At the time of this writing we are in a record-breaking cold spell in Oregon. Down into the single digits and it isn't even "winter" yet and we live at the confluence of the Willamette and Tualatin Valleys where the weather, historically, is mild.
Not this year! So much for global warming! (Global warming, as presented by Al Gore, never was a science or even scientific).
But on a graduate school budget, how to heat the home? And what about emergency light?
Well, we do have an oil lamp, one of those old-timey things with the wicks? Those burn BRIGHT and long and are very good at producing heat. However, the oil for them, on an ongoing basis is pretty spendy when the temperature drops into the single digits and you got the government deliberately driving up the price of electricity in order to "fundamentally transform America yes we can!" you got some decisions to make.
One is, I wear fuzzy slippers to keep my feet warm, doesn't cost anything to keep going and I wear a sweater, and that's just lovely. Though still, what to do about being able to see my breath in the air as I'm going to the kitchen to thaw out some meat for cooking by putting it in the freezer because that's warmer than the rest of the house?
One thing I do is I burn candles that make my house smell like a bakery, but even those don't burn nearly as long as I would like though they do produce some heat.
I heard about the flower pot idea of putting a flower pot over a candle to heat your home more efficiently because supposedly the flame heats the pot and that heats the air more efficiently. But the laws of thermodynamics say that we lose energy heating the pot instead of the air and restricting the flow of the heated air - it doesn't work. It is folly. I tried it and - it doesn't work. If you see it on facebook, point it out that it doesn't work. You can't get more heat/energy out of a system than you put into it and it isn't more efficient with the air flow than a candle just wafting heat upward as fast as it can go.
So, I heard about this - a crisco candle. Why not? If it doesn't work, jar of Crisco for cooking!!
I took an emergency candle and stuck it in the Crisco so the wick was sticking out and lit it. I put it in the bathroom which is on the corner of the house where we lose a TON of heat. It has been burning for 2 days now.
Slowest. Burning. Candle. Ever. Probably the most efficient I've ever seen.
There is no odor, no smoke, no smell, just nice little warm ambient light.
I've read that these last 45 days or so. For as slow as this is burning, I wouldn't be surprised. But it does work!
And, oh! Best of all? The bathroom is warmer and so is the house. Seriously. Major difference.
I suppose you could put a wick in it, but I just jammed a candle down the center and figured as it burned it would burn the Crisco as well and would last longer. Sure enough by golly, it works!
So for your emergency preparedness? Maybe add Crisco and candles and matches as well as an oil lamp.
(ADD Tangent: Oh, BTW? Just a safety tip? The oil lamps are never meant to operate without the glass crystal on them housing the flame. That glass crystal - the flue or chimney like thing - is what cools the lamp. Without it, you can crack the base and make your lamp explode. Important safety tip everyone.)