Tag Archives: cold weather

April Showers Bring… Snow? In Southern California!

It was a strange weekend. It was supposed to be my kids’ first soccer game. That got snowed out.

We had some warning of the weird weather, but none of the parents believed me when I insisted that the games would be canceled. They said the league only cancels games for thunderstorms. Well, ice, snow, and temperatures below 40 degrees F at game time turned out to be quite sufficient to cancel as well. Good thing, since we wouldn’t have let the kids play in those temperatures anyhow. Soccer uniforms aren’t too good for that, and I can’t imagine parents sitting around watching a game in such cold weather.

I’ve come to regret thinking so much about how soccer was going to go, however. I completely forgot to consider my garden, so now we’re waiting to see what survived the cold.

So far the tomatoes look all right. The peppers looked bad with the snow on the, but might survive after all. Both are in containers, so we should have brought them in to be sure they’d be all right. We’ve done that before. It’s probably a good thing we don’t have any other vegetables planted quite yet.

We’ve been cracking a few climate change jokes. We know that climate change is a long term, global phenomenon, but when local weather gets so strange, jokes are easy to make. A bit over a week ago, we had temperatures up to 90. Makes the snow feel so much colder when you aren’t used to it anymore. And this week we may get into the 80s again, depending on how the weather really goes. The whole winter was on the unusual side, with days of pouring rain in December to where we got the usual for an entire year that week, then a dry January, and just a lot of ups and downs with the temperatures.

Now we’re just waiting for summer. Everyone I talk to is convinced it’s going to be a really hot summer. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Things are cooling off around here some days. Not all of them; it’s about 91 degrees F out today. But then we’ve had nights down into the 30s, so I think I can definitely say winter is coming to our area.

This is a bigger home than I’ve had to deal with in years past, but it’s also better insulated. That’s a big help. There are still things that should be done to homes to get ready for winter.

Check for Drafts

If you can feel air coming in, or see an opening, you have a place for the cold to come in. At our old home, there were visible openings as well as windows that just weren’t tight enough to keep the cold out. This home is much newer, so there’s less of a problem.

If you find an opening, caulk or weatherstripping may help, depending on the kind of opening you’re dealing with.

Have Your Heater Checked

Having a professional check your heating system is a very good idea. They can confirm everything is working correctly. You may also want to check filters and replace as necessary. This will help keep air flowing efficiently.

Clean the Gutters

Gutters along the roof are much prone to becoming filled with leaves and other dirt. Clean them out so that water flows through them easily. This gives you more control over how water flows off your house.

Have Your Chimney Inspected

This is very important, doubly so if you enjoy having a fire in the fireplace.

Check Detector Batteries

You should have several smoke detectors in your home, and check the batteries regularly. Many of you have hopefully done this with the time change over the weekend, but if not do so now.

A carbon monoxide detector can also be a good idea. Have one on each level of the house at least, and near or in bedrooms is also a good idea. Some plug into your regular power outlets and do not need batteries.

Both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have test buttons. Use it to make sure their alarms really do work.

Install Storm Windows or Insulate Windows

If you have storm windows, this is the time of year to put them up. If you don’t and you need more insulation on your windows you have a few options.

In our house last year we put bubble wrap up in one window that was not well sealed. This kept the room significantly cooler in summer and helped in winter as well. It creates a layer of air, so that it’s harder for the cold outside to come in.

Blankets or heavy curtains can also help some.

Insulate Water Pipes

If you’re likely to get freezing weather, know which pipes need extra insulation at this time of year. I had frozen pipes one year at the old house, highly unusual for the area, and I am quite grateful that nothing burst. But waiting for the ice to melt so that toilets could be flushed and showers taken was kind of a pain.

Dress Warm Rather Than Heat the House

Just remember that heating the house is not the only way to stay warm in cold weather. Within reason, you can just put on a sweater, thick socks and warm shoes to keep warm. It’s much cheaper over time to heat your body than to heat your home, so long as you aren’t risking overdoing it.

Find the right balance for your family and you can really cut your heating bills.