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PADUCAH — With frigid temperatures and snow headed to our region Thursday afternoon, now is the time to make sure you’re prepared.
If you haven’t winterized your home, it might be a good idea to make a few last-minute adjustments — ensuring the warm air stays in and the cold air stays out.
Whether you have the extra income to purchase materials or you’re working on a tight budget, there are several DIY projects you can do to help keep warm.
Winterizing your windows
Windows can let in a lot of cold air, making your heating far less effective. If you don’t have heat or power, it can be even worse. Try these tips to help keep the draft out:
- You can purchase a DIY window weatherizing kit from just about any home improvement store, as well as Walmart. These kits come with double-sided tape and shrink-wrap film. When you tape the film around your window (from inside of your house) and blast it with a blow-dryer, the film creates an airtight seal around your window.
- Purchase heavy, thick curtains to cover your windows and keep the draft out.
- Use caulk, caulk tape, expanding foam strips, or weatherizing strips to seal any spots where drafts come through.
- Tightly roll a towel and place it on your windowsill to help block the drafts.
- Got some extra blankets stashed in the closet? Try hanging them over drafty windows.
- Can’t get a window weatherizing kit? Try using bubble-wrap! Click here for a tutorial.
Weatherizing your doors
Similarly to windows, doors can let in a lot of cold air. If you feel cold air coming through the bottom of the door or see light shining through the gap between your door and doorframe when it’s closed, check out these tips:
- Purchase a door-sweep to keep cold air from leaking in through the bottom of your door. Some door-sweeps are self-adhesive and some require hardware to install.
- Similarly to windows, you can purchase weather-stripping, caulk, caulk tape, and other adhesive weatherizing items to help create a seal around your door. Weatherstrip seals with a “kerf” tend to work well for doors.
- Get a draft stopper. These are tubes — usually made from cloth and filled with a pliable or moldable material. Some are made to be placed on the floor in front of your door to stop drafts. Others can slide on the bottom of the door and protect from drafts on both sides.
- Similarly to windows, roll up a towel or blanket and stuff it at the bottom of the door. You can also try hanging a heavy blanket over the door.
- Make your own draft stopper using any number of materials you can find around your home. You can use a knee-high sock for the casing, and stuff it with plastic bags, corn kernels, rice, and more. Click here for a tutorial, or search the web for more.
If you don’t have heat or are worried about losing power, there are several things you can do to help yourself stay warm.
- Heated blankets, generators, and space-heaters can provide you with warmth. However, these appliances come with safety-risks. If you don’t use them properly, it could result in a fire, serious injury, or even death. It’s very important to pay close attention to fire and carbon-monoxide safety tips when using any of these implements to heat your home.
If you don’t have heat or power, your house could get dangerously cold. There are a few steps you can take to help keep yourself warm.
- Close off all unnecessary rooms and try to stay in a central area in your house. The rooms surrounding you can insulate you from some of the cold air. Don’t open the doors to closed-off rooms unless it’s absolutely necessary to avoid letting cold air in.
- If it’s extremely cold, try setting up a tent in your warmest room. If you don’t have a tent, you can craft a makeshift one using a large blanket and table. You can even make a fort, like you might have done when you were a kid. The goal is to create a small living-space or sleeping area in your warmest room. This helps keep the warm air close to you, allowing you to stay warmer using your own body heat.
- Snuggle! This is the perfect time to snuggle with your pets, kids or spouse. Body heat can help keep you warm.
- If you have power but don’t have heat, cook something using your stove or oven. Not only will eating something warm keep you cozy, the heat from the stove will provide warmth in your home.
- Dress in layers. Put on several layers of warm clothing, starting with thermal wear. Add a t-shirt or leggings, cardigan, pants, and even a coat if necessary. Don’t forget to cover up with blankets too!
De-icing your car and protecting windshield wipers
- Purchase canned de-icer, a window-scraper, or a windshield cover to help you get ice off of your windshield. You can find these items at most stores with automotive sections.
- Purchase windshield wiper and mirror covers to keep them from icing up.
- You can make a simple de-icer using rubbing alcohol and water. Click here to watch a tutorial or search the web for more recipes.
- If you don’t have an ice-scraper and you’re in a pinch, try using an old credit card. This method works best if the ice layer is very thin. You could also try using a dustpan or an old CD. It’s important to ensure you don’t scratch the glass, so don’t scrape your windshield with anything metal. Additionally, it may be tempting to pour hot water on the windshield — but that could cause your glass to crack.
- If you can’t purchase windshield wiper or side-mirror covers, you can use plastic bags! Click here for more information.
Remember, if your house is simply too cold for you to stay there, there are options. Seek out shelter at your local warming center. If you don’t have transportation, contact your local law enforcement agency to see if they can help you get there. Check out the links below for safety tips and relevant information.