As the year draws to an end and temperatures drop keeping warm is a major concern, there are several ways we keep our homes warm in the winter months with some being more efficient than others.
Most homes today use highly efficient central heating systems, usually gas powered connected to the national grid or oil powered from an external tank in more remote locations rather than the open fireplaces of older properties.
Open fires look amazing but are relatively poor in terms of efficiency with the majority of the heat disappearing up the chimney and when not in use they suck warm air out of your home reducing the effectiveness of any insulation you may have in place.
Where a fire and chimney is located also has a great effect on its efficiency, when it was the common way to heat properties the fire place and chimney would be central to the building to get maximum thermal benefit from the heat radiating from the chimney bricks that act as a storage heater when the fire is out for a short period.
This is something you should consider when buying or building a home and if SHTF and you're looking for a location to set up in you should be looking for homes with fireplaces that are centrally placed.
My home has gas central heating and had an open fireplace that I replaced with a modern multifuel burning stove, it all but eliminates the draught of an unused fireplace and gives me a second means to heat our home should the gas system or supply fail.
I have seen online articles claiming its possible to heat a room at very little cost with just a couple of tea light candles and some ceramic pots, this theory isn't just wrong as it ignores the first law of thermodynamics its also very dangerous as I show in this video
There are portable gas heaters and electric heaters of various types that in a grid down situation can be powered by small generators that are effective, and much safer, if your property doesn't have a chimney or ability to add one.
Whatever you do always ensure that you have carbon monoxide (CO) detecting alarm as all combustion releases this toxic gas that is odorless so we cannot sense it before fatal concentrations are built up in an enclosed space.