9 Things You Need to Know to Survive the Sub Zero Arctic Weather

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Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A snow plow pushes snow through Times Square in New York, Jan. 3, 2014

Sunday’s record-breaking temperatures is some of the coldest weather in the U.S. in nearly 20 years. But as the holidays wind down and Americans head back to work, the National Weather Service warns of dangerous conditions from freezing pipes to frostbite. To guide you through the temperatures plunging most of the U.S. into collective shiver through Tuesday, here are a few tips to help keep you warm.

1. Warm Up Your Pipes
Chilling temperatures are often accompanied by frozen pipes. Let warm water trickle from the faucet farthest from your water meter to keep the water moving, and leave cabinet doors open to allow heat to warm non-insulated pipes. The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is to insulate them with towels or layers of newspapers and plastic. If your pipes do freeze, open all faucets completely and warm the pipes by pouring hot water over them (keep a kettle of water on the stove), moving a space heater nearby or using a small hairdryer.

2. Your Oven Is Not Your Friend
As for warming up the room, remember a kitchen oven range is both a fire hazard and potentially a source of toxic fumes. If a draft is sneaking in from a window or door, use extra towels and blankets to cover them at night.

3. Don’t Go Outside
Have you seen what it’s like out there? If you can’t avoid it, continue reading.

4. Now Is Not the Time to Save on Heating Bills
If you’re leaving home for a long period, make sure to keep the thermostat turned up to at least 55 degrees.

5. Get Familiar With What Midwesterners Probably Have to Deal With All Winter
If you have to keep your car outside, make sure it’s properly winterized. Remove any snow in the exhaust pipe and always keep the tank at least half full.

6. Layers Are a Sports Fan’s Best Friend
For fans heading to Lambeau Field in Wisconsin to see the Green Bay Packers play the San Francisco 49ers, you’re out of your mind. But if you have to bundle up for the game, make sure to dress in loose, lightweight layers rather than a single heavy garment to trap the heat in layers. It’s also better to first layer with shirt or long underwear that absorbs moisture and a wind-resistant or waterproof jacket. Remember to wear thick socks, gloves and a hat to trap body heat. Sleeves that are snug at the wrist and bringing a blanket to sit on are also good ways to preserve the warmth.

7. Munchies Are a Good Thing
Snacking also helps keep calories burning and your body warm, so no reason to pass up those cheese fries.

8. Tingling Sensations Are Not
Snow days are meant for sledding, but parents should be careful with children playing in the single digit — and in some cases — sub zero temperatures. The National Weather Service has warned of frostbite and hypothermia, which can occur in just 30 minutes of excessive exposure to the cold weather. The pins and needles tingling sensation is your first warning sign to get inside, get warm and remove any wet clothing.

9. Watch Those Paws
Pets are also vulnerable in cold temperatures, especially on salt-slicked surfaces. Salt can dry out your dog’s paws and licking it can irritate their stomachs. If you don’t have dog shoes handy, make sure to wipe their feet with a warm towel after the walk.