Facing the Cold: What You Can Do To Stay Warm Inside

The country is facing a huge polar vortex, and it’s no doubt sub-zero temperatures are making us cringe.  There are several things that you can do to fight the cold within your house.  For starters, keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night.  Check your furnace filter to make sure that it is clean.  If it’s older, exchange it for a new one and give your furnace a much needed break from working hard!  If you chose not to use your fireplace this season, make sure you close the damper.  This will decrease the amount of cool air escaping into your house and keep it outside where it belongs.  If any of your pipes are susceptible to freezing, let warm water trickle from the sink.  Make sure to open the cabinet door underneath the sink so that warm air can directly reach the pipes.  Should a pipe freeze, place a portable heater nearby or use a hair dryer to help thaw it out.

Older windows tend to be a source of cool air entering your house.  While replacing those windows for newer energy efficient ones is the best option, there are other viable solutions for an immediate remedy to unwanted air.  You can purchase a window insulating shrink film kit from your local hardware store.  It will include everything you need to block the cold air from entering your windows.  If you have bubble wrap on hand, cut a sheet to match the dimension of your window.  Spray a light layer of moisture onto the window and then place the bubble wrap against the window.  This will serve as an insulating barrier until you are ready to welcome the warm sunshine back into your room.  You can also consider purchasing thermal backed curtains.  These will usually block pesky, unwanted light and reduce the amount of cold air that enters.  You can also close the blinds on your windows and pull curtains shut tight during the evening.  Make sure you open them back up when it’s sunny outside though; natural sunlight will help to warm your living space.

There are other little things you can do to help warm your house as well.  The obvious is to operate a portable heater while home.  Make sure the heater isn’t left unattended, as this can be a fire hazard.  If you find yourself a creature of habit that occupies the same room during your down time, use this to your advantage!  Close the vents to any unused rooms inside your house.  Shut the interior door to the room as well, placing a towel at the bottom to keep cooler air inside the unused room. 

Nothing will warm your body temperature up like a little moderate housework!  If your stove is dirty, run the self-cleaning option.  Not only will you naturally provide extra heat in your kitchen, but your stove will be shiny and clean!  Make sure you never operate your stove and leave the door open as a source of heat to your home though.  Toxic fumes create a hazardous situation that is not advisable.  If your laundry is starting to pile up, a cold night is the perfect time to wash a load and run it through the dryer.  Your house will smell like fabric softener, but more importantly your dryer will provide an additional source of heat to your home.  Lastly, grab an electric blanket and snuggle with a loved one!  Your children and pets will appreciate snuggling as well.  Remember, young children, senior adults and pets should avoid being outside in extreme weather.

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