Skin and Hair
This site is provided for informational
purposes only. The information here is not intended to diagnose
or treat any condition, and should not replace the care and attention
of qualified medical personnel. Use the information on these pages
at your own risk, and, as with any information pertaining to health,
nutrition, mental health, or fitness, consult your physician before making any
changes that might affect your overall health.
Home Care at High Altitude
is, once again, not the factor that affects home care. It
is the other factors which accompany high altitude - Cold,
intense sunlight, wind, low humidity, and radical temperature
Taking those factors one at a time, I'll cover
some of the issues you'll have to deal with:
Extreme cold means
your home will need to be well insulated, and that drafts
will have to be regularly sealed. Good storm windows are also
a plus, in helping to lower heating bills. Since many high
altitude areas are also fairly isolated, energy costs tend
to be higher than average, so insulation can really pay for
causes carpets, drapes, and paint to fade and deteriorate
more rapidly. Choosing paints that are more durable for the
exterior, or good quality vinyl siding can help to reduce
exterior damage. UV protective window glass can help to reduce
damage to interior components.
Low humidity means
that woods dry out more if left exposed. Damp rot is not a
problem, but dry rot is, if attics and basements do not have
good air circulation.
Wind can really
do damage, both in the short term during a hard storm, and
over the long term as it just gradually worries something
to bits. T-Lock roofing shingles hold together in winds better
than Three Tab shingles, but if they are placed on wrong, you can lose a lot of your roofing all at once! If the shingles do not seal down well, they'll break in the next wind storm also.
Gutters need to be anchored on well, or they will shift and come loose
in high winds. Drafts need to be sealed, because otherwise
they will allow winds in, and they will open your home to
far more dust than you'd have thought possible to have enter
through tiny cracks. Wind chimes and other movable decorations
should never be placed near windows, because strong winds
can push them right through glass. If windows face the wind,
stronger glass is needed on larger windows.
temperatures tend to fluctuate a greater amount during the
day - 40 to 60 degrees is not that unusual. This means that
driveways, roofs, windows, and other materials will expand
and contract a great deal just during a single day. Summers
also can be pretty hot, and winters extremely cold, so expansion
and contraction seasonally is also greater than usual. That
places extra wear on some materials, and results in rapid
damage if cracks occur. If water seeps into existing cracks,
that will also expand during freezing, and widen cracks even
more. You can start out with a tiny leak in the roof, and
end up with a waterfall within just a short time, or start
with a little crack in the driveway, which expands to a chasm.
Basement walls will also experience some damage from pressure
from the surrounding soil due to temperature changes.
Because of the expansion and contraction, and the dry air, roofing tar turns solid and cracks more rapidly than elsewhere. Patching leaks with tar is not very effective. Mobile home roofs do best with white elasomeric roof coating - it is easier to put on if the weather is cool as well. The best help we have found for troublesome roofs is rubberized adhesive flashing - sometimes called Ice Dam, or Leak Barrier. It will last upwards of 5 years, even if it is in a surface area.
It flexes in the wind, and does not crack or tear from ice build up or the expansion and contraction from freezing and thawing water.
Mostly, you just
have to be aware that in a harsh climate, damage can worsen
rather quickly. So make repairs when things first show a sign
of loosening or other potential damage. If you ignore them,
they not only won't get better, they can cause further damage
that is avoidable.
Editorial Comments throughout this site written by Laura Wheeler (with occasional sarcastic remarks by her son, David). Laura is a 10 year resident of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, where the altitude is greater than the population. Medicine Bow is at 6200+ ft above sea level, and boasts a total of 297 residents from the last census. Laura is an experienced technical, health and family writer.