PADUCAH — With frigid temperatures and snow hitting our region Thursday afternoon, now is the time to make sure you’re prepared.
If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it might be a good idea to make a few last-minute adjustments to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
Whether you have the extra income to buy materials or are working on a tight budget, there are several DIY projects you can do to stay warm.
Prepare your windows for winter
Windows can let in a lot of cold air, making your heating much less effective. If you have no heat or power, it can be even worse. Try these tips to keep the drafts out:
- You can buy a do-it-yourself window weather kit at almost any hardware store, as well as at Walmart. These kits come with double-sided tape and shrink wrap. When you stick the film around your window (from the inside of your home) and blow it with a hair dryer, the film creates an airtight seal around your window.
- Buy heavy, thick curtains to cover your windows and keep out drafts.
- Use caulk, caulk tape, expanding foam strips or weatherproof strips to seal areas where drafts come through.
- Roll a towel tightly and place it on your windowsill to help block drafts.
- Have you stashed some extra blankets in the closet? Try hanging them over drafty windows.
- Can’t get a window weather sealant? Try using bubble wrap! Click here for a tutorial.
Making your doors weatherproof
Like 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 the door frame when it is closed, check out these tips:
- Buy a door sweep to prevent cold air from leaking in through the bottom of your door. Some door sweeps are self-adhesive and some require hardware to install.
- As with windows, you can purchase weather stripping, caulk, caulk tape, and other self-adhesive weatherproofing items to create a seal around your door. Weatherstrip seals with a “notch” usually work well for doors.
- Buy a draft stopper. These are tubes – usually made of fabric and filled with a flexible or moldable material. Some are made to be placed on the ground in front of your door to prevent drafts. Others can slide over the bottom of the door and protect from drafts on both sides.
- As with windows, roll up a towel or blanket and tuck it at the bottom of the door. You can also try hanging a heavy blanket over the door.
- Make your own draft stopper using the materials you can find around the house. You can use a knee-high sock for the enclosure and fill it with plastic bags, corn kernels, rice and more. Click here for a tutorial, or search the internet for more.
If you have no heat or are concerned about losing power, there are several things you can do to keep yourself warm.
- Heated blankets, generators and space heaters can provide you with warmth. However, these devices pose safety risks. Failure to use them properly could result in fire, serious injury or even death. It is very important to pay close attention to fire and carbon monoxide safety tips when using any of these appliances to heat your home.
If you don’t have heat or electricity, your home can get dangerously cold. There are a few steps you can take to keep yourself warm.
- Close off all unnecessary rooms and try to stay in a central area of your home. The rooms around you can insulate you from some of the cold air. Do not open the doors of enclosed areas unless absolutely necessary to prevent cold air from entering.
- If it is extremely cold, pitch a tent in your warmest room. If you don’t have a tent, you can make a makeshift tent with a large blanket and a table. You can even make a fort, like you may have done when you were little. The goal is to create a small living or sleeping space in your warmest room. This keeps the warm air close to you, allowing you to stay warmer using your own body heat.
- Lie down! This is the perfect time to snuggle with your pets, children or partner. Body heat can help you stay warm.
- If you have power but no heat, cook something using your stove or oven. Not only does eating something warm provide coziness, the heat from the stove also provides warmth in the house.
- Dress in layers. Wear several layers of warm clothing, starting with thermal clothing. Add a T-shirt or leggings, cardigan, pants and even a jacket if necessary. Don’t forget to cover yourself with blankets too!
Defrost your car and protect windshield wipers
- Purchase canned de-icer, a window scraper, or a windshield cover to remove ice from your windshield. You can find these items at most stores with automotive departments.
- Buy windshield wiper and mirror covers to keep them from freezing.
- You can make a simple defroster with 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 are in trouble, try using an old credit card. This method works best when the ice layer is very thin. You can also try a dustpan or an old CD. It’s important to make sure you don’t scratch the glass, so don’t scrape the windshield with anything metal. Additionally, it may be tempting to pour hot water on the windshield, but this could cause your glass to crack.
- If you can’t buy windshield wiper or side mirror covers, you can use plastic bags! Click here for more information.
Remember: If your home is simply too cold to stay there, there are options. Seek shelter at your local warming center. If you do not 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.