Getting ready for winter

by Tom Simplot

Nov 21, 2014

The cool spell has me reaching for the thermostat to get the house a bit warmer at night. Arizona winters may seem tame to those from back East, but we still need to prepare a few things:

Turn on the heat and check the thermostat.

In the first few minutes, there can be a musty smell coming from the vents, which might be dust burning off the furnace. It will clear quickly. If it persists for more than a few hours, contact your apartment manager to check on the air filters or the system.

If your apartment has a thermostat, you can program it to keep your home warmer at night and cooler in the day when electricity is more expensive. It's worth the savings on your energy bill to reprogram the timers.

Low tech, inexpensive fixes. When it's just starting to get cold outside (and inside), you may only need a draft snake at the foot of your door to prevent cold air from leaking into your apartment. Close the drapes in the evening, too, to keep heat inside.

Room heaters. Small space heaters can be an inexpensive way to heat your apartment. It's best to unplug the appliance when you leave for the day, and turn it off at night so it's not running for hours. And kids need to be careful near space heaters.

Fireplaces need cleaning. Before you light the logs in the fireplace, check that the flue is open and when the chimney was cleaned last because creosote can build up and cause a fire. Make sure that there are no blockages that could cause a fire or smoke hazard. Watch your fireplace for embers or logs falling outside the fireplace. Have a fire extinguisher close by. (Always check to see if it's a "no burn" day. Lighting a fire on a no-burn day could mean a hefty fine.)

One of the great pleasures of living in in the Valley is the mild winters. A little prevention and caution will keep you safe and warm during the chilly morning and evenings in your apartment home.