Chilly winter weather may have taken her sweet time reaching New York this year, but now that cooler temps have arrived, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the business of keeping warm.
Record high temperatures early in winter lulled many a New Yorker into a false sense of security and took the edge off our winter weather preparedness skills. Now that Mother Nature has opened the freezer door on the East Coast, it’s time to brush up on our cold weather routine, both at home and outdoors. Here’s a refresher course:
1. The Heat is On … Or is it?
It’s time to familiarize yourself with the heating equipment or thermostats in your home to avoid overheating and wasting energy. In the case of radiated heat or wall units, you may find your home is sufficiently heated with only a fraction of available radiators or units turned on. Similarly, in homes with central heat, you can save energy by closing vents in (and doors to) rooms that are used infrequently. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats to 68 degrees when you’re at home, and 10 to 15 degrees lower at night or when you’re away
2. Banish Air-Conditioned Breezes.
Yes, we know that winterizing or removing air conditioning units can be a hassle, but it will save you many a chilly winter night once it’s done (and you won’t have to do it again for a whole year!). For removable window units, this may mean removing air conditioners entirely and stowing them away for the season. In fact, many buildings require that this be done. For through-the-wall sleeve units, outdoor covers like this one or indoor covers like this one are good options. When in doubt, contact your management company for instructions on how to properly winterize your air conditioners.
3. Mind the Gaps.
Winter drafts are insidious; a small gap in windows or doors can easily make a heated room drafty in no time. Contact your super or management company for serious issues like gaps in window caulking or missing weather stripping on exterior doors. For small gaps under doors, consider making a DIY draft stopper as your next craft project. This Pinterest board has a number of fun, crafty options that can be made quickly with items found around the house. If sewing and crafting isn’t your bag, this Etsy seller offers door snakes in a number of decorative patterns — all you have to do is fill them with rice, beans or sand — with matching pillow and valance options, so you can be both fashionable and warm.
4. Find Your No. 1 Fan.
Ceiling fans are great at creating welcomed breezes in the warmer months, but they’re equally helpful at pushing heated air off the ceiling and down to your level in cooler temps. In winter, ceiling fans should be switched to operate in reverse (clockwise) with the lower edge of each blade leading the way. You can turn the fan to reverse by finding the switch on the motor housing. If you don’t have ceiling fans, consider speaking to your management company about having them installed.
1. Apply an Even Top Coat
It’s been awhile since you’ve seen each other, so go ahead and give that winter coat a thorough once over to see if it’s time to invest in a new coat or jacket. If budget and closet space allow, it’s great to have a few types of coats on hand to address different types of winter weather. Hooded down or fiber-fill parkas with hoods are excellent on cold, wet and snowy days. A wool top coat is a great option for a more formal look, while a lined trench coat is a great option for transitional months or when wearing a blazer or bulky sweater underneath.
2. Layers upon Layers upon Layers
You know how it is in NYC: You bundle up for your trek to the subway only to start sweating once you’ve boarded that crowded train car. Layers are key in winter to prevent the shiver-sweat cycle of doom. Consider a tank or camisole under your dress shirt or blouse, add a cardigan, pullover or blazer and grab that overcoat. Now you’re prepared to strip down or add on as outdoor and indoor temps dictate
3. Accessorize for Fashion and Function
Hats, gloves and scarves are not only key in keeping heads, necks and hands warm, they’re a great way to express a little creativity in a sea of black parkas. Punch up your ensemble with a bright red scarf and gloves, or make winter one long Halloween with a creative chapeau. Check out this great hat collection to find your next winter beanie persona.
4. Warm Feet. Warm Heart.
Nothing is more important in winter than a good pair of warm shoes to protect your feet from everything winter throws your way, including slippery ice, packed snow and ankle-deep slush. A pair of warm winter boots with a lugged sole is a great option, provided they are waterproof (this is non-negotiable). Alternately, a well-made pair of rain boots, like Hunter or L.L. Bean brand wellies, with an added knit or down boot sock provides the perfect mix of waterproofing and warmth.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had to bundle up, but in short order, you’ll be back in the winter groove. And don’t despair, in a few short months, we’ll be back to wilting on hot and humid subway platforms.
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