Winter provides a variety of fun activities to enjoy with your family and friends. However, winter also causes some challenges. One of them may be dryness in your home. Because there’s less moisture in the air, your family may experience some discomforts such as chapped lips, dry skin, scratchy throats, and nose irritation. If you have pets, they may experience static electricity when you pet them. If this is the case, you may benefit from running a humidifier in your home during the winter months.
Types of humidifiers
There are a variety of humidifiers that may work for your home. The list below identifies options from most to least expensive.
- Central humidifiers. While this is the most expensive type, the benefit is it provides moisture in your entire home. Central humidifiers hook up to your air conditioning or heating system. The remaining humidifiers only work for one room in your home.
- Evaporators. These larger, free-standing units can resemble an oscillating fan or portable heater.
- Steam vaporizers. This is what my mom used when we were sick. I can still picture it and hear the sound it made. Since the vaporizer creates steam by heating the water, it can cause burns if it spills, so be especially careful if you have small children.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers. These use an ultrasonic vibration to create a cool or warm mist.
Proper humidity level
Now that you understand the different types of humidifiers available, it’s important to know the ideal humidity level for your home. A level too high or low could cause problems. Experts recommend a relative humidity level between 30 – 50 percent. To keep your home at the proper level you’ll need to buy a hygrometer, which measures temperature and relative humidity. I recently bought one for $10.00 and I’m happy with its performance. When my humidity level is perfect it shows a smiley face.
1. Keeps your family healthy. Airborne viruses thrive during the winter because our homes are dry. By adding a humidifier and increasing the humidity level in your home, germs may be reduced.
2. Improves sleep. Increasing the moisture in your home can soothe your nose and throat tissues. This can help reduce snoring.
3. Prevents dry skin. A dry home can work against us by withdrawing moisture from our skin. Increasing moisture can prevent this and help our bodies perform at their best.
4. Prevents damage to your home. I see changes in our home every winter. If your home is too dry, changes you may experience may include:
- Difficulty opening and closing doors
- Spaces or cracks in your hardwood floor
- Contracting drywall
- Cracks in your furniture
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
5. Prevents static electricity. Static electricity can cause frizzy hair and discomfort for your pets. If static electricity builds up, it can even cause damage to electronic devices.
6. Could save money on your heating bills. Increased moisture in the air could improve the warmth in your home. This could lead to lower thermostat settings. Common heating mistakes to avoid this winter.
7. Can relieve allergy symptoms. If you’re an allergy sufferer, increased humidity can help reduce dust mites and other allergens. This too, can help sooth your tissues in nose and throat.
Tips for keeping your humidifier clean.
1. Don’t use tap water. Tap water consists of minerals which can cause deposits in your humidifier contributing to mold growth. Use distilled water instead. If your unit contains a cartridge or filter, the type of water used may not matter. Refer to your owner’s manual for additional guidance.
2. Change the water often. Like a dehumidifier, stagnant water can lead to unwanted film or deposits.
3. Clean it weekly. Check your owner’s manual to see what’s recommended for weekly cleaning. Bleach or other disinfectants may work well.
4. Take the necessary steps for storage. Prior to storing it, make sure all water is discarded and give it a thorough cleaning. Don’t forget to discard used cartridges or filters. This will assure your humidifier is ready for next winter.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the box below.
Topics: Family Safety
Sledding with friends and family is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Not to mention, walking up the hill after an exhilarating ride down is a way to get some exercise during winter. However, if you’re not careful, sledding can cause serious injuries. Most injuries are a result of colliding with objects or other people.
Many years ago, on winter break, I took my daughter sledding. We jumped onto our tube and down the hill we went. It was fast and we were having so much fun. What I didn’t realize at the time is how fast it can turn into a scary situation. On one of our runs down, we hit a large bump which sent us tumbling. As it was happening, everything seemed to be in slow motion. Next to me, my daughter was tumbling head over heels like a rag doll. At the end of the tumble, we lay there a bit dazed and confused. Luckily, we were both ok. Unfortunately, it put an end to our fun day. On occasion my daughter still mentions it.
Here are some sledding injury statistics:
- Each year, approximately 20,000 children are injured and require medical care.
- Head injuries are the most common.
- Children 14 and younger are the ones most likely to be injured.
- Sleds can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
To keep your family safe, check out the safety tips below:
1. Go with your kids. If you have a hill near your house, you may be tempted to send them on their way. I’d recommend going with them. Even if you don’t sled, you can keep an eye on potentially harmful things that they’re not aware of. And in the event of an injury, you’ll be there to help. If you have kids who are five or younger, it’s recommended you sled with them.
2. Pick the perfect hill. As a kid, I remember sledding on just about any hill I could find. As a parent, I now realize the importance of checking out the hill ahead of time. Avoid sledding in areas with trees, fences, poles, or rocks. Remember, kids feel invincible and are looking for a thrill. They’re not paying attention to the hazards that could cause injuries. Also, avoid hills that are near streets or busy parking lots.
3. Consider visiting a ski hill. Some ski hills offer tubing lanes for those seeking speed and family fun. There are many benefits to tubing at a local ski hill such as:
- The tube lanes are designed for safety.
- Shelters can provide a place to warm up or rest.
- Beverages and food are available.
- Staff is available to assist with minor injuries.
- There are lights for tubing at night.
- There may be a track or lift system for taking you up to the starting point.
4. Invest in a good sled. Tubes and saucers are popular choices for many. They’re affordable and readily available. However, spending money on a sled that has steering and braking capabilities is a better option. Back in the day, my brother and I had sleds with these capabilities. Not only did we feel cool, they also kept us safe. We were able to steer around dangerous objects and avoid other sledders. In addition, we could slow our speed to stop quickly. Don’t forget to check the recommended age on the package before buying.
5. Talk to your kids about safety. Here are some guidelines to discuss before you go:
- Never go down the hill headfirst.
- Never go down a hill backwards or while standing.
- Avoid building a jump or ramp.
- Always keep arms and legs inside the sled.
- Walk up the side of the hill to avoid being struck by other sledders.
6. Buy your kids helmets. A winter sports helmet is a wise investment and can be used for many outdoor activities. Consider wearing one yourself if you plan on sledding with them.
7. Wear appropriate winter clothing. If you have a teenager who’s going sledding, more than likely they’re not dressed appropriately for winter conditions. Make sure your family wears hats, gloves/mittens, snow pants, boots, and winter jackets. In addition, moisture wicking clothing can help keep them warm and dry. Lastly, avoid wearing scarves and other loose clothing that can get caught.
8. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated during winter activities is very important. Dehydration can happen quickly in cold weather because your body is working hard to stay warm. Check out “8 Tips for Hydrating in Cold Weather.”
Unfortunately, every year when the first snowfall arrives, it’s common to see cars sliding through intersections or into ditches. It seems like that first snowfall catches many drivers off guard. If this is your first winter with a teen driver, it may be even more stressful. Winter driving requires patience and skill. To acquire the appropriate skill necessary to stay safe, it takes practice.
This blog will discuss:
- Winter driving facts
- Common winter accidents and insurance
- Ways to keep your teen drivers safe
Winter Driving Facts and Stats
- Seventeen percent of all vehicle crashes occur during snowy conditions.
- Approximately 70% of U.S. roads are in areas that receive annual snowfall.
- Each year, approximately 116,000 people are injured on snowy or icy roads.
- Stopping your car on snow and ice can take 6 to 10 times longer.
In heavy snow, freeway speeds should be reduced by as much as 40%.
- Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles don’t stop quicker than other vehicles.
Winter car accidents and insurance
Poor road conditions have a major impact on how your car handles. Add poor visibility, and winter driving can be extremely dangerous. If your teen driver damages your car or another person’s property, it’s important to make sure you have the right insurance coverage and adequate limits to pay for damages.
If your teen slides through an intersection or into a ditch, here’s how different types of insurance coverage may apply.
- Auto Liability insurance covers injury or property damage caused to a third-party.
- Collision insurance provides coverage for damage to your teen’s car.
- Medical payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides coverage for injuries sustained by anyone in the car driven by your teen.
- Towing coverage may be provided through your insurance policy. If it’s not, I‘d recommend adding it. The benefit of this coverage is that no money needs to be paid to the towing company at the time of the accident.
Ways to keep your teen drivers safe
To help your teens excel and stay safe driving this winter, enrolling them in a winter driving school may be just what they need. Road America’s Winter Driving School sponsored by West Bend allows teen drivers to practice winter driving in a safe environment.
The instructors at Road America teach techniques for handling different winter driving conditions. Those techniques include:
- Skid control and prevention
- Braking with ABS and without
- Collision avoidance maneuvers
- Proper vision skills
If you don’t have a winter driving school near you, make sure you talk to your teen about winter driving or check out the helpful videos below.
Tips for Safe Winter Driving – Winter Driving Hazards & Cornering Overview
Tips for Safe Driving – Winter Braking ABS
Essential Winter Driving Tips – Consumer Reports
Winter Driving Tips You Need to Know
Everything You Need to Know About Driving In The Snow
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them. Please share them in the box below.
Topics: Teen Safety, Weather
With the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has increased significantly. UPS, Fed EX, and Amazon trucks are constantly driving through my neighborhood. With holiday shopping, it’s getting even busier.
While online shopping does provide convenience, boxes left outside your front door can be stolen. Now more than ever, thieves may be watching your neighborhood for packages.
If you’re looking to protect your packages this holiday season, here are some tips for you.
1. Check into locker systems. Amazon and delivery services like UPS, Fed Ex, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) have their own unique locker systems. They’re in department stores, convenience stores, gyms, pharmacies, and other types of businesses that want to participate. When I did a search for my area, I was amazed at the number of locations available. Once your package is delivered, special instructions will be sent to you on how to access the locker.
In addition, the Amazon Hub Counter uses local businesses that can serve as a drop-off point. Then at your convenience, you can pick up your package during their hours of operation.
2. Install a video doorbell. Before I moved into our new home, I didn’t understand the benefits of a video doorbell. As part of our new home security package, I had one installed. I absolutely love it. Every time there’s activity at the front door, I get a notification on my smart phone and watch. Since many packages are currently being delivered to our home, I can have my daughter get them off the porch quickly. In addition to the notification, it takes a short video every time there’s motion. While it encourages funny behaviors from my family and friends, it could come in handy if I ever needed to review the footage.
3.Install an outdoor security camera. An outdoor camera provides more protection than a video doorbell because it can monitor a larger area. In addition, live streams and alerts can help you identify unusual activity at your home. Lastly, just their physical presence can help deter a would-be burglar.
Like all products, security cameras have many different features. Features include:
- Two-way audio
- Night vision
- An easy-to-use app
- Degrees of mobility
Make sure you identify what’s important to you before buying one.
4. Update your mailbox. If you have a regular mailbox, now may be the time to upgrade to one that can be used to secure your packages. Based on your needs for the box, there are several companies that provide a variety of options. No matter what you select, make sure they’re approved by the USPS.
5. Give Key by Amazon a try. This service by Amazon allows packages to be delivered inside your garage, home, or car. Package protection, contactless delivery, and optional camera integration are just a few of the benefits to this service.
6. Insure your holiday packages. Because package thefts increase around the holidays, it may be wise to insure your packages this time of year. Then if your package is stolen, you can be reimbursed for your loss.
7. Give curbside pickup a try. Many stores now offer curbside pickup. This is a nice way to keep packages off your porch, especially if the items are expensive. Once your package is ready for pickup, you’ll be notified. A courteous associate will put your package right in your trunk.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them. Please share them in the box below.
Topics: Holiday Safety, Home Safety