If you live in an area of the country afflicted with cold winters, full of snow and ice, you’re probably used to some aspects of the season. You have plenty of warm clothes, you keep an ice scraper in the car, and when the weather starts to turn, you prepare your house for the coming cold – but that doesn’t mean you’re comfortable.
If you want to have more pleasant, more comfortable winters even during the coldest months, there are some important strategies you can utilize.
The Best Option: Moving
We’d be remiss if we didn’t bring up the best option: moving to a warmer climate. If you’re fed up with the cold weather of the Midwest or the Northeast, you can move to a state further south or west for more pleasant conditions. There are plenty of Arizona homes for sale in areas that rarely drop below the freezing point.
Of course, moving is expensive and time-consuming, so it’s not an option for everyone. If you can’t afford to move, or if you still generally prefer your current area, you could consider traveling to a warmer climate temporarily during winter.
Living Space Improvements
If you’re not going to move or travel during winter months, you can make some upgrades and changes to your house to make it more resistant to the cold.
· Upgrade the insulation. Old, drafty houses can feel cold even if the general ambient temperature is warm, due to heat loss through the walls. An easy way to fight back against this effect is to upgrade the insulation; if you use blown insulation, you can probably tackle this job yourself, and inexpensively. As an added bonus, you’ll likely save money on your energy bills, so eventually you’ll make back whatever money you spent on the insulation.
· Seal the doors and windows. Similarly, it’s important to seal the cracks and crevices in your doors and windows. In older homes especially, windows and doors are a massive source of heat loss. Caulk, weather strips, and plastic wrapping can all help you mitigate this effect. If your windows are old, you can also consider replacing them entirely.
· Let in more sunlight. Sunlight has a warming effect, regardless of the season, so take advantage of it. Keep your curtains open in the daytime and try to allow as much sunlight into your house as possible for a natural warming effect.
· Use space heaters to control individual spaces. Let’s assume you already have a functioning furnace in your home, or some other house-wide way to modulate the indoor temperature. Even if everything is working as intended, you may end up with warm spots and cold spots due to random air distribution and general inefficiencies. You can lower your energy consumption and increase your comfort with the selective, controlled use of space heaters in the rooms you’re currently occupying – just don’t leave them unattended.
· Invest in better snow and ice removal. One of the worst parts of winter is shoveling snow and scraping ice, so cut your outdoor time by investing in better equipment. A simple snow blower can dramatically reduce the time and effort necessary to clear your driveway and sidewalks, for example.
· Keep extra supplies on hand. Keep extra food and supplies on hand during winter months. This way, you won’t have to go out as much – and you can stay safe in a winter storm.
You can also commit to these behavioral changes:
· Bundle up. This is intuitive for most people, but bundle up. Adding even a layer or two of additional clothing can help you stay warm and comfortable.
· Stay dry. This is less intuitive. Even if it’s cold outside, and even if you feel cold, you can work up a sweat – especially if you’re physically active with lots of clothing layers. Sweat functions by cooling your body down through evaporation, so if you sweat too much, it can make you feel even colder; moisture from snow and ice can similarly cool your body down. Combat this by resisting sweat formation and changing into dry clothes as soon as possible.
· Stay active. Moving around can make you feel warmer, and in multiple ways. Try to get some physical exercise each day – and move around if you’re feeling especially cold.
· Eat and drink warmer things. Eating and drinking hot items is a fantastic way to warm up your body quickly. Hot cocoa, tea, and coffee are excellent choices, but anything with a suitably high temperature can work here.
You may not be able to control the weather outside, but you can certainly control your indoor environment and what you do when you’re outside. Even a handful of the strategies in this article can make a big difference in how cold you feel and how comfortable you are throughout the season.