Posted on September 1, 2018 at 1:43 PM
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
This is one of the best things Mark Twain never said. (Sorry if we’ve spoiled it for you.) However, anyone who has been in the City By The Bay knows it’s true. Although it never gets very cold there, people feel like they’re freezing almost all the time.
You see, up in Minnesota people are ready for the cold weather so they dress appropriately and their houses are built and maintained to effectively battle the plummeting winter temperatures. In places like San Francisco and our corner of Texas, many of us don’t ready ourselves or our homes for the winter.
While our winters aren’t harsh by many standards, we dip below freezing fairly often and the weather statistics tell us that we usually have about one day a year when our high temperature doesn’t get above freezing.
Consequently, we often find ourselves uncomfortable when the colder weather sets in and we can end up paying higher utility bills than we would if we had we prepared our homes properly. It’s with those thoughts in mind that we’re going to take a little space here to give you some tips to get your house ready for winter.
For most of us, our heating systems have been hibernating all through the hot summer months, so who knows what’s going to happen when they get pulled into full-time service as the temperature drops? And hey, September 25 is “National Tune Up Day” when we’re all urged to get our HVAC systems in tip top condition, so let’s get with the program!
Even if it might seem like your system is doing its job adequately, if it’s tuned up, given fresh filters, etc., it will be able to function more easily and efficiently. This will extend its life and also help you hold down your utility bills.
Further, if your heating system is on its “last legs” you want to know this before it dies, because that would probably happen on the coldest day of the year when everyone else has service calls into the heating and cooling companies.
If you heat your home with a wood-burning stove, before you start relying on it heavily, have the chimney swept to remove any dangerous creosote build up.
Before we leave the subject of heating and cooling, if your home is outfitted with ceiling fans, now would be a good time to reverse the direction of their rotation. You want them to be spinning clockwise so they pull up air from below and use that cooler air to push down the warmest air that collects in the highest parts of your rooms.
As fall descends on us, it’s time to take up arms – and I’m talking caulking gun here – and go after all the cracks and holes that let cold air flow through our homes like water through a spaghetti strainer.
Many of us have inspected the exteriors of our homes in previous years and plugged up holes and cracks. But caulking doesn’t last forever; you’re likely to find a few spots that can use a fresh application.
While our winters aren’t harsh by many standards, we dip below freezing fairly often and the weather statistics tell us that we usually have about one day a year when our high temperature doesn’t get above freezing. This means you should take steps to protect those things that serve us well in the warmer months, like garden hoses and sprinkler systems.
Drain hoses and sprinklers if they are in locations where they would be prone to freezing. Also, consider protecting exposed hose bibs or have some insulating material on hand for when the TV weather experts tell us to expect a bout of freezing weather.
The sun is rising lower and daylight hours are getting shorter, so take advantage of these nice fall days and get ready for winter, when darkness sets in early and the temperature starts to bottom out.