Tips to help keep you warm during this brutal cold snap.

In between cooking some fabulous meals tonight, I’ve been sitting at the computer wrapped up with a blanket because my condo is still freezing. I’m told that a repairman will come tomorrow to look at the furnace.

When I woke up this morning, my bedroom was nice and toasty. I had closed the door so I didn’t get the draft from the hallway. I didn’t notice how cold it was until I walked down the hallway. And brrrr. I hopped onto the computer and sent in an email right away.

I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned over the years of living in an older condo building. If you find yourself suddenly without heat during a cold snap, here are some things you can do to keep warm.

For condo owners, the first thing you do is report the issue to the building owners or maintenance company. For apartment renters, you’ll need to report this to your landlords as quickly as possible. And for home owners, you’ll need to contact a local contractor to repair, or worst case scenario, replace your furnace. I know from experience, at my dad’s house, replacing an older furnace cost him $5,000.

And this is why people like me, often resort to long-term rentals. It’s the maintenance and upkeep that I can’t afford on a single salary.

If you find yourself without heat for several days, here are some ways to help you cope while you wait to have it repaired.

Crank up your thermostat to prevent pipes from freezing.

My thermostat read 20C this morning even though it was set at 25C. I bumped it up to 28C and it seemed to help raise the temperature reading to 23C. Cranking up your heat, though it may affect your utility bill at the end of the month, it will help to prevent your pipes from bursting in your home.

As someone who has lived through this experience, and watched in horror as water poured onto my brand new bed through the ceiling light fixture – it was devastating.

Block drafts with a towel or blanket

If you live in an older building like me, you may find that you get a cold draft coming in from under your front door. When this happens, I place an old towel under the door. If you notice windows freezing on the inside, cover them with a blanket. You can also use a hair dryer to defrost the windows safely.

Make sure all windows and doors are closed

One of the most common causes for pipes bursting in the middle of the night, is from someone leaving a balcony door or window open. When this happened to me, in my first apartment, it was the upstairs neighbours who skipped out on their rent for two weeks. They left their balcony door open for two weeks. Even though they were on the third floor, the water damage didn’t take long to reach my bedroom. I remember hearing the sound of water dripping in the walls. I actually screamed when I saw the water dripping into my storage room. I had boxes of books and paperwork that I had to clear out quickly. My brand new twin bed – was ruined.

In fact, the apartment was so badly flooded, that I had to move. That’s an experience I never want to have again. Make sure you ALL your windows are closed. If you need to open them for some reason in the winter time, turn up the heat and close them after 10-15 minutes.

Hot water is your friend

Soak in a hot bath for at least half an hour to warm up. If you suffer from osteoarthritis or other joint pain, you may want to add Epsom salt to your bath. This helps ease the pain. Running your hands under warm or hot water during the day will also help to keep you warm.

Turn on the oven – cook a meal or two

Turning the oven on is one of the fastest ways to heat up an apartment or condo. On very cold days, as you have read, I love cooking things like casseroles, stews and soups. Anything you can cook in the oven for one or two hours will definitely help boost up the thermostat. Baking is even better because many recipes call for heating the oven up to 400F or 450F. Just be careful when taking the pots out of the oven. It’s hot! I have burn scars to prove that.

Enjoy a hot steaming cup of herbal tea

Dry winter weather can be terribly harsh on the ears, nose and throat. Treat yourself to a cup of herbal tea with a dash of honey to soothe a sore throat. The tea will also help to warm you up.

Bundle up – invest in an electric blanket

The best way to stay warm is to bundle up and dress in layers. Heavy sweaters, warm leggings, and fuzzy socks can be a life saver. My sister gifted me an electric blanket a couple of years ago and this is something I treasure and use quite often during cold snaps.

What if my landlord won’t respond to my requests?

This is a tricky question. I’m in Canada, many of my readers are from around the globe. When anything goes wrong in my condo, I contact the owners right away who are very quick to respond. I also cc the property management company to keep them in the loop. Usually, I get a response within 12 hours.

If you’ve reached out to your landlord or condo owners, and you haven’t received a response within at least 24 hours – look into the laws in your area. There may be a health authority can help you out. Here in Alberta, we have Alberta Health Services that we can call. Do check out your local Landlord and Tenants Association for more information.

What if I see someone in need of shelter?

During these cold snaps, it’s common for those who are living on the streets to break into buildings in hopes of finding a warm place to sleep. Most of the time, these people are harmless. If you find someone curled up in your front entrance, then contact your local police authorities.

I know that where I live, in Edmonton, the police work with the city to help those who are less fortunate off the street. Contact your local authorities and ask them to send help. At the very least, the authorities can transport them to a local shelter for the night.

Sending you warm and fuzzy thoughts

I’m sending out good thoughts and positive vibes during this cold snap. January is always our coldest month of the year. It’s been a while since we’ve seen temperatures this low though. I hope these tips will help keep you warm on these long and chilly nights. Winter is a great time to snuggle up in bed with a good book or movie and a hot cup of tea.

In case you don’t believe me at how cold it will be this week — check this out. This was posted on the Edmonton subreddit this morning. Brrrrr…

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Edmonton reddit

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