Emergency Lighting for Power Outages

June 6, 2011

flashlight in the darkIf you use those little solar lights outside, they can come in handy during a power outage at night. Bring them inside and you have light, then take them back out in the morning to recharge. They may be safer than candles and won't provide heat in the summer.


By Debby Tangblade from Lee's Summit, Missouri

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 205 Posts
January 12, 2010

Whenever we have a power outage, instead of candles, I use battery powered lights. You can buy battery powered lanterns, flashlights of course, and battery powered push lights. I have a push light for every room in the house.


February 1, 2010

Another idea for power outages: I buy those touch lights. They are battery operated, and you press them to get a soft glow. Often they are used for night lights or inside closets.


May 14, 2013

Buy a couple of "headlamps". They are small flashlights attached to an elastic band to wear around your forehead - think miner's lamps. I bought mine at Home Depot.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 114 Posts
September 10, 2009

As I was stumbling through the dark looking for the first light switch on my way through the house, I realized that my cell phone was still lit. It was amazing how helpful that little thing was in providing just enough light.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
April 28, 2020

When services can be interrupted, it's scary to not be able to see what you are doing. In Dec of 2018, my senior community lost power from 1am to 11am.


We were cold and without a way to even have a coffee. Too many of us are in that stage where we fall easy enough in the daytime.

A Dollar Store lantern hung near a bed.


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September 10, 2012

I keep large flashlights in every room. The kind that take the great big batteries. When the lights go out, I turn one on in the room that I am in.


August 27, 2012

This tip is for hurricane season. Use the solar lights that you have in your yard or garden for light at night if you are with out electricity after the storm.


June 19, 2008

Just crack a glow bracelet open and hang it on your little one's door knob. This way, if the electricity goes out during the night, your child will still be able to find their way to their door and then will be able to use the glow bracelet as a little flashlight.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
March 25, 2008

Before you have a power outage or a tornado warning, buy several disposable LED book lights at the Dollar Store. They are great for kids because they easily clip on to a book or to your coat or shirt.


October 9, 2007

There are occasions when we have power outages and we use oil lamps and candles for lighting. I use tealights in clear or frosted glass mugs.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 219 Posts
July 16, 2012

When the lights goes out in your home do you prefer using candles or flashlights? Is it safe to leave batteries in a flashlight for a long time?

By Onesummer


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July 17, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

The only kind of candles I ever use are the battery operated ones. If there is a chance of a power outage (when there is a possibility of heavy storms) I put one in my bathroom and turn it on when I go to bed. That puts out enough light, so that in case of a power outage, I can see to get hold of the flashlight in my bedroom.


The only thing about leaving batteries in a flashlight or anything else is to check every now and then to make sure they aren't leaking any acid. The reason I use the battery powered candles is because I feel they are safer than regular candles in case a person would go to sleep while they are on.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
July 17, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Our electricity goes out frequently, especially if we have a storm with a lot of wind. I purchased 2 oil lamps about 50 years ago and we are still using them. We keep flashlights handy all of the time.

July 19, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I keep a L.L. Bean crank flashlight by the bed. Candles and oil lamps I use as stationary lights - not ones to carry around. We plan to invest in a generator later this summer.


This is an option you might consider if power outages are frequent and/or long lasting.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
July 11, 2008

We had a power outage last night for about an hour. I told DH to turn off the battery powered items and just keep the candles on as we had no way of knowing how long the outage would last. So far, so good.

Then two things happened: I took a candle with a lamp shade (this was, I discovered, just for looks) and that seemed to contain too much light within its shade, so that I tripped over something in the dark and almost toppled the candle on to the carpeting. Fortunately, I righted the candle in the nick of time and did not set the house on fire. Very scary. Threw this shade in the garbage. Never want to use it again!

The second, was when DH opened the door to go outside, almost all the candles blew out. Had we been in pitch darkness, this would have presented a problem. So, my question is what kind of a candle holder can a person use to walk around the house for path lighting and what kinds of shades or shaded holders will keep a candle from blowing out with a tiny breeze?


Holly from Richardson, TX


July 11, 20080 found this helpful

Why not look into the little LED battery candles -you can usually find them at craft stores. They look like a little hockey puck with a plastic LED 'flame' and use a battery like a watch battery. They are supposed to last 50 hours or more. Those would be much safer than a lit candle and should shed enough light to walk around.


You can also get crank flashlights that get their power by cranking a handle a few times - when the power starts to dim, just crank it again. Those too are much safer than flames.

July 11, 20080 found this helpful

How about those rechargable flashlights? Those are the ones you have to shake to get the light to come on. The charge on a few shakes lasts a long time.
What about those lattern type candle holders? You place the candle inside the glass enclosed lattern. The door even locks so as if there is a issue with the lamp falling over, the candle will not fall out.

By suzin (Guest Post)
July 11, 20080 found this helpful

I use the candle holder that has a glass chimney, the kind of chimney that was used on oil lamps in olden times. I also have several of the old oil lamps with the chimneys. Another solution we used when the power went off is to have the white solar lamps outside. When the lights go out at night, just bring a couple of them in. The white solar lights are the brightest I hear.

July 11, 20080 found this helpful

I have flashlights and a supply of batteries, both rechargable flashlights and regular ones. I also have a small battery powered lantern that I have used with power outages. Even though I have tons of scented candles that I use almost every day, I have found that it is more stressful to try and light candles (not just scented candles) in the dark so flashlights are the way to go. Too much danger of toppling them over in the dark.

LI Roe

By Phyllis (Guest Post)
July 11, 20080 found this helpful

I was in the dark for over 9 hours one night due to a lightening strike that knocked our power out. I was using the candles and the battery powered lights as well and thought there had to be a better way. I opened the front door and saw my solution. My cheapie solar walkway lights I had purchased for less than $3 a piece. The came right off the posts they were stuck in the ground with and I brought them inside to use. I turned them upside down and they sat perfectly like that on the solar charger top. No fire hazard and they didn't create more heat during an already hot night. They worked great! Charged by the sun during the day... and ready to use any night they are needed!

July 11, 20080 found this helpful

One of those candleholder dishes with a handle like a coffee cup works well for walking around. You just hold your other hand in front of the flame as you walk and it won't blow out.

By Peggy (Guest Post)
July 11, 20080 found this helpful

Oil lamps with "hurricane" shades give off lots of light and won't blow out unintentionally. That's what our ancestors used.

July 11, 20080 found this helpful

I put candles in small jars, ie baby food jars or the jars Old English cheese comes in. These are heavy glass and a votive fits perfect in it.

By SunshineRose (Guest Post)
July 11, 20080 found this helpful

When voltive candles go on sale I stockup. I have a clear bowl which a have water in. I put the candles in the water, so if the tip they land in the water and go out. The other thing I do that they did before electricty
is to use shiny objects to reflect the light. Mirrors make it seems as if there is more light. Remember to keep children and pets away from the candles. The reason I have candles in water is a hold over from when I had a cat that thought candle flame was fun to play with.

July 11, 20080 found this helpful

You might consider installing some battery powered "tap" lights in strategic places in case of another power failure. You could tap as you go to turn on, then tap as you return to turn off.

By Andrea (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

With all of these storms this year we keep losing power and finally decided to get an emergency generator. The hardware store was out of generators, so my husband searched and found one at we should now have the power needed when the next unexpected outage comes. The generator will keep the lights on, food cold and our air conditioning working. Hopefully the generator will also keep our sump pump working to protect the basement from flooding.

By flower lady from ky. (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

We have a couple of solar lights we didn't need outside so I leave them where they are in the sun all day. We had a storm this week, the power went out. I went outside & brought in 2 of the solar lights. I put 1 in the kitchen the other in the bath room. We could see through each room. They are safe, no worry if you want to try to get some sleep while waiting for the service repair.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

After we had a small house fire several years back I tend to stay away from candles. Instead I buy 5 or 10 clip-on LED lights whenever I see them at my dollar store.... These clip-on LED lights are great for power outages. They are nice to read a book or a magazine with & we always give one of these LED lights to my granddaughter so she isn't afraid of the dark (she thinks it's a great adventure) & she also uses the light when she goes to the bathroom by herself.

---> I'd never trust a candle in a home with kids or pets & all it takes is a small gust of wind to blow a curtain into the flame. Also, unfortunately if you use candles they can leave a thin film of soot on your walls, ceiling & rug. You won't be able to tell you have this thin film of soot unless you can see the 'before' & 'after' affect on a cobweb after a power outage. (Yes! My housekeeping skills could be better!)

* If I ever DO use a candle when the power goes out, I'll ALWAYS put it in a clear Pyrex glass bowl & sometimes I'll put about an inch of water in the bottom for safety. And if you have a pet, never leave the room with the candle in it unattended, not even for a second to go to the bathroom... Blow the candle out & re-light it!

July 13, 20080 found this helpful

I use the led solar lights. I have a battery charger and batteries. I use them for night lights. It costs me about 5 cents a week to recharge them. That way if there is a power outage at night I'm not left in the dark. I also have crank flashlights and a solar charger for back ups. I used a lat of candles because I love them but THEY ARE SO DANGEROUS. I have candles and would use them if there was a very long outage but I prefer the solar lights.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 149 Feedbacks
July 13, 20080 found this helpful

i buy up those tiny key chain push flash lights when on sale for 2 for $1 and put them on narrow ribbons long enough to wear around your neck as long necklace and just put them in differant places throughout the house like tie one to the fan pull or hang on a coat rack, etc. so they are easy to get to. the kids loving having there own so they can see there own way too, while going from spot to spot. they put out a good strong beam when pushed. keep them in your car hanging near your back or front porch etc. dollar tree has them in fun shapes too for kids like fish etc.

By Shari (Guest Post)
July 14, 20080 found this helpful

I was going to suggest the glass chimneys but someone beat me to it ; however, I bought the flashlights, for my entire family , that have a handcrank and 1 minute of cranking provides 30 minutes of excellent light. There are no batteries, or flames, to worry about and you can take them everywhere and they are safe for even the youngest child to use.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 167 Feedbacks
August 11, 20080 found this helpful

We have those cheap (but VERY bright) camping flashlights that we use around the house during outages. They're only $3.50 at Wal-Mart, and come with the big battery included! You can't beat the price, or the light output!

September 3, 20080 found this helpful

I found an: AS SEEN ON TV product at our local Walmart store located up near the checkout counters. It's a Cordless Westinghouse StickUp Bulb and it does take 4 "AA" batteries to operate. I purchased four (4) for our home for power outages. With candles being so dangerous, not enough light to see that well with and the lingering smell after putting the candles out....thought I'd give these a try.

Am absolutely THRILLED with how bright and efficient they are! Extremely portable with next to impossible being broken if dropped. Since finding these and using them I won't use anything else. They can also be fastened to a wall, counter, table, etc., but we use ours for going to different rooms of the home as needed during these outages. These are also carried by other stores then Walmart for the same price.

January 10, 20100 found this helpful

We use candles a lot and leave them in pots or bowls to give of lite in some of the main rooms. We leave them on a table and don't walk around with them. Leave them stationary so people can see to get around the main rooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room, use flashlights to roam from place to place.

January 13, 20100 found this helpful

Candles are a major cause of house fires. You can't take your eyes off them, especially if you have pets or children. It's much better to get battery operated items. For night lights I use the battery operated timer candles that go on for 8 hours at the same time every evening. I use them in the bathrooms and one in the living area. That way if there's a power outage in the night, we always have light enough to get to the other battery operated lanterns, etc.

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April 24, 2018

Attach a regular light to a bright colored Gatorade or other energy drink to amplify it as an impromptu lantern. This is a page about making a emergency light from a sports drink.

A sports drink with a light behind it, making a lantern.

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