Phoenix 101: Tips for staying warm in the cold weather this winter

Courtesy of Flickr user Jimmy_JoeFrozen and bursting drain pipes can cause headaches during extremely cold weather. Make sure to keep them warm enough by leaving faucets dripping, opening cabinets to let in warm air and, if worse comes to worse, calling a plumber.

With temperatures dipping below zero this winter season, frigid weather can drain phone batteries, burst pipes and wreak havoc on people’s health. The cold is far from over — January is usually the coldest month of the year — so experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking steps to be prepared and  stay warm this winter.


How to dress for the cold

One word: layering. Especially on the coldest days of the year, Loyola recommends wearing multiple layers of loose, warm clothing and a waterproof and windproof winter coat. Strong winds can drive the wind chill down to as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Wear a hat, gloves, a scarf and two pairs of socks to avoid frostbite.


Avoid frozen pipes

When water freezes, it expands. At about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the water in a pipe can begin to freeze enough to break the pipe, leading to serious water damage and frustrating repairs, and in older buildings such as those near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, frozen and damaged pipes can be even more likely.

In extreme cold weather, keep cabinets open near exposed pipes to keep warm air circulating near them, and leave faucets dripping to keep the water inside them from freezing. If they do freeze, try to thaw them by pouring boiling water into a drain.

Don’t use an open flame or a space heater, it’s one of the best ways to start a building fire, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. If you can’t thaw them yourself, call a plumber or get in touch with Loyola’s Office of Off-campus Student Life at 773-508-8660.


My apartment is really cold, what should I do?

The older apartment buildings many Loyola students live in are often prone to cold spells. Be sure your radiators are turned all the way on (turn the valve counter-clockwise), and keep blinds or curtains closed unless the window is in direct sunlight. Inexpensive products that seal windows can also be used to prevent drafty windows.

Landlords are required to heat buildings to at least 68 degrees during the day — 66 at night — so if your apartment is too cold, call your landlord immediately. They have to fix the problem within 24 hours or they’ll face steep fines from the City of Chicago, and you can get help resolving issues with landlords through Loyola’s Office of Off Campus Student Life.

If your landlord doesn’t heat your apartment sufficiently, you can dial 311 to call the City of Chicago, which will send an inspector to your apartment and may fine your landlord up to $500 per day until the problem is fixed.


My apartment seems really hot, how can I fix that?

Radiators can often make apartments too hot, especially on unusually warm days during the winter. In addition to lows as cold as -9 degrees Fahrenheit, January 2018 has already seen near-record highs of almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you find your apartment is inexplicably sweltering in January, your radiators are probably heating your apartment like they would if the temperature outside was close to freezing.  

To turn down the heat, simply tighten the valve on your radiator (turn it to the right), and wait a few minutes for them to cool down.

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