Here Are Some Helpful Tips to Stay Toasty Warm This Winter season!
Here are some helpful tips to stay toasty warm this winter season!
- Dress in (up to 3) Layers
Layering insulates the body by creating pockets of warm air around it which ensures that it keeps a core temperature of 98.6 °F. According to proper layering etiquette, you should dress in as many as three layers depending on how cold it is, and what you'll be doing outside: a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.
The base layer of clothing is the one that's worn next to your skin. It includes form-fitting clothing (like thermal underwear) that provides warmth and keeps you dry. Clothing made of synthetic materials that move moisture away from skin are best. Avoid wearing cotton when possible since it absorbs moisture and can trap wetness against your skin, making you colder.
The middle layer of clothing is meant to insulate the body by keeping heat in and cold out. Wool, fleece, and polyester sweaters, sweatshirts, pullovers, and long-sleeved tops do this job well.
The outer, or shell, layer of clothing includes pants and a jacket or coat. Ideally, this layer should be waterproof, yet breathable.
- Keep Dry
No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, they won't do you a bit of good unless they remain dry. An umbrella, weather-proof coat, and snow boots can help with this. (Once clothing gets wet, the moisture evaporates from its surface, causing it to cool and you to feel much colder.)
Not only can rain, freezing rain, or snow dampen clothing, but sweating can too. If you find you've layered so well that it's causing you to overheat, you'll want to remove that thermal top or layering tee.
- Wear a Hat, Mittens, Sunglasses
It's said that as much as 70% of the body's heat is lost through the head. Whether or not you believe this cold weather lore, one thing is certain—wearing a hat will help keep you warmer, if for no other reason than you'll have less skin exposed to the elements.
As for the body's extremities (fingers, toes, and feet), take extra care to keep them warm. They're among the first to experience the effects of frostbite. When it comes to the question of gloves vs. mittens, go with the latter. True, mittens are bulkier, but they keep hands warmer by clustering the fingers together.
And don't forget your eyes! While they aren't necessarily in danger of getting cold, having snow on the ground (if there is any) can actually make the sun's UV rays stronger—so throw on some shades!
- Keep Hydrated
While you wouldn't think it, dehydration is a real concern during cold weather. Not only does cold air strip our bodies of moisture because it is drier, but winter winds carry moisture away from the skin's surface through the process of evaporation. What's more, people don't naturally feel as thirsty in winter as they do when the weather is hot.
Drink plenty of water and hot drinks (which offer both hydration and warmth), even if you don't feel thirsty. This will help you stay well hydrated, which makes it easier for you to stay warm. (Being dehydrated makes it harder for the body to concentrate on maintaining a safe core temperature.) One drink you'll want to avoid is alcohol. While a nip or two may give you a "warming" sensation, alcohol actually causes dehydration.
- Keep Moving
The more active you are in cold weather, the more heat your body will generate as a result.
If you do plan to sit or stand outside for long periods of time, wiggle your hands and toes every few minutes to keep the blood (and therefore, heat) circulating in these extremities.
Winter Safety Tips for your Pets!
Winter Safety Tips for your Pets!
Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:
- Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are:
Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
How to Protect Pipes from Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations: Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold-water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much costlier repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Winter Driving Tips
Driving your car while the roads are snowy and icy can be a stressful ordeal. While some vehicles are well-suited for the snow, some are not and require preparation and know-how to keep the car under control.
Get your car serviced regularly. Preventive maintenance is key. Make sure your battery, cooling system, and windshield wipers are in tip-top shape. You'll spend less money servicing your car than you'll spend towing and fixing it if your car gives out while you're on a dark, snowy road.
Buy snow tires or add chains to your existing tires if you live in a very snowy climate. Snow tires have special treads that cut through the snow and allow the vehicle to have better traction. They're also made of a more flexible type of rubber, so that they don't freeze and become hard in cold temperatures. It is best to get snow tires for the drive wheels. For rear-wheel drive, add snow tires to the rear. If your car is equipped with tires that have predominantly thin tread lines, they will clog easily, making steering or getting traction difficult.
- Some all-season tires do not rid themselves of snow properly and become clogged in deep snow. These tires may be unsafe to drive with in extreme conditions.
- Most tire stores will insist on snow tires or studded tires to all four wheels of a front wheel drive vehicle. The rear tires should have adequate or equal traction as the front tires for proper handling and preventing fish tailing, especially when making turns. It isn't critical to have studs on all four ties of a front wheel drive car, but highly recommended so the traction is equal.
Tis the Season For Safety
Tis the Season for Safety
Pretty lights and decorations add to the feel of the holiday season, but if they are not used properly your holidays can go from festive to frightening very quickly. Please see below a few very simple safety tips, which can reduce your risk in your home or business this holiday season.
- Place Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, and heat vents.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic, or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that are not easily broken. Keep all live trees moist - check the water daily.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
- Always extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the house -- designate a person to be in charge of checking and putting out all candles.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains ... away from your stovetop.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Replace batteries at least once a year. Use the test button to check it each month.
After a Winter Storm
After a Winter Storm
Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access to some parts of the community may be limited or roads may be blocked.
Help people who require special assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved.
Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
Check on your animals and ensure that their access to food and water is unimpeded by drifted snow, ice, or other obstacles.
If you are using a portable generator, take precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire.
Identifying & Treating Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening.
Take these steps to avoid frostbite and hypothermia:
Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat.
Take frequent breaks from the cold.
Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear
Frostbite is the freezing of a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes.
Signs of frostbite:
Lack of feeling in the affected area
Skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue)
What to do for frostbite:
- Move the person to a warm place
- Handle the area gently; never rub the affected area
- Warm gently by soaking the affected area in warm water (100–105 degrees F) until it appears red and feels warm
- Loosely bandage the area with dry, sterile dressings
- If the person’s fingers or toes are frostbitten, place dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them separated
- Avoid breaking any blisters
- Do not allow the affected area to refreeze
- Seek professional medical care as soon as possible
Hypothermia is the cooling of the body caused by the failure of the body’s warming system. The goals of first aid are to restore normal body temperature and to care for any conditions while waiting for EMS personnel.
Signs of hypothermia:
Numbness or weakness
Apathy or impaired judgment
Loss of consciousness
What to do for hypothermia:
- CALL 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
- Gently move the person to a warm place
- Monitor breathing and circulation
- Give rescue breathing and CPR if needed
- Remove any wet clothing and dry the person
- Warm the person slowly by wrapping in blankets or by putting dry clothing on the person.
Hot water bottles and chemical hot packs may be used when first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying. Do not warm the person too quickly, such as by immersing him or her in warm water.
Warm the core first (trunk, abdomen), not the extremities (hands, feet).
What happens during a snow storm
Stay Safe During a Winter Storm
- Staying Safe During a Winter Storm or Blizzard
Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
Listen to a local station on battery-powered radio or television or to NOAA Weather Radio for updated emergency information.
Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins.
Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). Lower the thermostat to 65° F (18° C) during the day and to 55° F (13° C) at night. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night.
Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.
- Staying Safe Outside
If you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards: Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat.
Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
Driving in Winter Conditions
Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
Bring enough of the following for each person:
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and wool hats
- Newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Canned fruit, nuts, and high energy snacks (Include a non-electric can opener if necessary)
- Warm broth in a thermos and several bottles of water
- Keep a cell phone or two-way radio with you. Make sure the battery is charged.
- Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person with you.
Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
Before leaving, listen to weather reports for your area and the areas you will be passing through, or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
Be on the lookout for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog, which can make driving very hazardous
- If You Become Stranded
Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
Do light exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long.
If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping. If you are not awakened periodically to increase body temperature and circulation, you can freeze to death.
Huddle together for warmth. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats for added insulation. Layering items will help trap more body heat.
Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Severe cold can cause numbness, making you unaware of possible danger.
Drink fluids to avoid dehydration, which can make you more susceptible to the ill effects of cold and to heart attacks.
Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
How to prepare for a winter storm
To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
- Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit: ?Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
Sand to improve traction.
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
- Download FEMA’s Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at: www.ready.gov/prepare. Free smart phone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
How to save on heating costs
How to Save on Heating Costs
Any season is a good season to save energy costs. With winter approaching, however, it’s even more critical as prices for home heating fuel are as volatile as ever.
The strategies below will help you save energy, save money, and stay comfortable during the cool fall and cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.
If you haven't already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.
Also check out no-cost and low-cost tips to save energy during the spring and summer.
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
- Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
- When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
- If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Find out how to detect air leaks.
- Learn more about air sealing new and existing homes.
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- Find out how to select and apply the appropriate caulk and weatherstripping.Maintain Your Heating Systems
- Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.
- Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
- If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
- Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
- Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
- Lower Your Water Heating Costs
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands. Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.
- Lower Your Holiday Lighting Costs
- Use light-emitting diode -- or "LED" -- holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays. Learn about the advantages and potential cost savings of LED holiday light strings. Find manufacturers and brands of ENERGY STAR® certified decorative light strings.
- Source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips
National Clean out your Refrigerator Day!
National Clean out your Refrigerator Day!
The timing is perfect for this day as Thanksgiving is coming soon. We will need room for all of the upcoming leftovers. This job may be dreaded by many, but it is an important task none the less. Due to our hectic and busy lifestyles, the cleaning of the refrigerator gets neglected, hence the creation of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. There may be a surprise or two found at the back of the shelves. Things are often pushed back as new food is put in the front and gets forgotten.
STEP 1: UNPLUG YOUR REFRIGERATOR
STEP 2: EMPTY ALL CONTENTS
STEP 3: USE A SPONGE, TOOTHBRUSH, AND CLEANING SPRAY TO CLEAN SURFACES
STEP 4: CLEAN DOWN THE EXTERIOR OF THE FRIDGE
STEP 5: RELOAD WITH THE FOOD YOU WANT TO KEEP, DISCARDING EXCESS OR EXPIRED FOOD