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By Kelsey Grindstaff

How to cold-proof your house during extreme cold and emergencies

With cold weather approaching and storms on our doorsteps, power outages and extreme cold are big contenders for us. Often, even with our heaters going full blast, it can feel like we are fighting to keep our houses warm, and nobody wants to pay that electric bill. The good news is that there are many ways to help keep our homes warm without needing to crank up the heat.

1. Heavy curtains or blankets

During cold months, it can help to have heavy curtains or blankets on our windows, especially if you have older or drafty windows. These help to keep the cold air out and the warmer air inside our houses. Also, keeping the blinds closed adds an extra layer to help fight against the cold.

2. Plastic

Though it is not pretty, putting plastic up on the windows, especially in emergencies, adds another layer of protection against heat loss in our homes. In most cases, I would use this as a last resort, but remember that it is always an option.

3. Layers

Before you turn up the heat, think about how you are dressed. Are you wearing socks? Do you have a sweater or sweatshirt on? How about warmer pants? If you are wearing a tank top and shorts (which, to be honest, is my favorite thing to wear), you should consider putting on a few more layers before cranking up the heat. It is much cheaper to layer.

4. Warm liquids and foods

Never underestimate the power of warming up from the inside out. Coffee, hot cocoa and apple cider are my favorite beverages with which to warm up. The nice thing about cocoa and apple cider is that, even without power, if you have a way to build a fire, you can easily make them by simply heating up water. If you have a coffee pot specifically for use with fire, then coffee can also be easily made without use of electricity.

5. Blankets and/or cuddling

You cannot have too many blankets, and my house is a living testament of such. We have multiple blankets in every room and backup blankets in the laundry room closet. Blankets are such versatile things, but they are definitely great for their main purpose of keeping us warm.

Also, cuddling is fun. I love to cuddle, so this works great for me. You can cuddle with your spouse, your kids or even a pet. It helps keep us warm and is great for our relationships.

6. Fire

This one is great, especially in emergency situations. Not everyone has an old-fashioned fireplace or wood stove, but if you do, use it. If it makes your house smoky, you might want to look into getting your chimney cleaned. It can make a world of difference. And the nice thing about wood stoves especially is that you can use the top of it for cooking in case of a power outage. Hot food is nice to have when the power is out.

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