County Agent Update

The Cold is Upon Us

As all of us know in our region the last few weeks have been cold, windy and full of snow. This article is going to be discussing safety while traveling and home insulation. Traveling in winter is something that will always have to be done, but we have to be safe about it. Of course taking your time and driving where roads are plowed are common thoughts when driving in winter, but what about a snow emergency kit? A shovel, snow brush, warm blankets, food, and winter clothes are important items to keep in your vehicle. Another item that may come in handy is sand/ cat litter to help with a tractor when stuck. Yes, these items take up room but may become extremely helpful if you were ever to get stranded. Putting a good weather app on your phone is important, to know the updated weather for each area of the state you might be traveling. As we have seen, weather and wind can play a huge factor in traveling the last few weeks. Remember to always have a fully charged cell phone with you, the cold can sometimes draw battery on your phone.

Keeping your house warm is sometimes a challenge, especially with older homes. Some of the items I am going to mention can’t be done in the winter. If you are remodeling or residing, that is a great time to add new insulation to your home. In the attic of your home R-49 to R-60 is what is recommended, while R-13 to R-21 is recommended. Fiberglass batt insulation, for example, has an R-value of 3 to 3.5 per inch, so 3.5 inches of insulation would equal approximately R-13. Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension Service Agricultural Engineer notes it is difficult to increase that in an existing 2 by 4 stud wall. Typically you’re looking at opening up the walls, either internally or externally. Even with a reasonable indoor temperature, homes can feel colder due to insufficient insulation. Homeowners also should be aware of gaps in the insulation. It is easier to insulation the middle portion of your attic, but once you start getting towards the edges and corners, it becomes a challenge. This information is from Adequate Insulation Keeps Home Warm, Saves Money from NDSU Agriculture Communication News. Another option to help keep your home warm is window treatments, before considering window treatments you can caulk, weatherstrip, air seal and insulate attics. Window treatments need to have insulating properties to reduce the U-factor but increasing the R-value. In order for a window treatment to achieve the intended insulative value a tight seal all around the window is needed to trap air. Multiple layers of shades and/or drapes can help achieve this effect. Draft stoppers filled with sand help block drafts at the bottom of the window treatment. Open weave fabrics, reed or bamboo shades filter direct sunlight but have little insulation value. This information was gathered from the extension website,


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