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    Coping with the Cold

    Coping with the Cold

    Once again most of the country is engulfed by freezing temperatures.  Some days this week many places will have a high temperature below 0 degrees, in this weather we spend very little time outside.  Although, we all might want to stay inside a climate-controlled building, we are not always able too.  Going back and forth between our home and office as well as some jobs forces us to remain outside during these less than ideal temperatures.   It is important we prepare for this weather and make sure we are as prepared as possible to survive the freezing cold.


    Wearing the Right Clothing

    Our first defense against the cold is the clothing we wear.  When the temperature gets this cold it is important that we dress for function before fashion.  The current style is lightweight jackets that unfortunately do not keep you that warm.   So it might be time to break out the thick out of date jacket or sport style ski coat.  It does not matter that they might not be the latest trend, they keep you warm and that is what matters most.  There is also much more to staying warm then wearing the right piece of outerwear.  Staying warm in cold conditions starts with the right base layers, if you are going to spend some time outside, be prepared for it.  Break out the long underwear or the cold weather compression shirt and tights.  These products are designed to combat the cold and there is no sense leaving them behind this week.  After you have the correct base layers on you can put on the appropriate style of clothing, just make sure it has long sleeves.  Furthermore, it is important to think about socks, hats, and gloves.  Wearing the right accessories can make a huge difference when outside.  Finally make sure you have the right footwear.  Some sort of boot or waterproof shoe is preferred when the weather is this bad outside.


    Inspecting the House

    How efficient is your home at retaining heat?  Now is the time to check and to do something about it. Poorly sealed doors and windows can let the heat out and make your home much colder.  In addition this inefficiency can lead to much higher utility costs.  When your home loses heat, your furnace runs for longer and wastes energy that you must pay for.  The best way to find poorly insulated areas is during the cold weather.  All you need to do is walk by every door and window and feel the edges.  If you feel cold air rushing in you should address the issue.  There are a number of different weather strip and sealant products out there that can be found at your local hardware store.   One of the best parts about improving your houses insulation is it also is a benefit in the summer time.   Cold air rushes out of your home during the summer which can force your air conditioning unit to have to over work as well.  So make sure to find the poorly insulated areas of your house and address them sooner than later.

    Inspecting Pipes and Knowing Their Limits

    When temperatures get this cold water tends to freeze everywhere including the pipes that deliver it to your home.  Freezing pipes is a huge problem for a number of reasons.  First it stops the flow of water to your home.  Most of us are spoiled by having great running water all of the time.  It runs everything in our homes from our toilets, to our appliances, to our showers, and even runs us. Most of us do not even think about how important have working water really is.  When pipes freeze and stop water from flowing to us it essentially makes our houses unlivable.  In addition, water freezes when it expands which could lead to damage to the pipes.  Allowing our pipes to freeze can cause serious damage that is expensive to fix.  The best ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure our pipes are properly insulated.  If you have a pipe exposed to the cold make sure to wrap it in insulation and consider electrically heating them as well.  Most hardware stores will sell an inexpensive cable that you can wrap a pipe with and cover to prevent freezing.  The other way to ensure a steady flow of water is to leave a sink running with a little flow of water.  Moving water creates energy and this energy prevents it from freezing.  So, if you are worried your water pipes might freeze, leave a sink dripping, it might waste a little water, but it can prevent major problems. 


    Be Prepared for Ice

    One of the most dangerous things that the cold brings is ice.  Ice can cover our cars, the roads, and can make taking a simple step a hazard.  The best defense against ice is understanding it is out there and expecting it.  This means treating roads, sidewalks, and entrance ways with ice melting salts or other chemicals to prevent ice from forming.  It means leaving for work a little early in order to give our cars times to defrost and melt whatever ice is on its windows.  Finally, it means being careful.  There are many ways to deal with icy conditions.  They make things that attach to your shows to grip ice better.   We might also decide to stay inside or only going to shopping plazas with heated sidewalks.  There is no right or wrong way to prepare for icy conditions, what matters is that we are aware of them and deal with them accordingly. 


    Do not Make Unnecessary Trips

    One of the best ways to prevent accidents caused by freezing cold is to avoid unnecessary trips.  When it is cold outside it is best not to run around too much and to make every journey count.   This means being prepared by going to the store and taking care of things efficiently.  When freezing cold weather is forecast make a shopping list and ensure you have all the food, water, and other supplies you might need for a few days.  Make a list and only make the trips that are necessary.   The best way to avoid dangerous situations is to not put yourself in a bad situation.  So it is okay to postpone a dinner party or a simple date to another day when going outside is safer.  The weather should not run your life but you should make good decisions based on the conditions.   Finally, if you hear about local road closings or businesses being shut down by the cold weather that is a sign that you shouldn’t go out.  Companies do not close unless they think there is a real danger for its staff and customers.   So do not look for an alternative if the restaurant you made a reservation at is closing early.  Take it as a sign that the meal is best rescheduled for another time.


    We never want weather conditions to dictate our lives; however, it would be ignorant to ignore the dangers that cold weather brings with it.  The best way to deal with freezing temperatures is to be prepared and understand what complications they cause.  Make good decisions and remember that being safe is the most important thing.  Stay warm and make sure to enjoy winter.  Soon enough everyone will be complaining about high temperatures and heat waves.