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Monday, December 15, 2008

How to keep warm without electricity - Stones on the BBQ!

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice a...Image via WikipediaThe "Ice Storm of 2008" had wiped out power to over 1,000,000 homes and businesses. Over the past few days many people have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge at nearby shelters. Other people have tried to stay in their houses and brave the cold. Others have tried to warm their houses by blasting their gas stoves or using un-vented kerosene heaters. These are BAD ideas. Don't try them at home.

If you're one of those people who, like me, stubbornly wants to brave the cold and be independent, try this:

  1. Fire up your gas grill or charcoal grill. OUTSIDE!
  2. Throw some big rocks (5-10 pounds each) on indirect high heat.
  3. Cook for approximately 1 -2 hours with the cover closed.
  4. Let them cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Check the temperature of the rocks carefully with your hand.
  6. Wrap them in towels or blankets if you don't think they will burn the towels.
  7. Enjoy the heat! It should stay very warm for around 8-10 hours.
This is not fool proof.. obviously dealing with hot rocks is not the safest thing either, just be smart about it and don't come to me if you burn a hole through your mattress. Even if you let the rocks cool for quite a while they will still retain a lot of heat. The trick is to allow the outer layer to cool so that you can touch it easily, but the center of the rock will still be hot and it will emanate heat slowly over the course of the night.

Bricks, patio blocks, or ceramic tiles will work too, although the bigger the object is, the longer it will retain it's heat. Similarly, it will take longer to bring a larger object up to temperature.

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