Sunday, November 9, 2014

Important cold weather considerations!

Every year, a sudden cold snap seems to catch many homeowners by surprise! The arctic cold that is forecast to invade southwestern Missouri late Tuesday and then stay for awhile is likely to be no exception. Here are a few things I like to do in preparation:
  1. Unhook all water hoses from the house. While the temperatures are only expected to dip into the 20's, it's a good practice to get this chore done prior to really chilly nights later in the season.
  2. Change your furnace air filter to insure optimum performance during the heating months.
  3. Make up an 'emergency survival pack' for your vehicle. Items to consider are chocolate bars, candles, blankets, cell phone charger, flashlights and whatever else you might need should your car get stuck in a blizzard or ice storm.
  4. Check home foundation or crawlspace vents to make sure they are closed. This can help prevent water pipes from freezing.
  5. Set up a humidifier to help keep moisture in the living areas during exceptionally cold and dry days.
  6. Dial back the central furnace at nights and employ a space heater in each bedroom to help save money. Consider purchasing the Nest thermostat.
  7. Purchase window insulator kits from companies like 3M to help slow the leakage of heat through outside windows.
  8. Have you car battery tested to make sure it's ready for cold starts.
  9. When near zero temperatures will occur, open the cabinets under the sinks and allow water to drip during the coldest times.
  10. Close off rooms that are not needed. The few spaces you have to heat the better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November marks the start of winter for me!

Sure, I realize that the official start of winter is December the 21st. (A day that has the longest night and shortest day, aka the Winter Solstice)! That's nice, but for me, any day that sees temperatures averaging in the forties qualifies it as 'winter like'. And, even though we had one day that saw 70, most were on the cool side. Unfortunately, the trend will only go down hill over the next three to four months! While November sees average readings of 58F to 34F, December averages 46F to 24F with January at 45F to 22 degrees and February rounds out the winter period at 50F and 26F respectively! These readings average down to 46F, 35F, 33.5F and 38F and so are quite cool to cold.

With electric rates 13% higher this year than last, I can be sure to see quite a bite if this winter is at or below average! Therefore, I plan to to do everything I can think of to employ cost saving devices over the coming months. I am also planning on selling my home soon and on downgrading to something smaller and hopefully more heating/cooling efficient.