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Home Improvement: Winter Edition

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter!

Here in Tucson, we are lucky enough to enjoy mild temperatures without having to shovel snow. But there are still some necessary steps we can take to protect and maintain our homes during this cozy holiday season.

Remember: your home is an investment, and homes need people to ensure they remain safe, stable, and warm.

Wrap Outside Pipes
The City of Tucson recommends you use foam or wrap insulation to protect exposed pipes, faucets, and valves from freezing. Temporary insulation (towels, blankets, newspaper, etc.) is better than nothing. Inspect existing insulation, especially in areas exposed to elements. Seal all areas that allow cold outside air to get in where pipes are located.

Weatherization assistance programs exist to help households in need, and you can learn more about the qualifications here:

TEP Weatherization Assistance

Check Carbon & Smoke Detectors

[mk_image src=”https://habitattucson.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/stephane-juban-di8bf6k1134-unsplash-scaled.jpg”]Did you know that winter is the time most house fires happen? It’s the time of year when we’re blasting the furnace and building fires. We are also much more likely to have our home closed up tight, so carbon monoxide is a much bigger hazard. So it’s vital to check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they in good working order and have fresh batteries.

For alarms powered by a nine-volt battery or AA batteries, you want to replace the batteries at least once every year. For detectors powered by “long life” batteries or hardwired into your home’s electrical system, make sure to replace the device every 10 years. No matter your detector type, regularly test the alarms and clean the device to keep in well-working order.

Paint, Caulk, and Seal Exterior Wood
All of the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements.

In an instructional video created by DAP Products, we learn that “when it comes to drafts and air leaks in your house, windows and doors are the primary culprits.”

Take the time to go around your home and make sure that none of the caulk is cracking and your paint is not chipping and flaking away. Check out the instructional video for specific tips!

Check Your Trees

[mk_image src=”https://habitattucson.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/thomas-park-stq9ixq9574-unsplash-scaled.jpg”]With Tucson summer temperatures easily rising over 100 degrees, it’s easy to forget that we can experience freezing temperatures in the winter! And our trees and cacti may be especially vulnerable.

The general weather forecast includes frost and freeze warnings and is your best bet for identifying the times you need to go out to cover your plants. Just looking at forecasted temperatures can be misleading, since different areas of Tucson have very different microclimates. You can check out the Weather Underground map for a more finely-tuned map of temperatures in your area.

For frost temperatures, pay special attention to plants that are native to warmer climates, citrus trees, tropical trees and shrubs, and non-hardy succulents. For cacti, cover the growing portion of the cactus only (right at the top of the stems). If these get damaged, that portion of the cactus will no longer grow.

If your plants are small enough to move indoors, this is probably your best strategy. Focus your energies on the small trees and shrubs. Make sure you know what temperatures your plants can tolerate so that you can be ready.

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