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Don’t do this when it’s cold outside

Old man winter sets the temps that challenge
Old man winter sets the temps that challenge
Franz Josef Glacier, freedigitalphotos.net

Don’t do this when it’s cold outside

1. Wood burning fire, stop! A crackling fire may add to the aesthetic but it does nothing much to heat your room. Not to mention, but the open flue sucks most of the warm air up and out the chimney. If the temperature slides into the 20s, a wood burning fire in the fireplace can increase your heating bills.

2. Keep the thermostat level. You’ve come in and the house is cold, cranking it up to 90 degrees doesn’t warm up a house any faster than setting it at 71 or 72.

3. Keep the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fan use to a minimum. Flipping them on to clear smoke in the kitchen or steam in the bathroom is one thing, but once the air clears, shut it off. These types of fixtures actually pull warm, heated air from your home.

4. Turn the space heater off when you leave the house. A cold room when you return, so be it. Portable heaters have been known to topple over and start fires. What if it overheats? You won’t be there to see it.

5. Use your ceiling fans. It may seem counter-intuitive but ceiling fans save energy in the winter too. The only thing you need to do is reverse the direction of the blades. Heat rises, so in winter, you want the blades to blown hot air down into the room.

6. Keep your fridge moderately arranged. We all stuff the refrigerators with holiday leftovers and squeeze everything we can onto shelves. The air inside won’t circulate and the compressor in the appliance has to work harder to shoot the air up, over, and around the items inside.

7. Don’t close your blinds. Let the sun shine in to warm up the room during the day; close blinds and curtains only after dark.

8. If you go away on extended vacation, do not turn the furnace completely off. Set the thermostat to 55 degrees or so to help prevent the unheated pipes in the house from freezing or worst yet, bursting.

9. Don’t use propane patio heaters or barbecue grills inside, even if your central system is out, or on the fritz. The chance of carbon monoxide poisoning is too great and you don’t want to expose your family to noxious fumes.

10. Unused rooms should remain open. When you close them off, you are restricting the air flow that helps to keep your home heating evenly. Cutting off that flow means the heater runs longer and will work harder to maintain a consistent temperature.

Resource: Arkansas Living, January 2014; volume LXVII, Number 3.

Fun Trivia

  • All snowflakes have six sides.
  • A fear of snow is called “chionophobia”.
  • A person loses most of their body heat from the top of their head so when it is cold, wear a cap or hat.
  • Temperatures that drop below zero rarely see snow because the atmosphere is too stable.
  • It takes thirteen inches of snow to equal about an inch of rain in the U.S., on average.