We are so used to the little bits of ambient light in our homes that we never realize just how dark it is until the electricity goes out.
Rather than just sitting around in the dark, there are plenty of easy ways to light your home when the power goes out.
Life will be much more enjoyable if you have multiple ways to light your home when the power goes out.
15 Ways to Light Up Your Home if the Power Goes Out
- Hand Crank Lights
- Solar Garden Lights
- Indoor Solar Lights
- Solar Power and Battery Bank
- Oil Lamps
- DIY Lamps
- Propane Lamps
- Power failure Lights
- Rechargeable Lights
You will want to think about safety, expense, accessibility, and day-to-day usage when you decide which emergency lights to keep on hand for your home.
In the rest of this article I will do my best to give you enough information so you can make an educated decision as to which ones are best for you and your family.
Flashlights are a must-have in most homes. They are safe to use, easy to find, and available in all shapes, sizes, and strengths. You can purchase a flashlight and batteries almost anywhere.
Keep them next to your bed, in the kitchen, the garage, and basement, so you will always have one handy where you need it. You will need to keep fresh batteries in your flashlights at all times and make sure you have plenty of spares. A flashlight is no good if it doesn’t have batteries.
Headlamps are essentially a flashlight on a headband. Headlamps are extremely handy because you’ll be able to work without having to hold a flashlight in one hand.
A high-quality headlamp will have different modes and light levels. Look for one that has bright and low lights as well as flashing modes for safety.
And just like a regular flashlight, make sure to keep your headlamp charged up or keep spare batteries on hand.
3. Hand Crank Lights
These types of lights come in various sizes, from a small handheld flashlight to a larger lantern. The principle is simple: a squeezable button or small crank turn gears inside the light.
Similar to the way a gas-powered generator works, these devices turn your muscle power into enough power to light up a flashlight, power a radio, or even charge your cell phone. A hand-crank light is excellent when the batteries run out but requires frequent cranking to keep the juice flowing.
4. Solar Garden Lights
A neat trick to light your home during a power outage is to gather your outdoor solar lights and bring them indoors. Small stake lights can be placed in a large jar to create a bouquet of light. Larger lights can stand alone.
String lights can be hung up where you need light most or placed in a reflective bowl to diffuse the light. Keep your solar lights outdoors in the sunlight during the day to recharge and bring them when the sun goes down.
5. Indoor Solar Lights
If you can plan for power failure, you can keep indoor solar lights on hand. Dollar stores often carry small, cute-looking solar lights that can be charged in a bright window. These make great nightlights for kids’ rooms.
Other indoor solar light options include small solar panels that you can mount outside your home to power a lightbulb or small lamp inside your home. These are a great way to save on electricity for day-to-day use, and you can keep them on hand for emergencies.
For extended power outages, you might want to consider keeping a gas-powered generator on hand. While you probably would not want to run a generator 24-7, you could efficiently run it for a few hours in the evening and early morning to power a few lights, run your refrigerator, and heat your coffee.
Generators carry more inherent dangers than battery-powered or solar-powered lights.
Never use a generator inside an enclosed space (such as your home) because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And you’ll need to (safely) keep plenty of gas on hand to run it.
7. Solar Power and Battery Bank
If you are serious about prepping for power outages, you might consider a solar panel and battery bank.
While large installations can be very pricey and require professional installation and maintenance, you might consider smaller options involving a simple solar panel, battery, and light all in one package.
Sellers such as Biolite.com and luminaid.com offer small packages that are easy to use for the average consumer.
A trip to the dollar store for supplies can help you stock up for a power emergency. Glowsticks are a safe, single-use light source. And while a little glowstick might not be enough light to brighten a whole room, it can light up a tripping hazard, illuminate a toilet, or calm a nervous child.
Glowsticks can be bunched up in a jar, linked together to form a necklace, or placed in a jug of water for a little extra ambiance.
Candles are a standard option for power outages. Any old candle will do in a pinch, but you can also purchase longer-lasting emergency candles. And while candles do put out heat and light, you’ll need to be extra careful to keep them away from paper, curtains, beds, and small children.
Any open flame, including a small candle, can produce carbon monoxide. Make sure your space is well-ventilated, and be careful when using any kind of candle or open flame.
10. Oil Lamps
Oil lamps were throughout history for light, and lamp oil was once a symbol of preparedness. Modern lamp oil is clear and burns relatively clean. However, it is poisonous if ingested.
While these lamps are often used for decorative purposes, they can be beneficial to have on hand for times when the lights go out in your home.
11. DIY Lamps
If you don’t have access to commercial lamp oil, you can make your own lamps using olive oil or coconut oil. You will need a small jar, some wire, a wick, and some oil.
Although these lamps are easy to make, you will want to put them together before the power goes out, so you do not have to fumble around in the dark for your materials. Check out this easy, DIY oil lamp. Alternatively you may have a vintage lantern on hand that could be used in an emergency.
12. Propane Lamps
According to Lehmans.com, gaslighting gave way to electricity near the end of the 19th century. However, if you have access to propane, you can still find gas-powered lights for ambiance and emergency lighting. Propane lamps come in small, portable sizes used for camping as well as permanently installed lamps. Be sure to follow the safety instructions included with your lights.
If you have children, you probably have an emergency light source: crayons. Soften the bottom of a crayon with the flame from a lighter and use the melted wax to stand the crayon up on a plate.
Light the paper on the outside of the crayon at the top. The paper will act as a wick, and the crayon will burn for about 15 minutes, giving you a source of emergency light just like a candle.
14. Power failure Lights
Power failure lights are great to have for short-term power outages. These small nightlights plug into any typical outlet and have a small battery backup.
The battery charges up while the electricity is on. In the case of a power failure or outage, the little lights automatically turn on in the dark. Some power failure lights will double as flashlights.
15. Rechargeable Lights
Rechargeable lights are easy to find in all shapes and sizes. These lights are available as flashlights, clip-on reading lights, work lights, and even stick-up closet lights. If you have any of these lights around for day-to-day use, just keep them charged up, so they are always available to light up your home when the power goes out.
The objects in your room absorb light. The darker the object, the more light it will absorb. However, if you place a mirror behind your light source, it will redirect the light waves that hit it rather than absorbing them. Placing a mirror behind your light will increase the appearance of light in your room.
If you only have a small light, such as a flashlight, shining it directly through a clear jug of water will refract the light. In effect, it will diffuse a small, focused beam into a more considerable, indirect light.
Yes! A can of Crisco makes an excellent emergency candle. Push some kind of a wick down through the Crisco and light it for an easy candle that will burn for hours and hours. You can create a wick out of any string that is 100% cotton or even a strip of cotton clothing.
When the power is out, it can be hard to find anything in the dark. The best way to always know where your emergency lighting supplies are is to create a blackout box and keep it in a safe, easily accessible cupboard or closet. Keep your emergency lights, snacks, blankets, and comfort items in this box and update it often.