Get Your Home Ready For Winter Chills
Keeping the home warm and snug during the winter requires a little advance preparation.
Getting a head start on preparing your home for the winter chills ahead will ensure that you are readily equipped for what might lie ahead, both with the power on and when you experience load shedding. With load shedding on the cards for the next year or so, it makes a lot of sense to make sure your home is prepared for whatever winter might throw at you.
KEEPING THE HOME WARM
If you have already taken the necessary steps to insulate your home in preparation for a cold winter, the next step to take is to make sure your fireplace is clean and in good working condition so that you can keep the home warm. If you don't have the luxury of a working fireplace, you will want to check that your heaters are in good condition or look at the possibility of installing a gas heater. Load shedding is a fact of life and there are going to be times during the winter months when the power goes out and you are sitting in the dark without any heat.
- Invest in a gas heater or gas fireplace
If you are thinking of turning to gas to provide heat for your home, now is the time to do it. There are always gas shortages during the winter months and taking the time to stock up and prepare now will make sure you and your family are not left in the cold. Get a head start on shopping for a gas heater and fill up the gas cylinder well in advance.
When using gas to heat a home, keep in mind that these heaters produce carbon monoxide. While the amount produced won't cause any damage, if the room is not ventilated properly the carbon monoxide level will increase to dangerous levels. It is recommended that you install carbon monoxide detectors or have air ventilation bricks installed in a room, or just leave a fanlight window open slightly for air circulation.
When using electric heaters to warm up your home, don't overload power outlets and inspect before you use them to check for damaged cords or broken elements.
- Maintain electric heaters
Before switching on your electric heaters do a quick inspection to ensure they are safe to use. Look for worn electrical cords, loose or broken heater elements, and so on. Faults of this nature could result in an accidental fire, so make sure they are safe before you switch on.
If you are buying a new heater for the winter, radiant or convection heaters are the safer option. Also, make sure that the heater has cut-off safety should the heater be knocked over or high-temperature cut-off switch. Allow plenty of ventilation around the heater and keep it well away from flammable fabrics or materials.
Never leave electric or gas heaters on without supervision or overnight.
- Buy hot water bottles
If your bed is fitted with an electric blanket to keep you toasty and warm on cold winter nights, you are going to be left in the cold when the power goes off. Having a hot water bottle on hand to keep your toes warm is an inexpensive solution that doesn't rely on electricity and you will stay warm all night.
- Layer on the bedding
Another way to keep warm if the power goes out is to make use of throw or fleece blankets. You can pick these up for around R200 for a faux fur throw and can use them when you sit in front of the TV, when reading, or add them to the bed when you retire for the night.
- Roll out the rugs
All flooring is colder in winter, but particularly ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles. I am one of those that feel the cold in my feet, if my feet are cold then so am I. Wear slippers or soft shoes when moving around the house and add rugs to the floors to help warm up a room.
It costs far less to dress warmly that it does to switch on the heater, so buy a pair of thick thermal socks and a comfortable dressing gown to layer on the warmth.