It’s been a pretty mild winter in the Pittsburgh area so far, but it’s finally gotten cold and snowy this week. If you live in a rental, you probably have the luxury of not needing to shovel or salt your sidewalks, but there are some other things you can—and should—do when snow hits.
- Optimize your heat for efficiency. For example,if you have radiator heat, move furniture away from the radiators so
the heat can, well, radiate into the room. Keep your windows closed tight, and if you feel a draft, invest in a window insulating kit. They’re cheap and easy to use. Energy efficient curtains are also a good investment (yes, they exist).
- Set your heat at a comfortable temperature, but don’t overdo it. It’s much more energy efficient to put on a sweater than to crank up the heat so you can stay in a t-shirt and shorts. If your heat is included in rent, don’t think of it as free. Instead, keep in mind that your rent pays for it, and if the heating costs are too high, your landlord will raise the rent to cover them.
- Don’t hesitate to speak up if you have issues with insulation around your windows and doors, or if your heat is malfunctioning. Rather than opening a window when the heat won’t respond to you turning the thermostat down, contact maintenance to get the heat fixed. On the flip side, don’t endure a cold apartment, let maintenance know if you’re freezing, too.
For extreme cold
It’s not due to get extremely cold yet, but temperatures might still drop at the end of winter. If they do, take precautions to protect your pipes from freezing: keep cabinet doors under sinks open to let warm air in, and let the water drip. This is especially important for kitchens and bathrooms where the plumbing is in an outside wall that doesn’t get much sunlight.
Considerations for your car
- Is your car parked outside? If yes, now might be the time to invest in a garage. Several Prudential Realty communities rent garages as well as apartments, so residents can keep themselves and their cars warm and dry this winter.
- Have emergency supplies in your car like a bag of rock salt or kitty litter in case you get stuck on ice and a tow rope for more serious emergencies.
- If you don’t have a AAA membership already, it’s well worth it, especially since most local police departments, including Castle Shannon and Indiana, PA police, no longer offer assistance when you accidentally lock your keys in your car. Besides getting road-side assistance for a flat tire and towing services if your car breaks down, lots of places also offer AAA discounts if you show your membership card.
- Perhaps the most important tip: if it looks nasty out, don’t drive anywhere unless you absolutely have to, and wait for the plow to come through your neighborhood before you do. Unless you have a medical emergency or are completely out of food, most things aren’t worth risking life and limb in poor driving conditions.
Adopt a pet
Yes, this seems like weird advice, but have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s a three dog night”? That means it’s so cold, that you need at least 3 pups in your bed to keep you toasty. While most apartments won’t let you have that many pets, places like Alvern Gardens do allow up to 2 pets per apartment: dogs under 40 lbs as well as cats are welcome. Having a fluffy companion to snuggle with warms body and soul.