Till tomorrow, my sweets…..

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How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

Are the cold temperatures starting to make you cringe when you go outside? Your pets are likely cringing too. Winter is a time to give your animal friends some extra care and attention to keep the cold at bay. The following tips can help everyone stay safe and warm during the cold season.

DRESS THEM UP

This is vital if your pet has particularly short hair. Many breeds and species of pets are from warmer parts of the globe, and they’re simply not equipped to handle the cold. Freezing temperatures can be fatal. Consider pet sweaters, jackets or booties to keep your loved one warm during trips outside.

However, if your pet has long fur or is clearly tolerant of cold temperatures, such as huskies, it may be fine to leave them undressed. Watch them closely for any signs of being too cold, such as reddened skin, shivering or cracked paws. If you see any of these, cover them up next time they go out.

KEEP YOUR PET DRY

Bring a towel with you on walks to periodically dry your pet’s feet, legs and tummy as you go. Also make sure to give them a good rub-down to dry them off when you’re back home. This serves a few purposes. Being wet will physically rob heat from your pet. In addition, their fur can pick up road salt and de-icing chemicals that need to be removed before they lick them off.

LIGHTEN UP ON THE CLIPPERS

Never shave your pet down to their skin during cold times. You can trim especially long-haired pets to keep them tidy and prevent clinging ice balls, but having a good fur coat will help protect them against frigid temperatures.

It’s also helpful to trim any hair between the toes of long-haired pets. This will prevent snow and ice from building up on their paws.

FEED THEM A LITTLE EXTRA

Staying warm takes energy, and it’s normal for animals to burn more calories during winter. If your pet doesn’t spend much time outside, this likely won’t be an issue for them. But, if they really enjoy long runs outside during winter, pay attention to how much food they’re eating. If they wolf down their usual serving of food and ask for more, it’s very likely they need it.

SKIP THE BATH

Don’t bathe your pets as often during the winter. Wet fur takes longer to dry in the cold, which can chill your pet even more. And bathing can deplete their natural oils and cause dry, flaky skin, which is also made worse by cold temperatures. If they do need a bath, get a moisturizing shampoo recommended by your vet.

PREVENT POISONING

Use booties or rub petroleum jelly onto your pet’s paws before heading outside. Not only will these help against the cold, they will also provide an extra layer against salt and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Remember winter can be hard on your car, too. Keep an eye out for new spots or leaks underneath your vehicle and clean them up as soon as possible. Spilled antifreeze, oil, or other fluids can be toxic to pets if they lick them or get them on their paws or fur.

STAY INSIDE

Many pets still love time outside during cold spells, but stay aware of how long they’ve been out. Whether they’re with you or alone, keep their outings short unless you know they’re alright staying out for a while. And don’t ever leave your pet alone in a cold car. A car can act like a refrigerator and hold in the cold, which puts your pet in serious danger.

Try to spend some extra time indoors with your companions and find activities to keep them moving so they still get their needed exercise. If they live outside permanently, make sure they have good shelter to sleep in for the night, and add an extra blanket to their sleeping space. And, of course, give them lots of extra snuggles. This has the added benefit of keeping you warm, too.

 

–Care2.com

Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING, FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • Stay off roads.
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly.
  • Prepare for power outages.
  • Use generators outside only and away from windows.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Check on neighbors.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WINTER STORM THREATENS:

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
  • Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
  • Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.

Survive DURING

  • Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND

  • Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
    • Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
    • Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
  • Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
    • Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness
    • Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

Associated Content

THE JOYS OF BLIZZARDS

 

THE JOYS OF BLIZZARDS

But first, let me dispense with the caveats: There’s a lot to love, if you don’t have to travel by car or plane, you have a safe, secure home with emergency provisions for water, heat, light, food, and means of communicating with the rest of the world in case of a power outage.

We’re in the final hours of the appropriately named storm, Hercules, which dropped more than a foot of snow in a 24-hour period, during which the temperature didn’t rise much above zero, and often dipped way below. We’d half-filled the bathtub, readied the rechargeable flashlights, positioned the kerosene lamps, brought in the shovels, and filled the wood boxes.

So now, a few blizzard joys:

Exercise
Around my place, a blizzard demands exercise (aka physical labor), and a lot of it. We all need exercise for physical and psychological well-being. Why not do it simultaneously with productive work?

First, there’s hauling armloads of firewood in and buckets of ashes out from the two stoves that keep us warm and cook our food.

Then there’s the shoveling and roof-raking. We hire a guy to plow the driveway, but we have a lot of hand-shoveling to clear pathways to and from the chicken coop, the woodshed, and the tool shed/garage. We have to rake the greenhouse roof, then shovel around the base to prevent the snow that slides off our pitched roof from building up above the greenhouse glazing and blocking the sun. During a big snowstorm, we typically gear up to shovel every couple of hours to keep from having to handle the entire load when the storm is over.

Then there’s the snowshoeing, which has been called floating on snow and walking on water. Breaking trail and trekking uphill to the compost pile carrying a 5-gallon bucket of kitchen scraps counts as one short bout of hard work. But snowshoeing lets you play outside during and after a blizzard, when walking or running aren’t possible. An hour of it can burn more than 1000 calories (especially breaking trail while going uphill in deep, fluffy powder). Add trekking poles to the jaunt, and you have full-body muscle work at its finest. Best of all for me: it’s so exhilarating, it never really feels like “exercise.”

Silence & Sound
Blizzard conditions keep most people off the roads and muffle the sounds of vehicles that do pass by. Deep snow keeps the sounds of the industrial world at a distance. When I walk around outside, the natural world feels deeper, more peaceful.

And yet, blizzards compose their own orchestral works from the falls and crescendos of wind, the creaks and groans of frozen trees, the crash and crackle of ice formations on trees and buildings. In the white world on snowshoes, my own sounds embrace me: the crunch, thud and crackle of my shoes and poles, my heavy breathing.

Wildlife signs
Ascending the hill behind my house or tromping through the adjacent woods in fresh snow after a blizzard, I discover all sorts of mammal tracks. Over the years, I’ve seen the tracks of rodents (squirrels, mice, rats, and porcupines) to hares, weasels, fishers, white-tailed deer, coyotes, foxes, bears, turkeys, and moose. It’s thrilling to share these landscapes with so many fellow creatures, most of which I rarely see during the winter.

Fertilizer “Poor man’s fertilizer”? Not really. (Snow may deliver a little nitrogen and not much else that’s beneficial to the garden beds, although it does efficiently scavenge and concentrate environmental pollutants. Not much joy in that fact.)

But deep snow does provide insulating cover for many susceptible woody plants. Below-zero temperatures kill many overwintering insect pests (though probably not disease-causing ticks). And of course, the spring snowmelt recharges our underground aquifers and provides essential moisture for our crops.

Indoor Many blizzards bring power outages, which can last hours or even days. We’re always fairly well-prepared: woodboxes filled, bathtub half-filled with water for toilet flushing, stockpots filled with drinking water, plenty of food (including canned and dried emergency rations), kerosene lamps and battery-powered flashlights at the ready.

An outage forces us to go dark. It not only shuts off the lights and the water pump, but keeps us from watching TV and doing all the things we do on electronic media.

During the last outage, we played Bananagrams for several hours by the light of three kerosene lamps, until our brains tired of the exertion of making words. It was fun, and it kept our minds occupied with something other than anxiety.

Carl Sandburg wrote, Let a joy keep you. I think he’d have embraced the idea of blizzard joy.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, and ideas to make your home a healthy, safe haven. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

POWER OUTAGES: WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER AN OUTAGE

 

POWER OUTAGES: WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER AN OUTAGE

TIPS FOR SURVIVING A POWER OUTAGE
What should you do in case of a power outage? Having survived many power outages, here are some of our best survival tips—before, during, and after a power outage.

Tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, and extreme weather events can easily knock out power in your home. But even an animal or too many A/C units on the power grid can cause a power outage.

Deal first with the biggest safety issues: bringing light to the dark, staying warm and dry, and providing food to yourself and your family.

HOW TO HAVE LIGHT IN A POWER OUTAGE

  • It’s best to use flashlights or battery-powered (LED) lanterns to use in case of a power outage rather than candles to prevent accidental fires. Attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your flashlights to make them easy to find.
  • Headlamps are very helpful for every family member. These enable you to have both hands free to do tasks, and family members can be more independent. You can even read a book in bed while wearing one. Stock up on straps, too, to strap the headlamp to a gallon of water. By strapping the headlamp onto the jug with the lamp’s front facing the inside, the light reflects off of the water and can illuminate more of the room.
  • Avoid using candles or an open flame as a light source, as it could be a fire hazard, particularly if there are children or pets in the home. While romantic, they can tip over too easily in an emergency situation. However, if this is all you have on hand, just be careful not to leave candles or fuel-lit lamps unattended. Use secure candle holders. Empty food cans half-filled with sand work great. Be sure to also have a supply of lighters or matches to light your candles with.
  • Your cell phone could be used for light—for as long as the battery lasts. Drastically increase your battery life by plugging your phone into a portable USB battery pack.

 

HOW TO STAY WARM IN A POWER OUTAGE

  • Select one room in which people—and pets—can spend most of their time together. Pick a room with few or no windows on the south side for maximum heat during the day and layer up with warm clothing.
  • Drape all windows with blankets, comforters, or quilts. Uncover south-facing windows during the day to let in the Sun’s warmth.
  • Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Make a list (in advance) of shelters and hotels that allow pets, in case you need to evacuate with yours.

COOKING AND EATING WITHOUT POWER

  • Open your refrigerator or freezer door only when absolutely necessary. Plan ahead to minimize the time the door is open.
  • If the door stays closed, a refrigerator without power will keep food safe for four hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours (or 24 hours if half full). Store food outside if the temperature is cold enough (40 degrees or less). Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
  • Keep ice packs in your freezer for use in coolers or your refrigerator in case of an outage.
  • Eat foods you are know are safe from spoiling. Good examples are canned foods, such as vegetables, beans, and soups.
  • If you have one, cook on your woodstove. Heat canned soup and boil water for tea and instant coffee.
  • Have potluck dinners with your neighbors and take turns hosting. You’ll be eating better and getting to know your neighbors at the same time.
  • If the weather allows, cook on your outdoor grill—but only outdoors. Due to the possibility of fumes and fire, never use an outdoor grill indoors. Here are a few great recipes and tips for the grill.
  • If it’s cold enough outside, fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put them outside to freeze solid. Put these jugs into coolers, which can serve as temporary refrigerators for food supplies.

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR WATER

  • When extreme weather threatens, fill up your bathtub with water (for washing and flushing). Note: If you expect temperatures to drop below freezing in your house, avoid filling up the tub, as you could end up with a frozen (and cracked) bathtub.
  • In cold climates, pack fresh snow in buckets and bring indoors to melt.
  • In winter, keep pipes from freezing by turning on a slow trickle of water. Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them with layers of newspapers and then plastic wrap. See more tips for preventing frozen pipes.

YOUR CAR

  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full! Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Never drive across power lines outside. Never!
  • To avoid damage from falling branches, plan ahead and don’t park your cars under trees. If possible, remove any potentially hazardous or weak-looking branches well ahead of storms.

GENERATOR TIPS

  • The best way to get through a power outage is to avoid it altogether. Investing in a home generator can save you a lot of time and stress during emergency outages, as it can keep your heat and light running when you really need it.
  • However, NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

TECH TIPS

  • Today, we also rely on technology for communication and safety. Keep cell phones charged.
  • If the power is out, dim the brightness of your phone and turn off wifi to save battery life. Also switch your battery to low power mode under settings.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices.
  • We also recommend a surge protector to safeguards electronics from the harmful effects of power surges and voltage spikes. A power surge is a spike in the electrical current flowing through the wires of your house. They can damage common appliances, sensitive AV electronics, and computer equipment.

WHAT TO DO AFTER A POWER OUTAGE

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out any perishable foods that have been exposed to temperatures above 40°F for more than two hours. If you’re unsure whether something is still good, it’s better to just throw the item out and not risk becoming ill.
  • Make sure you’ve put out any candles and kerosene lamps you used during the outage. These can be a fire hazard when left unattended.

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments.

FROZEN PIPES: HOW TO KEEP PIPES FROM FREEZING

 

FROZEN PIPES: HOW TO KEEP PIPES FROM FREEZING

HOW TO THAW FROZEN PIPES AND WHAT TO DO WHEN PIPES FREEZE

Frozen pipes are one of the most distressing problems a homeowner can encounter. Here’s how to prevent pipes from freezing and how to thaw frozen pipes.

Freezing can create leaks as the frozen water expands and cracks the copper tubing. When this happens, not only will you have little to no water supply, but when the pipes do thaw out, you can have some serious leaks to repair—or worse.

HOW TO PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING

Prevention is key! Here are some tips:

  • Keep all water-supply piping away from outside walls, where it could be exposed to cold winter weather.
  • If it is imperative to have pipes located on an outside wall, they must be well-insulated. Piping insulation is sold in both rubber and fiberglass.
  • Insulate pipes in all other unheated areas as well, such as crawl spaces, basement, attic, and garage. Fix the source of any drafts (such as near cables, dryer vents, bathroom fan vents, windows) and insulate pipes at risk.
  • Before winter, close the water shut-off valve inside your home that provides water to outside spigots, and then drain each line by opening its spigot until it no longer drips. Close the spigot.

HOW TO KEEP PIPES FROM FREEZING IN SUBFREEZING TEMPERATURES

When subfreezing temperatures hit, it’s good to be prepared.

  • Keep garage doors and outside doors closed, and plug up drafts.
  • Open all faucets, both hot and cold water, to just a trickle, to keep water moving in the pipes to help to prevent icing.
  • Set the thermostat to at least 55ºF (13°C) both day and night—no lower. Higher is even better, especially if your home is not well-insulated.
  • Keep doors to all rooms open to allow heat to flow to all areas, which helps to warm the pipes in the walls.
  • Open the cabinets under the kitchen and bathroom sinks so that the warmer air temperature of each room can flow around the plumbing. (Be sure to keep cleaners and other hazardous chemicals away from children and pets.)
  • Check your local forecast to see if you’ll be having subfreezing temperatures sometime soon.

WHEN PIPES FREEZE: HOW TO THAW FROZEN PIPES

If worst comes to worst and your pipes do freeze, here’s what to do:

  • If no water comes out of a faucet, or it comes out slowly, suspect a frozen pipe. Check all faucets in the house to determine if the situation is widespread. If it is, open all faucets, turn off the main water to the house, and call a plumber.
  • If only one pipe is frozen, turn on the appropriate faucet to help get the water moving in the pipe once it thaws. Locate your nearest water shut-off valve to the break. Don’t turn the water off at this point, unless you find that the pipe has actually burst.
  • Try the hair-dryer trick. Locate the area where the pipe has frozen. Then, starting at the faucet and working backward along the pipe line until you reach the frozen section, work the dryer up and down the pipe. Continue warming the pipe until full water pressure returns to the open faucet. Then reduce the faucet flow to a trickle until the cold snap has ended. Caution: When using a hair dryer, be sure that it and its cord will not be near any water that might start to flow through a crack in a burst pipe.
  • If water starts to gush out of the pipe while you are warming it, unplug the hair dryer and close the nearest water shut-off valve immediately. Keep the faucet open. Call a plumber to fix the burst pipe.
  • If you can not reach a frozen pipe to warm it, call a plumber and shut off the water supply to the pipe. Keep the faucet open.

 

SOURCE:

Parts of this article were originally published in The Home Owner’s Companion, 1997.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON HEATING

 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON HEATING

KEEP YOURSELF WARM WITH THESE TIPS
Everyone wants to save on their heating bill, so find out how to cut heating costs and keep your home warmer in the cold season!

During the chilly months of late fall and winter, no matter what heat source you use—oil, gas, electricity, or wood—you can cut costs by adopting temporary measures to keep the thermostat turned down. Here are some money-saving tips for cutting the cost of cold snaps.

Note: Some of these tips are only appropriate for above-freezing cold snaps and are not advised for subfreezing temperatures.

KEEPING DOWN HEATING COSTS

  • Temporarily close off heat to some rooms by shutting doors. (This requires a heating system that can be controlled room by room.) Shut the doors to unheated closets, the pantry, and the basement and attic.
  • Hang blankets over the windows at night. Tape or thumbtack the sides and bottom of blankets to the walls or windowsills to maximize the insulation value. (Press the tacks or tape under the bottom of the sill and over the top of the frame to hide any damage to the finish.) Remove the coverings on the south side of the house during the day to let in the warming sunlight.
  • Cover cracks around doors and windowsills with rugs, newspaper, towels, or other insulation. Window-sealing kits can be bought at hardware stores, too.
  • Use electric space heaters in living or work areas. These are more efficient than the furnace for localized heating, and they will allow you to set the thermostat lower for the whole house. Always be sure to use space heaters in open areas only.
  • Put on layers. The real trick to staying warm is to dress in layers, so get a few pairs of long underwear and long-sleeve undershirts that you can wear in addition to your regular lounge clothes. Don’t underestimate the heating power of a wool sweater!
  • Drink a warm drink. Though consuming the hot liquid will only warm you marginally, holding a warm mug in your hands can really help!
  • See more tips from our readers in the comments below!

 

–Old Farmer’s Almanac

Since Most of the Country is Going to Have Single Digit Temps, We Are Pulling Tips from the Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

HOW TO KEEP WARM IN WINTER

COLD? PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STAYING WARM

Where I live, winter temperatures are often in the single digits, but no matter where you live, keeping warm is a basic need that we all share.

Here are some tips—from both Almanac editors and readers—about how to stay warm. These aren’t “big” projects like buying a new heating system—just inexpensive, resourceful ways to help you warm up now!

HOW TO KEEP WARM IN WINTER

1. Dress in layers

Bundle up. Wear long underwear, sweaters, and even hats indoors. Remember the days of “sleeping caps”? They make sense! Yes, wear a cap or hat to keep your head warm. If you’re headed outside, cover your face with a scarf.

To avoid getting overheated inside, wear layers. I recommend a “wicking” polyester (or silk) undershirt next to your skin versus cotton. I gave a polyester t-shirt to my father and he keeps talking about the amazing difference as if I had invented sliced bread! Just don’t layer yourself so much that you’re pouring sweat.  The idea is to keep your body warm AND dry.

One reader adds, “I can’t imagine surviving cold weather, inside or out, without a stretchy fleece neck warmer. I have several and I put one on when watching television or reading to avoid turning up the thermostat. Just think about summertime when you are feeling too hot—if you can, you try to cool down by opening your collar. We are using the reverse of that principle here.”

Another idea: Try flannel-lined pants.

2. Keep Your Feet Warm

I highly recommend “house slippers” indoors. I know that it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but having the rubber sole really makes a difference.

And warm socks! One reader says, “I’m from Florida. But when it’s cold, like when we got down to 23 last week, socks are my best friends. A soft, cozy pair worn to bed keeps my feet toasty warm, and as long as my feet are warm, I’m comfortable with the thermostat turned down.”

“Keep changing your socks! Everybody forgets that your feet sweat, and THAT can make you cold even though you are layered up.” Wool socks or “smartwool” keeps your feet from sweating.

For the outdoors, it really helps to insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation again the cold earth.

3. Heat Up Your Bed

Don’t turn up the heat for the entire house. Use an electric blanket. An even cheaper and safer option may be a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. Here’s what other readers say:

  • “Fill your bottle with hot water from the faucet before going to bed and slip it into the foot of the bed between the sheets. By the time you’re ready for bed it’s all nice and toasty at your feet. Believe it or not the water bottle stays warm all night long.”
  • “Use rice! Put the rice in a fleece cover, then warm in the microwave. It will stay warm half the night and keep your toes comfortable.”
  • “I have a water bottle, but better and quicker is to use a large heating pad with an automatic shut-off. Mine shuts off after 30 minutes. I lay the heating pad in the bed and turn it on about 15 minutes before retiring. I turn it off and then on again if I still need a little more heat, but it is usually adequate just turning it on once.”

 

4. Harness the Sun

During the day, open the blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows—and let the Sun warm you. At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home.

One reader adds, “We use roller blinds every night for all windows. Saves a lot of energy in a cheap and easy way.”

5. Keep the Kitchen Cozy

Many readers keep the kitchen humming!

  • “I put a cast iron pot of water with liquid potpourri on the top of our cast iron stove. This increases the humidity in the room and puts a lovely smell in the air.”
  • “Drink lots of yummy hot chocolate!!!!”
  • “Bake something in the oven, either dinner or a dessert (doesn’t have to be fattening but even better if it is).”
  • “A hot cup of tea is great… If you are sick, a hot toddy works wonders. Also, I always have a crock pot of soup going during the cold months.”
  • “Use matches not lighters. It seems silly but if your pilot goes out, your lighter will not work.”

6. Block Drafts

Beyond weather-stripping, which is difficult with old houses, consider these reader tips:

  • “I hang blankets to close off the open stair well going to the second floor, since heat raises it keeps the warm air down stairs when we spend most of our time. I noticed it saves a lot of heating dollars.”
  • “Don’t forget to put something at the bottom of outside doors—you can just feel the cold air pour in. You can buy a fancy roll or just use a blanket or towel.”
  • “I made long round pillows to place against my doors and window sills. I found some scrap pieces of upholstery fabric that are nice and heavy and help keep the drafts out.”
  • “Just like layers of clothing, I put layers at the windows. Between the window and the thermal-backed drapes are the closed venetian blinds and a flannel-backed table cloth. And we hang a blanket over the entire exterior door cause air doesn’t just come in at the bottom.”

7. Stay Active

Get your body moving. At the Almanac, we joke that “one log can heat a house.” Just run up the stairs with the log, throw it out the top window, and repeat three times. You’ll be warm!

Our readers add:

  • “Keep active, this is a good time to clean out closets, garages, etc. Anything to keep active.”
  • “If I get a chill just sitting, I get up and stir around, the movement not only warms me up but also stirs the heat in the house. Children are great when playing, they stir the air around.”
  • “Don’t just sit around. Stay active to keep your blood from ‘thickinin.’ Exercise is good for ya.”

8. Humidify Your Home

Not only does a humidifier keep your house warmer, it also eliminates drying indoor air. As our readers say:

  • “I discovered that when I run my vaporizer (humidifier) in the bedroom, I can turn the heat down a couple extra degrees overnight. In the morning, I raise the heat by about 2 degrees at a time instead of making the furnace work hard to raise it all at once.”
  • “I keep coffee cans lined with large baggies with water in them, around the vents to add humidity to the house, and this works great. I lined the coffee cans so they would not rust.”
  • “I put a waterbath canner full of water on the stove (lasts all night).”

If you don’t have a humidifier, here’s another idea: When you take a bath in winter, leave the water in the tub after you get out. If you let it sit until it reaches room temperature, it will add a little warmth to the house and help humidify it, too!

9. More Ideas

Here’s a new one! “I live five miles from the Canadian border in the St Lawrence region—icebox country! To stay warm INEXPENSIVELY, recycle old panty hose that have runs or snags. This layer next to the bottom, legs, and toes—with slacks over top—keeps me toasty. For guys like Joe Namath too!!”

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments.