*Cold Weather Tips & Tricks*
By: Jaden
15 January 2005

Being from the frigid north it seems fitting to write about some of the tricks that we use up here during the cold season. The easiest way is to break it up into categories, so here we go-

Dress in layers. Thatís covered here. More on clothing selection. Also hit the search engine.

Keep as much skin covered as much as possible; this will help reduce the risk of frostbite.

Breathe through your nose, not through your mouth.

No matter how "tough" you are or how well you can "take the cold", try and stay inside as much as possible. Many people become hypothermic and donít even realize it. Hypothermia

Dress like youíre going to have to walk home. If anything, overdress.

Use "dry gas" in your gas tank. It will help prevent fuel lines from freezing and it displaces water.

On cold nights or nights that itís supposed to snow, pull your windshield wipers up so that they donít freeze to the windshield.

You can lay a heavy blanket over your windshield and then pull it off in the morning, thus easily removing most of the snow and ice. Donít try this trick if itís going to be a rainy mix. The blanket will soak through and freeze to the windshield.

Let your vehicle run for 5 minutes or so to warm up after a cold start.

Use studded snow tires especially if your vehicle is 2wd. They wouldnít hurt even on 4wd vehicles.

If your vehicle doesnít like to start in cold weather, invest in a block heater.

Keep a spare battery on hand or a good battery charger with a jump-start rating.

Use thinner oil in your engine during the winter unless your ownerís manual doesnít recommend it. READ the ownerís manual!!

While in the ownerís manual, check to see if there is a recommendation for a certain tire pressure during cold weather. Iíve seen some tires that have a difference in recommendation between warm weather and cold weather.

If you must drive your vehicle before the engine has time to warm up, crank up the defroster and partially open your window. This will help the window clear a little quicker by allowing your exhalation vapors to escape. Walk up to a mirror or piece of glass. Get your mouth a few inches away, open it and go "haah" Itíll fog up. Same with your windshield.

Donít leave any firearms in your vehicle unless theyíre stainless steel. Blued metal will frost and will start to rust. Trust me, it will. Stainless might spot a little bit, but it can be cleaned up.

Make sure your coolant mixture has a greater amount of antifreeze than water. 60% / 40% range should do it.

Fireman recommends only using RainX washer fluid. He says "Snow wipes right off. Ice doesn't stick and water beads right up. It's great stuff."

If you donít have tight windows, use sheet plastic and lathes on the outside of them.

If you donít have a great foundation, use banking of some sort around the base of your walls. This prevents the cold air from entering under the house.

Use a good quality heat tape and pipe wrap insulation on any water pipes that even have any chance of freezing. Have a way to power these off grid. Mine was hooked into the UPS. Then I didnít have to worry about water lines freezing if I wasnít home when the grid went down.

Drain any exterior water lines or spigots.

Keep your chimney clean; you donít need a chimney fire.

Donít burn green wood, only dry wood. Green wood creates a lot of creosote. Creosote is the black charcoal looking material that collects inside chimneys and when it gets hot enough or a spark hits it ignites creating a chimney fire.

Wood ashes can be spread over your garden area as fertilizer or used to "sand" a driveway.

Keep your firewood under cover. Donít be one of the people who has to go out in a storm, beat the ice and snow off and then lug wood inside.

Check exterior wall outlets and switches on a windy day by removing the covers. Make sure that you donít feel air flow. If you do, you can get soft foam insulators at most any hardware store. They fit around the outlet and/or switch and then the cover goes on. This will help reduce cold drafts. Older houses are notorious for being drafty.

There are many other tricks. Iíve been working on this article off and on for a few months. Seem to be having a MAJOR writerís block for some reason. Any other tips and tricks you know of? Please share them on the boards.

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