Let’s face the cold, hard, inescapable, miserable truth: So far, the winter of 2018 has felt like winter in the coldest, harshest northern regions of Westeros. Stephen King isn’t cruel enough to dream up anything as harsh as what January has already dealt us. If you’re not an avid ice fisherman, this winter has been for the birds, well, the birds not smart enough to fly south months ago.
From ice storms to bomb cyclones to 40-below wind chills, we’ve already seen some of the worst weather heartless Iowa winters have to offer (fingers crossed this winter doesn’t have an 18-inch blizzard in our future). Stay warm, my friends.
“These days the car takes 10 years to warm up,” Marcella Anderson of Dubuque, Iowa said.
And these days, an unprepared home may be going through hell trying to stave off winter’s constant, varied assault of hostile weather conditions. The Washington Post has called this year’s often sub-zero conditions “the mother lode of numbing code.” The U.S. Energy Information Association reports U.S. heating oil prices are up 5 percent in January alone and well above 2016-17 winter energy costs. So how can you keep your house from turning into an Alaskan, ice hut without spending a fortune in heating bills?
- Don’t Leave Space Heaters To Work Alone: Unattended space heaters are potential dynamite in the winter. The National Fire Protection Agency reports space heaters are involved in one in five home fire deaths. Don’t plug space heaters unattended, and especially, don’t leave them on when you’re not home.
- Move Furniture Away From Radiators: Like oil and water, this is a combination that doesn’t mix. Keeping the couch right in front of the radiator is an extremely ineffective way of retaining heat. Keeping radiators free from obstructions is the best way to ensure heat dissipates as much as possible and keeps the house warm, according to This Old House. If the radiator is located below a window, move curtains out of the way.
- Close The Curtains: The show must close on your home’s doorway to winter. When the sun goes down, close the curtains to stop heat from being lost. For thin curtains, hoist a blanket over a curtain rail to improve insulation.
- Closed Doors Equal Warm House: The heating oil company Petro recommends closing doors to create a “pocket of heat” in one room and to lessen the amount of space in your home to heat. Close off rooms not in use, for heat is your home’s most valuable resource during the most bummer weather months on the calendar.
- Get Rugged: Tiled, uninsulated floorboards and hardwood floors are a prescription for a frozen floor surface. Who wants to walk on ice in the morning? To take the freeze out of your cold floors, lay a rug over the icy area. Rugs act as both a heat trap and a cool style that can outlast the winter.
Other winter-proven, time-tested measures to stay warm and cap winter heating bills include dressing in layers inside your home to keep the thermostat lower, changing out old light bulbs for LEDs and weather-proofing windows (it’s never too late, especially when there’s another polar temperature plunge around the corner)
The winter of 2018 may feel like a long, cold prison sentence, but there’s no reason why your home can’t give you and your family a safe, warm, comfortable haven from winter’s frozen heart. For every brutal winter does have an end, and spring does bloom eternal.