Staying safe, healthy and comfortable in winter has been a challenge since the first human curled up in his woolly mammoth sleeping bag on the cave floor. We’ve come a long way at battling the elements over the past few thousand years – but that doesn’t mean we always get it right. Here are some myths about winter health and comfort that we should rethink.
Avoid these winter tips – tempting as they may be
Let the car warm up before you drive in cold weather:
If you heard this myth from an older relative, there is some truth to it. Older, carbureted cars did drive better after the engine was warm. So, it was a win for drivers – your grandfather had a better performing car and a toasty start to his commute.
Unfortunately, the morning “warm up” is now ill-advised. Idling uses more fuel than driving, takes longer to warm the car up than driving, and most importantly – modern cars without carburetors receive no benefit and possible damage. While you do get a warmer car, you also release more emissions, waste gas and take years off the life of your ride because you’re washing oil out of the engine.
When it snows, start throwing salt:
Again, there is some half-truth to this one. Obviously, salt is very effective at melting snow – if the temperature is right. But under 10 degrees, it won’t do any good. While there are additives that can help push its melting power to well below zero – they drastically increase the price. If you’re just tossing regular salt around, save it for temps between 20 and 30 degrees.
Crank that furnace:
Ever come home to chilly house and cranked the thermostat to 80 in order to heat the house faster? Well, unfortunately furnaces aren’t getting the message. For the most part they’re on or off and the thermostat just controls the temperatures at which they engage or shutdown. Much like mashing the button for the crosswalk, turning up the thermostat to 100 doesn’t make the desired event happen any faster.
No point in myth busting if we can’t help offer some better advice. Here’s three tips if you’re bummed out by winter myths.
- Fireplace ash: If it’s too cold for salt, try some ashes. They’ll provide traction for your car or feet even over an icy surface.
- Wi-Fi thermostat: If you want to come home to a warm environment without wasting money, Wi-Fi controlled thermostats from Aprilaire makesetting schedules and adjusting temperature a breeze – all from your smart phone.
- Heated seats: If you can’t stand a cold car, get heated seats in your next ride. They get warmer faster than the heater and the close contact will have you toasty in no time. A more affordable option? Sit on a microwavable heating bad.