Preparing for Sub Zero Temperatures

preparing for sub zero temperatures

I had a reader send me an email today…

Since you grew up with more cold than I can imagine, I would be calm and a very happy and loyal reader if you offered me something more than just organizing today–some reassurance that there are organized ways to approach this cold…and time spent this afternoon getting ready would reap huge benefits tomorrow.  🙂  A post that links to advice about your car, staying warm, dealing with your pipes might be nice.

So.. Tuesday morning, I will post the next post in the 40 Weeks 1 Whole House Challenge, and I am posting this one early on Sunday night. 

Last week when I shared about how to get ready for a snow day, I mentioned growing up in the Akron/ Cleveland, Ohio area, which is definitely colder than Cincinnati, but not THAT cold.  However, I do have some WARM ideas.

I HATE cold. I am sitting in a house that is 70 degrees, but I’m still sitting next to a space heater. I like HOT. So, I have been thinking about what to do about all the frigid cold that is on its way.

 preparing for sub zero temperatures

#1 Start with a warm house.

I posted a link on my Facebook Page yesterday about how to prepare your pipes for the arctic cold. I am a little nervous because our master bath shower pipes are in our unheated garage. They freeze every year at least once.

In that same article, it said to raise the heat in your house BEFORE the cold comes so that you start out warmer. Your heater will not be able to keep up if you push up the heat later, and your house will get colder.

#2 Add heat to the house.

Seriously, I like heat, so I know how to heat up a house. Since this cold snap is supposed to last 48 hours, you might want to spread these idea out to the second day.

If you need to clean your oven – now is a great time. It will add heat to the house and you will be home for safety.

Now is a great time to do laundry and run the dryer – again, adding heat.

Use space heaters in small spaces to heat up a small room. Don’t waste the heat in a large great room.

Electric blankets will keep you warm and toasty, too!

#3 Snuggle.

Many of you will double up on the blankets on your bed and the couch, but I am breaking out the sleeping bags. Sleeping bags are warmer, don’t have openings for the cold air to get in and keep your feet warm.

I will also have the kids sleep in sleeping bags in their beds the next 2 nights.

preparing for sub zero temperatures

#4 Clean and organize.

OK, you know this is my number 1, but really, when you start to get cold, go vacuum a few rooms or carry piles up and down the stairs. Moderate exercise will get your body warm – but not break a sweat.

#5 Block cold air.

A few years ago, I nailed blankets over the windows. I can’t remember why. I don’t think I will this year, but I might. You will save a lot of money if you nail up blankets over your windows the next few days.

If at all possible, do not open the doors to the outside. Keep your garage door down. Use towels to block drafty doors.

preparing for sub zero temperatures

#6 Do NOT build a wood fire in a regular fireplace. 

Fires  are beautiful and may be warm when you are sitting right in front of them, but they pull the heat out of the rest of your home and send it up the chimney.

If you have a wood burning stove, those DO provide heat. Also, a gas fireplace will heat up the home, but you’ll see it in your gas bill!

#7 Eat and drink warm and hot foods.

Soup, hot chocolate, a warm grilled cheese will all make you feel warmer.

#8 Charge everything NOW.

Charge your phones, portable DVD player, computer, iPad, etc. If we lose power, I am good for a few hours, but I do plan on going to a hotel if the outage is long or we lose heat. Sorry, I am not hearty!

Think through your plan. Can you make it in one room with a space heater if your heater goes out? Do you have food that you can eat without electricity?

#9 IF you HAVE to go out…

Have a bag packed in case you had an accident.  The number of your insurance company…a fully charged cell phone with you at all times…a blanket at least.  Here’s a link to a good article about weather safety.

Do not to rely on your car charger–to charge your phone. Leave with it charged so you can call if you get stuck.  I’d also really recommend not using back roads tomorrow.  If I get stuck, I want it to be somewhere people can see me and I can get help quickly.

DO NOT sit in your car in the garage!! If you must sit in a running car – back it out into the driveway.

 preparing for sub zero temperatures

#10 Have fun. 

These temperatures will break 100 year old records. Your kids will likely remember this week. Make a memory.

My hubby has been retelling everyone the story of how he was at the Freezer Bowl in 1986. Did you know you could take Bunsen burners into the stadium then?!?

What about you? How are you staying warm the next few days?


  1. says

    Great advice! I already have two nights at the Marriott reserved in case of outage! Don’t forget to fill your gas tank. Also, how warm should I make the temp to offset this terrible cold?

    • says

      🙂 Well I don’t think you want to be sweating, but I would reprogram your thermostat so it doesn’t go too low tonight. The temperature will drop while we are sleeping.

  2. D J wright says

    I like all of your tips except a couple of thing. Our power company has asked us not to do laundry and cut back on electric usage. They are having trouble keeping up with the extra power demands everyone is making on the power grid. I might also suggest filling the bathtub with water in case the power does go out so you can flush the toilet. Put some water in jugs to wash with and have some for drinking.

    • says

      D J, I did think about that with the power grid after I posted – thanks for the reminder. And the bathtub idea is great too. I need to do a post about real emergency preparation!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *