To know Chicago is to love Chicago. Something much easier said in the summer. Winters in the Windy City are, dare we say it, unbearable. Or at least that is what the visitors claim. No doubt, Chicago is among the coldest cities in the world and winters often see drops at the same rate as those in the artic. We also see snow., sleet, ice, and storms that have made history…literally. Although Chicagoans have grown acclimated to nearly 6 months of weather under 40 degrees, homes have a little tougher time adjusting to the prolonged cold and enduring winter weather. Plan accordingly and make your place as structurally sound as possible for the long, chilly months ahead. The following things can be done around your home (house or apartment) rental and are often easy to complete without having to enlist a contractor.
- Leave the Heat On
Even if you’re going out of town try to leave your thermostat at 55 degrees F so your pipes won’t freeze and burst. A rule of thumb is if the temperature goes down, turn the thermostat up.
- Spot Check Outdoor Spaces
Just spent a ton of money making your outdoor space (if you’re lucky enough to have one) a social distancing chic safe haven? Do yourself a favor and avoid watching your money blow away and erode before your eyes. Secure any patio furniture, potted plants not able to sustain the outdoor chill, and hoses. You can also cover and purchase sleeves for furniture pieces, fixtures, and plants. This will ensure your investment hasn’t gone to waste and you’ll be able to make your outside space just as inviting as it was during the pandemic for the next wave of warm weather.
- Discover where the Water Shut Off Valve is
If you don’t know where the water shut-off valve is located, now is the time to do a scavenger hunt in your home or apartment building. Think of it like preparing for a fire drill, you may never encounter a fire, but it’s still instrumental knowledge to have. In case you’re one of the unlucky ones and you do experience a pipe burst, quickly turning the water valve off will prevent water damage. If you’re planning on going away for a bit, it would be a good idea to turn the water off altogether or contact the property’s owner to request it be done while you’re away.
- Put up the Plastic Wrap
There is a debate on whether or not putting up plastic wrap on the windows in your home is effective or not. Let’s end the argument now, the answer is yes. According to Energy Star, depending on how cold the area you live in can get, taking the time to put up plastic wrap can cut your energy bill up to 20 percent.
Energy Star recommends conducting the following tests if you’re not sure if you need to insulate your windows or not.
- “Perform a paper test: close the window on a piece of paper. If it easily moves back and forth this means your window could be tighter. This can be accomplished by adding thicker weather stripping.
- Light an incense stick and hold it next to the seams or sash of the window. Watch the smoke to see if the smoke is pushed in a particular direction. If you see the smoke pushed one way or another, you most likely have a leak.”
- Make a Plan For Snow Removal
If you live in an apartment building but don’t have a property manager connect with your building neighbors on the plan and schedule for snow removal and ice prevention. Allocating supplies and sharing emergency contacts in case a quick fix is needed or a flash storm occurs.
- Check for Heat Escape
Got a drafty gap around your front door? Avoid a draft from the outdoor hallway and ensure your heating stays within your home by placing a blanket or towel at the bottom of the door. You can also hang a blanket completely over the entrance – this is best for basement units or side entries that might have less insulation.
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