another heavy-duty pot directly into the flames. There are devices, such as a cooking tripod, that you can purchase to then suspend the Dutch oven over the flames, but it also works well without.
Keep in mind that your pot will be very hot and in the fire, so you will want a safe way to get it out without burning yourself.
Propane Camp Stove
Camp stoves are quite handy as they are small and can be packed in a backpack. They are generally simple to use and are great for boiling water without electricity.
Camp stoves work very similarly to a BBQ grill. You will need a small propane tank and a lighter to get them running, but they take up way less space.
Camp stoves come in many different sizes, so you could boil 1 – 2 pots of water depending on what style you have. These smaller camp stoves run on smaller propane tanks though, so you will have to make sure that you have enough on hand for any emergency that may come up.
Candles might not be the first thing you think of when you want to boil water, but for some people, it may be the only thing they have on hand already! For candles to be able to generate enough heat, you are either going to need a very large candle or several smaller candles that you light together.
This method only works if you are trying to boil small amounts of water for a one-person MRE or another type of freeze-dried meal. You will be waiting a very long time if you are trying to boil an entire pot of water for your entire family.
Gather all of your candles together onto a baking pan before you light them. This will help keep them together and under your pot easier. Depending on the size of your candles, you will need to find something to suspend your small pot of water above the heat.
Some examples for your setup could be:
- Place multiple small tea lights in the bottom of a 9x 13 baking dish and rest the pot on the raised edges of the pan, making sure to leave gaps for air circulation.
- A few taller candles can be set in the sink or in a taller pot. Use a baking dish or a glass container to hold the water above the candles, resting on the sides of the sink or the top of the pot.
If you live in a pretty sunny climate, you will definitely want to purchase or make your own solar stove. They can be very effective, cost-efficient, and require no extra supplies! All you do is set it in the sun and wait!
One huge drawback though is that solar stoves are dependent on sunshine to work and you will not get anywhere if there is bad weather or it’s nighttime.
Ethanol gel is more commonly known as a Sterno and is a bright pink or purple gel that you usually see underneath chafers at buffets. It is low odor, generally cheap, and creates a fast, hot flame.
Ethanol gels come in a variety of sizes and burn for a good amount of time. They also technically never expire, so they are great to have stored with your long-term food storage.
To use ethanol gel all you have to do is pry open the lid and light it. Place the water above it as you would above the candles, as it needs air to remain lit. To make this process even easier you can purchase simple chafing dishes that will hold pans above the Sterno, creating a small stove for you to then boil your water easily, quickly, and without electricity.