5 Tips for Surviving Epic Cold

surviving epic cold

We have been in the midst of surviving epic cold in our neck of the woods. Last night, windchill’s were 35 degrees below Zero! Our baseboard heaters are struggling to keep our house above 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Which isn’t bad as far as house temperatures go. The problem though, is that our baseboard heaters were cranked up 76 degrees to keep our house at that temperature.

It hasn’t been this cold in our area in almost 18 years. I vividly remember my go-round surviving epic cold back then. It was my first winter in this little house. It was my first winter as a homeowner as well. I was a naive 18 year old kid. We had old drafty windows back then and I thought we were going to freeze to death. It was terrible! We ended up with frozen pipes under the house too. What a welcome to home ownership that was!

Thankfully this time I was a more prepared. I think being older an wiser helps out quite a bit when it comes to surviving epic cold.

If this is your first time dealing with temperatures like this, I have a few tips for you. Maybe you won’t end up as unfortunate as I did the first time I was faced with surviving epic cold.

5 Tips for Surviving Epic Cold

1. Prevent frozen water pipes, which will most likely burst when they thaw out, causing even bigger problems. Leave every faucet in the house dripping continuously. Also, open up the cabinet doors to allow heated air to reach your pipes.

We take this one step further, by drawing up extra fresh water just in case. We use collapsible water jugs like (affiliate link) Coleman Water Carrier, 5-Gallon. They’re great for camping and severe weather preparation.  

2. Use built in and supplemental heating devices with caution. Thousands of fires are caused every year by heating sources. As a 911 dispatcher, I can attest to this first hand.

Hopefully you’ve had your furnace cleaned and your chimneys swept. And make sure you are using space heaters, kerosene heaters and the like with extra care.

Check out these sources for more specific tips: here, here and here.

And make sure your smoke detectors are fully operational as well.

3. Be careful outside. If you must go out, dress in layers. It’s best to choose wool or synthetic fabric for the bottom layer closest to your skin. Cotton is not a good moisture manager.

Keep your feet dry. If your boots have sprung a leak and you haven’t got around to replacing them, try taping them up with plastic and duct or gorilla tape.

Taping plastic bags over top your gloves (at the wrists) works well to keep gloves and hands dry when removing snow and ice from your vehicle.

Since most body heat escapes from your head, keep a warm hat on and consider a face mask too.

4. If you’ll be traveling by car, pack some extra items.

You may be tempted to think this isn’t necessary if your traveling only a few miles, like when taking a quick trip to the store. Let me assure you, it is. If your car breaks down or you slide off the roadway, it could be a long time before help arrives. Police departments and wrecker companies get really busy with accidents when the weather is cold and the roads are icy. Typical wait for help to arrive is 20 minutes, but when it’s busy it can be an hour or more. On rare occasion you could wait several hours for help. Accidents with injuries get taken care of first.

So pack some blankets and water. Throw in a flashlight, jumper cables and a bag of kitty litter too. (The kitty litter can be placed under your wheels to provide extra traction in the event you are stuck)

Make sure your gas tank if full. And demand everyone dress for the outside temperatures.

5. Please don’t forget about pets. They are counting on you to keep them safe.

Pets surviving epic cold, or not, depends on you.

Bring them inside. Don’t let them out to do their business alone. Dry off their wet feet when they come back in.

The ASPCA  offers some excellent tips here.

 If you live to the east of me, get ready. You’ll be surviving epic cold next!

Until next time friends, stay warm.


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  1. Great tips, it took me 5.5 hours to get home in last week’s snowstorm!
    Antionette Blake recently posted…Slow Cooked Rosemary Lemon ChickenMy Profile

  2. Great tips here–pinning it now! One of our pipes ended up freezing but thankfully it thawed out before bursting. Frozen pipes are no fun!
    Carrie This Home recently posted…Free Winter PrintableMy Profile

  3. We have been experiencing record breaking cold weather here in Chicago….I need those tips…Are you in Chicago? 35 blow????????WoW!!!!!!!!!!
    Zan recently posted…General Goals/Changes, 2014My Profile

  4. Excellent advice, Amanda. We had sub-zero temps here too. It’s rare for us to have a high temperature that remains below zero where we live and many people just didn’t know how to cope. We are all wiser after living through this PolarVortexExpress or whatever you want to call it!
    Linda recently posted…10 Things That Need a LabelMy Profile

  5. It is so cold where we live, it broke all low temperatures!
    Shirley Wood recently posted…Meat & Potato CasseroleMy Profile

  6. Great tips for surviving the extreme cold! It was 9 degrees last night here in the south and schools were delayed this morning. :) We are just not prepared for weather like this! Stay warm and thanks for sharing the tips!

  7. Great tips! I’m in Florida, so it’s only in the 20’s…but that’s COLD for us!
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted…3-ingredient Gluten-Free CookiesMy Profile

  8. Great tips, Amanda! Windchill’s 35 degrees below Zero are not unusual here. So our pipes build the way that they normally do not freeze. If you have lots of snow, just pile it up against the house. Snow is a great insulator.
    Stay safe and warm!

    • Wow Anna! I am betting baseboard heaters are not the norm where you live. They just can’t keep up. So far my pipes are fine. But several of my friends have not been so luck today.


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