Now that the Arctic freeze that has gripped this country has begun to thaw, I am pretty sure everyone is breathing out a sigh of relief if you missed the onslaught of power outtages and burst pipes. But it’s only January guys, we have a while until we are “out of the woods.” So, a few quick tips for keeping your home nice and cozy during the winter, plus a little bonus for your furry friends.
1. Clean out your gutters while you still can! It sounds a gloom and doom scenario, but I have seen it many a time before during home inspections: cluttered gutters. Filled with leaves and debris, not only does this have the potential for water damage to the roof during the warmer months, but mix in ice and you have potential for multiple kinds of damage. Downed gutters, damaged siding, and possibly a damaged roof.
Got Caught In The Cold? Here’s How to Fix It: Fill nylon stockings with ice melt pellets and lay across the ice like a “snake”. The ice will melt slowly that way. Or just wait for the ice to melt with the sun. Check for any damage after the thaw.
2. Seal up the cracks. I lived in the Treehouse for almost 5 years with a draft before I realized how much “damage” it was causing to my heating bill. Because the draft was so sneaky, I never noticed the warm air just flying out of my house through the cracks of the doors and windows. When I turned down my heat at night, I could feel the cold air nipping at my toes from under my front door.
Installation is simple and inexpensive. I got mine taken care of in an hour tops. And my house is more insulated than ever.
Caught In The Cold? So you’re snowed in and you’re feeling the draft. Place blankets and towels along the base of doors and windows to eliminate some of the draft until you can get to the store.
3. There’s More To The Attic Than Just Christmas Decorations. Are you ever near the attic access and it feels a little drafty? Yeah, mine is currently doing that in my bedroom, so my bedroom is about 5-10 cooler than the rest of the house, causing me to jack up the heat big time during winter.
Caught in the Cold? If you still want to save some money on your heating bill, I suggest a heated blanket and keep the heat low at night. I know that sounds lazy, but I have been doing it that way for a while and it works (thumb’s up).
4. Change Your Air Filters. How are you going to get warm air in your house if you don’t change out your filters? Dirty filters just hinder heat from entering your home efficiently. By changing your air filters out regularly, you will be getting the biggest bang for your buck energy wise.
5. And how ’bout them pipes? When it gets cold outside in the South, there are two things I expect to hear: we need milk and bread, and I hope my pipes don’t freeze. It’s true that this issue of pipes freezing and, in turn, bursting is a major pain in the tuckus, not just for home owners but realtors, contractors, and even the water companies.
Solution: Keep your water running on a steady trickle for the “least expensive” alternative. You can also apply heat tape to your pipes or add more insulation.
Caught in the Cold? Apply a heating pad to the affected pipe or use a hair dryer or even space heater with the faucet open and wait for water pressure to come back. Keep the space heater from anything flammable. And also, turn the space heater OFF before you leave the house. Hey, if you are worried about the cold freezing your pipes enough to use a space heater, you shouldn’t be going anywhere anyways. Unless, you know, you want your house to burn down.
6. Bring in the fur babies. I am a big animal “Nazi” about this. My kitties are indoor but on occasion I will let them hang out on the screened porch. But once the temperature dips below 60, they are not allowed to spend all day outside. Leaving your pets outside with below freezing temperatures is just cruel, especially if all they have is the ground to sleep on.
Solution: Bring them in, darn it! Are they usually outdoor dogs or cats? Have a garage? Set them up a little nest in there with a bed and a blanket. I don’t recommend using a space heater in here unless you are supervising. Don’t just turn it on and leave it. Even in the laundry room or the mudroom, your fur babies will be thankful to have a warm night in. When they need to go out to use the bathroom, walk out with them and STAY with them. If it’s too much for you to stay out with your animal while they do their business, it’s probably too much for them, too. Try to keep the outdoor visits to a minimum, since like humans, alternating extreme temperatures can make your pets sick.
Caught Out in the Cold? And by that, I mean, I am giving you the stank-eye. Bring them in. Geez.
What cold weather tips do you have for keeping your home cozy when the temps dip below 32?