Cold weather is back again, so it’s time to take out the winter gear to stay warm and safe.
It’s easy enough to remember the basics like hats and gloves. But, did you know that there are many other ways to stay warm and toasty all winter long?
Here are great ways on how to keep yourself, your pets, and your home warm and safe during our long winter months.
- Wear three layers! First, wear an under-layer, such as a thermal shirt and leggings. Then your usual clothing acts as the middle layer. Finally, the outer layer should be a waterproof jacket (see below). This will help you stay warm without wearing bulky sweaters!
- Waterproof outer layers are important. It’s no fun getting wet in the snow when all you want to do is enjoy the outdoor activities. A waterproof jacket will help you stay dry and therefore warm!
- Accessorize! Keeping your head, neck and fingers warm will protect you from frostbite and other skin damage from cold temperatures. If you on’t want to wear a ski mask, you can always pull your scarf up to cover your nose and mouth.
- Nobody wants to walk around in cold, soggy socks and boots. Keep your toes warm and dry by doubling up on your socks and wearing insulated, waterproof boots.
- Use hand and feet warmers. These toasty packets add extra heat just by holding them in your hands, placing them in your pockets, or attaching them to your socks.
- When in doubt, have a beverage! When the temperature outside is freezing and you’re stuck inside, stay warm by having a nice cup of tea, cocoa, or any other hot beverage of your choice! Just limit alcohol, as it can lower your body temperature!
For those of us that are pet parents, keeping our pets safe from the cold is our number one priority!
- Just like humans, dogs and cats are also prone to frostbite and hypothermia. Limit the time of outdoor play in extreme cold temperatures.
- When going for walks or playing outdoors with your dog, protect their paws by putting dog boots on them. The boots will keep their paws warm and protect them from snow, ice, and even de-icing salt on the sidewalk. To see pet-friendly ice melt options, see here!
- Put a jacket on your dog to help keep them warm, and dry, too!
- If your dog prefers to go outside with no protective gear, then be sure to dry their paws and their body with a towel when they come back inside!
Your Technology & Auto
- When it is extremely cold the battery tends to drain faster than normal. Other components of a cellphone such as the LCD screen is sensitive to the cold, too. According to Apple, the lowest, optimal temperature iPhones can operate is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Just by keeping your phone in your pocket, you can help it stay warm with your body heat. A phone case will also help it from getting too cold.
- If the phone does shut down, give it some time to warm back up. Restarting the phone immediately will cause more damage to the battery and shorten its lifespan.
- Always remember to keep your cellphone with you and never leave them in a place where it can get too cold- like your parked car!
Warming up your car
It is always nice to step into a car that is already warm when it’s time to head out. But, how long should we be warming up our cars?
- Idling for more than five minutes is a waste of fuel and environmentally unfriendly.
- Older cars with carburetors did need more time to warm up and get going. But modern, fuel-injected cars do not need more than 1 to 2 minutes to get the oil and engine to warm up and be ready to go!
Keeping your home warm and functioning properly is also important during cold, winter months especially when there are many days with temperatures dropping down to below zero. Here are some ways to help you keep your home warm and cozy:
- Use a draft stopper at the base of the doors that lead to the outside. This will keep the cold air our while retaining heat inside your home.
- If you’re into DIY projects, you can make your own by using a pool noodle: First, cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise then put the pieces in a pillowcase or other fabric of your choice. Secure the noodle and covering with a safety pin. Slide it under a door and this should stop the draft.
- Insulate your windows with an indoor window insulator kit from your local hardware store. This clear shrink film attaches to the indoor window frame.
- Another option to prevent window draft is using insulated curtains which are thicker, lined fabrics designed to keep the cold air out and the warm air inside.
- Although it’s not your first thought, ceiling fans can help us stay warm too! Switch the fan to rotate clockwise in the low speed setting. Naturally, warm air rises. The fan pushes warm air back down towards the floor to help keep your room cozy.
- According to the US Department of Energy, the ideal thermostat setting is at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 66 degrees Fahrenheit at night. With a programmable thermostat, you can set your hear to come on at a pre-set schedule. This will keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re home but lower when you’re asleep and away.
And most importantly…
Protect Your Pipes!
As the temperature plummets to below zero the most common concern everyone has is their pipes freezing.
Here are some simple ways to prevent the pipes from freezing and avoid potential damages from bursting pipes:
- Trickle warm water from a faucet that is on the outside wall.
- Set your thermostat at constant temperature during the day and at night.
- Keep your cabinet doors open to help the pipes remain at room temperature.
Whatever you do, stay safe during the cold weather!