Real Estate Story

In Texas, anything below 80 degrees is practically long-sleeve weather. So this week’s lows in the 50s have us thinking about winter. (Fall is actually the best time to do home winterizing because temperatures are comfortably and you’re not rushed.)

Winterizing your home doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are 7 tips that are free or low-cost. They’ll save you a bundle on your home heating bill and get your house ready for the coming months.

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Icemageddon 2013 branches

Nothing anyone has written about the recent Icepocalypse resonates with me as much as this bit from DMN beat writer James Osborne’s Icemaggedon aftermath coverage:

For more than three days, Angela Ponce and her family huddled by space heaters powered by a small generator. They wore mittens and hats to breakfast. All the while, Ponce looked around her neighborhood in Lake Highlands and wondered why the folks up the street still had their lights on.

“My friend who lives up on Windy Hill brought it up. She said, ‘Why do y’all always lose power and we never do?’ ” Ponce said.

“I’m a normal human being driving around before dinner trying to get warm. And I’m seeing people across the street from me with their Christmas lights on. I’ll say it, I’m bitter. It’s not their fault, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

That was my family, huddled around sipping hot chocolate (hot, thanks to my gas range and its magnificent ability to boil water without using electricity) underneath two feather duvets in my Casa View Haven home, occupying our 2-year-old, Cooper, with games on the iPad. When the electricity didn’t come back on by the time the iPad’s battery was dead, we knew we had to find someplace else to wait.

Ice tree on car E Dallas

The problem was, all of our friends who offered us a place to hang out, lost power in rapid succession. Just moments after we loaded a change of clothes and our air bed (battery powered) in our car, our dear accommodating friend called to tell us that his power was now kaput, too.

And it was frustrating to see that two blocks over from us, homes had Christmas lights ablaze. Too bad that two blocks was too far to string an extension cord, and so sad that even some of these folks would experience intermittent outages between early Friday morning and late Monday evening, which was, according to the voices on our neighborhood association Facebook page, the time at which the last of the powerless among us was celebrating the wonders of electricity.

And yes, Oncor and the many teams they recruited to fix this horrible weather aberration, worked as hard as they could for days. But you know what my father always said? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yes, we know that the ice storm came earlier than any other storm in recent memory, catching all the deciduous trees in Dallas off guard. But why were there limbs hanging over lines in the first place? Why weren’t trees trimmed back like they should be?

image

Expert real estate stager and frequent contributor to CandysDirt.com Karen Eubank says that almost every listing on which she consults, she says the trees most often need some kind of preventative maintenance. It’s true that older neighborhoods in Dallas are loved and celebrated for their mature trees, but, as my mother said to me via text as I was warming my tootsies by the fire in Forney, “Your huge trees are lovely, but are they ever a liability!”

I couldn’t agree more, Mom.

I guess the question remains: Will we remember what caused this horrible scene when Oncor cruises alleys with chainsaws in spring?

Icemageddon 2013 branches

Nothing anyone has written about the recent Icepocalypse resonates with me as much as this bit from DMN beat writer James Osborne’s Icemaggedon aftermath coverage:

For more than three days, Angela Ponce and her family huddled by space heaters powered by a small generator. They wore mittens and hats to breakfast. All the while, Ponce looked around her neighborhood in Lake Highlands and wondered why the folks up the street still had their lights on.

“My friend who lives up on Windy Hill brought it up. She said, ‘Why do y’all always lose power and we never do?’ ” Ponce said.

“I’m a normal human being driving around before dinner trying to get warm. And I’m seeing people across the street from me with their Christmas lights on. I’ll say it, I’m bitter. It’s not their fault, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

That was my family, huddled around sipping hot chocolate (hot, thanks to my gas range and its magnificent ability to boil water without using electricity) underneath two feather duvets in my Casa View Haven home, occupying our 2-year-old, Cooper, with games on the iPad. When the electricity didn’t come back on by the time the iPad’s battery was dead, we knew we had to find someplace else to wait.

Ice tree on car E Dallas

The problem was, all of our friends who offered us a place to hang out, lost power in rapid succession. Just moments after we loaded a change of clothes and our air bed (battery powered) in our car, our dear accommodating friend called to tell us that his power was now kaput, too.

And it was frustrating to see that two blocks over from us, homes had Christmas lights ablaze. Too bad that two blocks was too far to string an extension cord, and so sad that even some of these folks would experience intermittent outages between early Friday morning and late Monday evening, which was, according to the voices on our neighborhood association Facebook page, the time at which the last of the powerless among us was celebrating the wonders of electricity.

And yes, Oncor and the many teams they recruited to fix this horrible weather aberration, worked as hard as they could for days. But you know what my father always said? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yes, we know that the ice storm came earlier than any other storm in recent memory, catching all the deciduous trees in Dallas off guard. But why were there limbs hanging over lines in the first place? Why weren’t trees trimmed back like they should be?

image

Expert real estate stager and frequent contributor to CandysDirt.com Karen Eubank says that almost every listing on which she consults, she says the trees most often need some kind of preventative maintenance. It’s true that older neighborhoods in Dallas are loved and celebrated for their mature trees, but, as my mother said to me via text as I was warming my tootsies by the fire in Forney, “Your huge trees are lovely, but are they ever a liability!”

I couldn’t agree more, Mom.

I guess the question remains: Will we remember what caused this horrible scene when Oncor cruises alleys with chainsaws in spring?

GoT-banner1

OK, so you might not need the snow shovel, but nothing makes you feel quite so unprepared like having a four-day power outage that practically evicts you from your home. I asked a friend who is an expert in emergency preparedness what other items we should have on hand for the next winter storm. His must have is a kerosene heater. Me? I have to have LED lanterns. Here’s a list of important things to have on hand the next time a storm like Cleon batters Dallas.
Kerosene heater



Dura Heat DH1051 Convection Kerosene Heater

“There are two downsides to kerosene heaters: 1) they’re big and bulky and a pain to store 364 days a year; 2) kerosene that’s not stupidly overpriced can be difficult to find. But otherwise it’s pretty fantastic,” my friend attests. “Power out? I’ll still be nice and toasty. You can use them in enclosed spaces (including bedrooms) because they burn clean and don’t produce CO (unlike propane, which can be deadly.)”

First Aid Kit

With limited access from emergency responders, you want to be able to address cuts, bruises, scrapes, and even stabilize a limb should you or your vehicle glide across the ice like Tonya Harding.

You can buy a ready made one or build your own. Just make sure it follows some of these guidelines. Unfortunately, the list does not include wine, which, if you’ve spent any time with family and friends without power and in close quarters, you’re going to wish you had some Pinot.

LED Lanterns and Flashlights (Plus extra batteries)

LED Lantern

I prefer headlamps, but keeping a few LED lanterns and flashlights, as well as extra batteries, on hand can make your home so much more livable. We keep some cheap flashlights and a couple of lanterns throughout the house and one in each of our cars. They are inexpensive, and thanks to the LED bulbs, they last forever.

LED lights are a ton safer than candles, too, but you should keep a few unscented candles in your kit, as well as waterproof matches, just in case.

Generator

Champion Power Equipment 46539 Generator

Not everyone can keep a gas-powered generator on-hand, and if you’re going to buy fuel to keep warm, a Kerosene heater can be a good purchase that isn’t as noisy as a generator, but on the flip-side, it’s hard to find affordable kerosene. Having one of these can sometimes make all the difference. If you want to power an electric stove, a heater, and maybe a microwave at the same time as some lights, then this is a good purchase.

What will you put in your emergency kit for the next winter storm?

GoT-banner1

 

OK, so you might not need the snow shovel, but nothing makes you feel quite so unprepared like having a four-day power outage that practically evicts you from your home. I asked a friend who is an expert in emergency preparedness what other items we should have on hand for the next winter storm. His must have is a kerosene heater. Me? I have to have LED lanterns. Here’s a list of important things to have on hand the next time a storm like Cleon batters Dallas.

Kerosene heater



Dura Heat DH1051 Convection Kerosene Heater

“There are two downsides to kerosene heaters: 1) they’re big and bulky and a pain to store 364 days a year; 2) kerosene that’s not stupidly overpriced can be difficult to find. But otherwise it’s pretty fantastic,” my friend attests. “Power out? I’ll still be nice and toasty. You can use them in enclosed spaces (including bedrooms) because they burn clean and don’t produce CO (unlike propane, which can be deadly.)”

First Aid Kit

With limited access from emergency responders, you want to be able to address cuts, bruises, scrapes, and even stabilize a limb should you or your vehicle glide across the ice like Tonya Harding.

You can buy a ready made one or build your own. Just make sure it follows some of these guidelines. Unfortunately, the list does not include wine, which, if you’ve spent any time with family and friends without power and in close quarters, you’re going to wish you had some Pinot.

LED Lanterns and Flashlights (Plus extra batteries)

LED Lantern

I prefer headlamps, but keeping a few LED lanterns and flashlights, as well as extra batteries, on hand can make your home so much more livable. We keep some cheap flashlights and a couple of lanterns throughout the house and one in each of our cars. They are inexpensive, and thanks to the LED bulbs, they last forever.

LED lights are a ton safer than candles, too, but you should keep a few unscented candles in your kit, as well as waterproof matches, just in case.

Generator

Champion Power Equipment 46539 Generator

Not everyone can keep a gas-powered generator on-hand, and if you’re going to buy fuel to keep warm, a Kerosene heater can be a good purchase that isn’t as noisy as a generator, but on the flip-side, it’s hard to find affordable kerosene. Having one of these can sometimes make all the difference. If you want to power an electric stove, a heater, and maybe a microwave at the same time as some lights, then this is a good purchase.

What will you put in your emergency kit for the next winter storm?