Staying Warm & Protecting Your Home In Winter

Here in Maryland, temperatures are well below freezing today. And with a wind chill below zero, you may be finding it hard to get and stay warm. Staying warm is important not only for our comfort, but also for our health. Here are some tips for staying warm (and protect your home) when temperatures are dropping outside.

For you:
  • Layer up! This one speaks for itself.
  • Two words: Heated. Blankets.
  • Cut down on alcohol and nicotine. While they may initially make you feel warmer, they are actually causing heat to leave your body.
  • Get warm from the inside out. Hot soup, hot chocolate, hot tea…. Whatever floats your boat! A warm drink will raise your internal body temperature quicker than turning up the thermostat. (Side note: spicy foods are said to have a similar effect!)
  • Finish your shower with cold water. Although hot water will warm you up, once you leave the shower, you will go back to feeling cold. Ending your shower with cold water will get your blood circulating which will help you feel warmer and avoid the shock of going from one extreme to another. Another perk – cold showers also help strengthen your immune system!
For Your Home:
  • Make use of your ceiling fan. You read that right! Most ceiling fans have a cold weather setting, which spins clockwise, moving the cool air up to the ceiling and warm air downward.
  • Open the faucets in your home to a very slow drip. You may be concerned about wasting water, but it’s not much, and keeping the faucets open relieves pressure in the pipes, preventing them from freezing.
  • Install foam pipe insulation. It is inexpensive, easy to apply, and available at all hardware stores.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks (and wherever pipes are exposed – especially on exterior walls) to allow heat easier access to pipes, and help prevent freezing.
  • Make sure the outside water hose is no longer connected to the water line. If it is, the frigid temperature can cause the water and hose to freeze.
  • Roll up a long towel or two and shove them into, or in front of, the open space under your door. This will keep the heat from escaping as easily.
  • If your windows seem to be letting extra cold air in, invest in a window insulator kit. They are very inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found at any hardware store.
  • Cover windows with light blankets to block the cold air from entering.
  • Use a humidifier. The most effective option is to have one installed in conjunction with your heating and cooling system; but you can also use a stand alone unit. In winter, the air is much dryer. Without that necessary moisture, our skin dries out much easier, as does the mucous in our bodies, making it harder to stave off infections. In addition, with less moisture, the air feels much colder than it is. Adding humidity back into the air will help your home feel much more comfortable. Bonus: Static electricity can be caused when the air is too dry. Increase the humidity levels, and you will reduce that static shock!
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