It’s cold; I mean, not cold enough to be setting any records here in Austin, but it’s definitely cold…and even though we are just days away from a warm front, there’s sure to be another arctic blast coming our way before we can breathe easy and enjoy our summer! In the spirit of sharing the warmth, because let’s be honest, no one likes the cold, I’ve compiled a list of winterizing tips for your most important asset: your home!
1. Leave your faucets drip.
Nothing is as inconvenient, let alone as potentially harmful, to you and your house, than a frozen set of pipes. If you turn on your faucets to a slow drip, you’ll help to avoid this icy situation. If you’re unfortunate enough to have already gotten frozen pipes, you can use a hair dryer to warm them, and then wrap them with a towel to insulate from the cold once the water starts flowing again.
2. Open under sink cabinets at night.
It gets coldest as the sun sets, and the most vulnerable spot for your pipes are under your sink, away from insulation, and no heat source. Help the heat to get in but opening your cabinets, this will allow air to circulate around the space and in addition to your dripping faucets, should ward off the specter of frozen pipes.
Tip: Remember to move household chemicals if you store them under your sink, especially if you have small children or pets that could get into them!
3. Switch the direction of your ceiling fan.
This is something that I do every time the weather starts to get cold. Most people only use their ceiling fans in the summer to circulate the cold air, but here is why you should be using it in the winter too: hot air rises…if you switch the rotation (check your manufacturers website for specifics) you’ll be pushing the hot air back down to where it is needed. Why pay to heat the ceiling?
4. Open/close blinds.
If it’s sunny, you want to let as much natural light in as possible to help heat the house, however cold it is outside…but as soon as the sun starts to go down, shut the blinds; you’ll trap the heat in, and lock the cold out, plus, it makes the day a little cheerier with the sunshine beaming in!
5. Insulate around doors and windows.
Check all of your doors and windows to make sure that they aren’t letting any cold air in and hot air out…this is a huge source of thrown away money not only when it’s hot, but when it’s cold. If you feel a draft, get weather stripping and seal around your doors and windows…you’ll notice a big difference in your electric bill, I can almost say with certainty!
Bundle up and keep warm…after all, it’s Texas, and before you know it, we’ll be wishing for cooler weather!