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Winter Storm Safety Tips

stormFor the most part, winter is a glorious season that gives rise to gleaming white landscapes and gorgeous days filled with skiing, sledding, trekking, and snowboarding.

But winter can also be extremely dangerous, especially when massive storms bring heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures to large areas of the country. For an example of this, look no further than the havoc created by winter storm Hercules in the Midwest and Northeast a few days ago.

If you live in a place that is vulnerable to fierce storms like Hercules, it’s critical that you maintain your home in a state of readiness so you can increase your chances of surviving whatever ordeal may come your way. Here are a few important tips for what to do before and during winter storms.

Before the storm
Make sure you have the following items on hand well before any big storm is predicted or announced by the weather service:

  • Three-day supply of drinking water for each person in your household (to be calculated as one gallon per person per day)
  • Three-day supply of MREs, energy bars, canned goods, or other easy-to-prepare, nonperishable food items
  • Extra winter clothing for each person, including hats, coats, gloves, and boots
  • Extra blankets
  • Flashlights with fresh batteries
  • First-aid kit and medications
  • Battery-operated or hand-cranked radio for news updates and announcements
  • Pet supplies and pet food, if necessary
  • Alternative heating source, such as a wood-burning stove or fireplace (for safety reasons, avoid using gas or propane grills indoors)
  • Cash for emergency purchases

During the storm
Once a major storm hits, take the following actions to ensure your family’s safety:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and avoid driving
  • If your home loses power or becomes structurally unsound, go to the nearest public shelter
  • Keep the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees–even overnight–to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting
  • Bring pets inside or provide them with access to a sturdy shelter
  • When going outdoors, guard against hypothermia by dressing in battery-heated clothing such as vests, jackets, and gloves
  • As soon as conditions permit, check on elderly, disabled, or homebound individuals in your neighborhood
  • In the event of a power outage, use your radio to keep aware of official information

Being prepared with the right supplies and knowing what to do when a major winter storm hits are the biggest keys to outwitting Mother Nature, so keep the above tips in mind and stay safe out there!

Pet Travel Tips for the Holidays

dog travelIf you’re going on a long trip for the holidays, you might be thinking about bringing your dog or cat with you. After all, your pet is a member of the family, and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without your beloved companion by your side.

But traveling with a pet for an extended period of time requires lots of extra planning and preparation on your part. Of foremost concern is the animal’s comfort and safety as it traverses vast distances in the confines of an automobile or airplane — an ordeal that can cause stress, anxiety, and destructive behavior.

To reduce the risk of accident or injury and increase the chances of a successful journey together, try to follow these expert tips for traveling with pets.

By car:

  • Secure the animal in a portable travel pet crate or safety harness instead of letting it roam freely
  • Since pets are prone to motion sickness, do not feed your dog or cat for several hours prior to your departure time
  • Provide plenty of water during the trip
  • Take frequent exercise/potty breaks to allow your pet to get some fresh air, stretch its legs, and do its business
  • Never leave cats or dogs alone in the car for lengthy periods, especially in extreme temperatures

By plane:

  • When possible, transport your pet in the cabin rather than the cargo hold
  • Only book direct flights to limit overall travel time
  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet
  • Label your pet travel crate with your home address and phone number, as well as the contact information for your lodgings in the destination city
  • Reduce anxiety by placing familiar objects in the crate, such as one of your T-shirts, a favorite toy, or a microwavable heating pet pad
  • Make sure your pet’s shots are up to date, otherwise the airline might prohibit boarding

Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Animal Lovers

snow dogAs we head into the homestretch leading up to Christmas, it’s time to finish off your holiday shopping for good. If the remaining friends and relatives on your list are animal lovers or if you want to buy something special for your own beloved pet, then you’re in luck. The staff at CozyWinters.com has done the hard work for you by personally selecting a handful of our most popular pet warming products and putting them all together in this convenient gift guide.

 

  • Nuzzle Nest Self-Warming Pet Bed: Ideal for indoor use, this non-electric bed contains special insulation that traps and redistributes your pet’s body heat across the padded surface.
  • Stainless Steel Heated Dog Bowl: Frozen drinking water will be a thing of the past with our heated dog bowl. Made of easy-to-clean stainless steel and featuring a chew-resistant cord, this product operates on just 25 watts to keep water drinkable despite subzero temps.
  • Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pet Bed: Available in three sizes, this heated pet pad gives dogs a soft and warm place to sleep during the day even when it’s frigid outside. (Nighttime use is only recommended in conjunction with additional shelter such as a doghouse, garage, barn, or basement.)
  • Thermo-Kitty Cuddle Cushion: Take cat naps to an all-new level of cozy with this Thermo-Kitty Cuddle Cushion! Its three-sided design keeps kitties feeling snug and secure, while its low-wattage heating system provides energy-efficient warmth for hours.
  • Thermo-Cube Outlet: This nifty gadget acts as a regulator to control temperature-based devices such as pond deicers, heat lamps, heated pet beds, and more. It plugs into any standard 15 amp electrical outlet and turns heating devices on or off according to ambient temperature.

We know how tough it can be to find useful and affordable last-minute holiday gifts, so we’re doing whatever it takes to make things easier for you. Visit CozyWinters.com right now to order these fantastic gifts for animal lovers in time for Christmas.

Traveling for the holidays? Be sure to stay warm!

cold travelHoliday travel is a hassle even under the best circumstances. There’s bound to be heavy traffic wherever you go, and the strain of spending several hours in a cramped car with bickering children is enough to overwhelm the patience of a saint. Now imagine if you had to be cold and uncomfortable on top of everything else!

While we can’t clear the highways or make your kids get along, we can help you do something about the cold. Check out these convenient and portable heated travel products from CozyWinters.com before you hit the road for the holidays:

  • 12-Volt Heated Car Seat Pad: At a very compact 16″ x 16″, this plug-in car seat pad is a versatile source of instant warmth. It can act as a heated seat cover, a miniature lap warmer, or a makeshift foot warmer for targeted warmth where you need it most.
  • 12-Volt Heated Travel Throw: For all-over comfort in your car, boat, or RV, nothing beats this heated travel throw. It’s made of incredibly soft, machine washable fleece and comes with an extra-long cord (to reach the backseat), as well as a convenient carry case. This blanket is big enough for two people, but we won’t blame you if you don’t want to share!
  • Deluxe Heated Seat Cover: Bid farewell to frigid car seats by installing one of our universal fit deluxe heated seat covers in your vehicle. Made of high-tech heating fabric, these seat covers generate far-infrared heat without cumbersome wires or bulky heating elements. The warming action begins in just seconds to provide instant heat even on the coldest days.
  • 12-Volt Heated Pet Bed: You wouldn’t dream of leaving Fido or Fluffy at home, so our 12V heated pet bed is another must-have. With an 8′ cord and removable/washable faux lambskin cover, this product redefines comfortable car travel for dogs and cats.

Whether you plan on shredding some serious powder over the holidays or are just going to grandma’s house for a visit, our heated apparel and accessories will help you stay warm no matter how low the temperatures fall. See CozyWinters.com for more information on our entire product line.

Great Holiday Gift Ideas

dec blog 1December is here and the holidays are creeping ever closer. Try as you might, you can’t put off gift shopping forever, so it’s time to tackle that task head on. But since we know how difficult it can be to come up with great holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list, we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you. Here are our top staff picks for 2013:

  • Battery-heated gloves: Thin and lightweight, these gloves feature an easy-to-read LED controller, three heat settings to regulate temperature, and reflective elements for safety. They’re also windproof and waterproof, making them an excellent gift choice for anyone that enjoys outdoor sports such as golf, hiking, biking, and more.
  • Heated chair cover: This machine-washable heated chair cover will be appreciated by any budget-minded person on your holiday list. Its four heat settings and ability to distribute warmth evenly allow users to turn down the thermostat and enjoy lower energy bills without sacrificing comfort. (Oversized to fit most armchairs and recliners.)
  • Micro-Fleece Electric Blanket:  Available in 6 gorgeous colors, this low-voltage micro-fleece electric blanket is the world’s safest. Unlike other heated blankets, it operates on nonhazardous DC low voltage and releases no electromagnetic radiation. This blanket also offers a preheat setting and automatic shutoff after 10 hours for extra safety.
  • Fleece Electric Throw: Who says heated blankets are only for the bedroom? This fleece electric throw comes with many of the same great features as the blanket, but is portable enough to allow for snuggling on the couch, in your favorite armchair, or anywhere in the house.
  • Cozy Winters Gift Certificate: Not quite sure which fantastic item to get from our website? Just buy a CozyWinters.com gift certificate (available in amounts from $25 to $500) and let the recipient choose his or her own heated clothing, blankets, pet beds, or accessories from the site.

 

When NOT to Use Electric Blankets

heated blanketUnder normal circumstances, electric blankets are a perfectly safe and inexpensive source of supplemental heat that can help keep you warm throughout the winter. When used at night in place of regular blankets, they allow you to turn your thermostat down several degrees without sacrificing any warmth or comfort. This green practice is not only good for your utility bills, but also for the environment.

Surprisingly, however, several myths about the supposed “dangers” of heated blankets are still floating around out there. For instance, some people believe that these products pose a major fire hazard or emit an electromagnetic field to rival that of the mysterious island from Lost. But the low-voltage wiring used in manufacturing today’s blankets has reduced the fire hazard to virtually nil, while the EMFs generated by a typical blanket is no greater than any other electrical appliance in your home.

Nevertheless, there are a few special cases where you should NOT use electric blankets. Some of these include:

  • When there are pets in your home that could chew or claw through the wiring
  • When you have nerve damage from diabetes or another medical condition that prevents you from sensing heat
  • When you are in the late stages of pregnancy and are worried about raising your body temperature too high

As you can see, the risks of using electric blankets are extremely limited in scope and are due to external rather than internal causes. This means most people will never have to worry about any ill effects from these products.

Now that you know how safe heated blankets are, you can visit CozyWinters.com to pick out the latest design for your bedroom, living room, or guest room.

Ways to Save Money on Heating during the Cold Season

thermostat-68Heating your home in the winter will inevitably cause your energy bills to spike. There’s just no getting around the fact that you’ll have to use extra electricity, natural gas, propane, or some other kind of fuel to stave off the cold until the spring thaw comes.

But the good news is there are plenty of specific steps you can take to help heat your home more efficiently and keep your utility bill at a somewhat reasonable level. Here are a handful of the most effective ways to save money on heating during the cold season:

  • Set the thermostat between 65-68 degrees when you’re home and consider turning it off completely when you go to work
  • When possible, only heat rooms that are occupied. Supplemental heat sources such as electric space heaters and heated sofa covers are great for this purpose.
  • Lower the max temperature setting on your water heater to 115-120 degrees to save up to 11 percent on water heating costs
  • Use heated blankets for extra warmth at night without having to run the furnace
  • Open the curtains and shades on south-facing windows during the daytime to let in the sun’s natural heat
  • Insulate your hot water heater and water heater pipes to slow cooling after use
  • Inspect, clean, or replace furnace filters once every 4-6 weeks to ensure optimum performance
  • Inspect the insulation in your attic and replace if necessary
  • Apply caulk or weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep warm air in and cold air out
  • Since fireplaces are extremely inefficient at heating homes, use yours sparingly and remember to close the damper afterwards

These home heating strategies are easy to implement and should lead to immediate savings on your winter utility bills compared to previous years. Give them a try today and remember to visit CozyWinters.com for the heated blankets, clothing, and furniture covers you need to stay warm during the cold season.

Tips on How to Properly Care for Snowboards and Skis

Ski CareHow much time do you put into snowboard or ski maintenance? If you only tend to your equipment at the beginning of each season, then you’re not doing nearly enough to keep everything looking and working like new. Even purely recreational snowboarders and skiers can benefit from well-maintained gear, so do yourself a favor and follow these tips:

  • Wax your board or skis at least once every three outings to keep the wood sufficiently lubricated
  • Thoroughly clean your gear after each use and carefully inspect it for damage
  • Repair minor gouges immediately with the help of repair plastic and a scraper. More extensive damage might require the services of a professional mechanic at your nearest shop.
  • Sharpen the edges of your snowboard or skis regularly to facilitate greater control when out on the slopes
  • Transport your gear in a hard ski case or hard snowboard case to safeguard it from harm
  • At the end of the season, seal the base and edges with storage wax to prevent excessive drying
  • Store your equipment on well supported wall-mounted ski or snowboard racks, never on the cement floor of your basement or garage

Spending some extra time learning how to properly care for snowboards and skis is a smart move that will pay off in the long run. Good maintenance can extend the life of your gear while also helping to deliver better performance for every outing, so keep the above tips in mind as you get ready for the winter sports season.

How to Care For and Store Battery Heated Clothing

Battery Heated Jacket Staying warm during your favorite outdoor winter activities has never been easier thanks to battery heated clothing. With just the touch of a button, your heated vest, gloves, boots, or jacket can provide extra warmth and comfort to combat the blustery winds, low temperatures, and other extreme elements that threaten to ruin your fun.

But unlike standard apparel, battery heated clothing requires special care and attention to ensure proper operation. Here are some pointers about how to care for and store your heated garments:

  • Remove batteries before washing
  • Follow the instructions on the care label attached to the garment. Some pieces are meant to be machine washed, while others must be hand-washed only.
  • Do not wash with bleach
  • Do not wring out your garments, as doing so could damage the heating elements
  • Do not dry clean
  • Store your heated motorcycle gear and other battery heated clothing in a clean, dry environment
  • Storage containers should be kept away from direct sunlight and other sources of extreme heat
  • Batteries MUST be recharged to at least 60% once every three months to remain in working order

Bear in mind that different manufacturers may have different washing and storage protocols for their garments, so the above tips are simply intended to be general guidelines rather than specific instructions.

Learning how to care for and store your battery heated motorcycle gear, outdoor apparel, hand warmers, and boots will allow you to enjoy these products season after season. Visit CozyWinters.com for more information about battery heated clothing or to browse our entire collection of heated outdoor gear.

5 Reasons House Pets Need Help Staying Warm in Winter

Keep Pets Warm Everyone knows that outdoor dogs face serious health and safety risks in winter when nighttime temperatures drop to well below freezing. That’s why it’s smart to provide your pet with things like windproof shelter and a heated dog bowl to keep him comfortable despite harsh environs.

But did you know that indoor pets may also require extra help staying warm during the coldest months of the year? That’s right, even if your dog or cat has the benefit of four walls and a roof 24 hours a day, it might not be enough to prevent excessive shivering and discomfort in winter. Here are 5 possible reasons why:

  • Your pet is a toy breed such as a chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier, or papillon
  • Your pet is hairless or has a very thin coat like whippets, greyhounds, and Sphynxes
  • Your pet is elderly
  • Your pet suffers from chronic health problems
  • You turn the heat off when you go to work or keep the thermostat set very low to reduce energy costs

If any of the above conditions apply to your household, don’t worry. It’s actually very easy to give your pet that extra little boost to help him stay warm. For example, a heated pet bed (either plug-in or self-warming) or a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket will allow him to snuggle up to something warm at nap time. Moreover, pet clothing such as sweaters and jackets do a great job of retaining body heat, while booties can protect tender paws from snow and salt when out on a walk.

Although house pets are significantly better off in winter than pets that stay outdoors year round, it would be a mistake to automatically assume they’re warm and comfortable. Take a few moments to assess your pet’s risk factors, and then make sure you provide additional means of warmth when it’s cold out there.

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