Buying a new home in Austin?
Now that winter is almost upon us, the change in the weather means your new home will need some attention.
Relax! We’re sharing the hot tips every new Austin homeowner needs to know to create the domestic winter paradise you’re dreaming of.
First the fun stuff…
Decorating a new home brings out the kid in everyone because all your holiday decorations look new again. Some savvy builders will even install exterior electrical sockets on upper stories for the sole purpose of Christmas light installation! If you’re in the process of shopping for or building a new home, make sure you add this detail to your list before the builder runs electricity.
The great thing about buying a new home in Austin is that most builders adhere to Energy Star certification standards, so the latest technology is built right in to keep you warm in winter, and save you energy costs to boot.
Furthermore, let’s face it, winters really aren’t that bad in Austin. In fact, you can relax, because the weather is going to be pretty wonderful. Just enough chill that you can wear a sweater and boots, but no scraping ice and shoveling snow.
Still, be aware that we do get a couple of hard freezes in Central Texas, especially if you’ve moved to one of the new home communities in the Hill Country. Here are some things to remember as you make your home winter-ready.
Just about all new Texas homes have ceiling fans. They’re a must for keeping your heating and cooling systems running efficiently. Ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Winter is the time to make sure that your fan is in the up position, or clockwise rotation. This creates a gentle updraft that recirculates heat downwards. And if you’re looking to replace a ho-hum (builder’s stock) ceiling fan with one with a little more character, check out Texas Ceiling Fans on 6th St.
When rumor has it that a cold snap is heading our way, pull out your extra blankets and cover those big potted plants that are too heavy to move. Make sure you give them a good watering first. If you’ll be planting some new trees and shrubs this fall, you may need to cover those, too. Let your perennials (like sage) freeze and die back. You’ll need to cut them back later in the winter anyway, and they’ll be fine next year.
Also, you’ll need to remember to protect those exterior pipes! Remember that here in the south those pipes are exposed. Stop at the local hardware store and grab some of those Styrofoam insulators for your exterior faucets. They’re good enough for our short-lived, hard freezes. If your new home is on a well system, make sure the pipes emerging from the ground are wrapped and covered, too. You don’t want to be out there with an extension cord and a hair dryer heating up your pipes when that first freezing drizzle starts to fall. Trust us, we’ve been there.
Finally, you’re going to want to use that new fireplace. The good news is the chimney is clean. The bad news is that the most plentiful wood in Austin is cedar, which pops and burns hot and fast. You want oak, pecan or hickory. For the easiest, quickest, but not always the best deals on firewood, pull up to the side of the road and talk to one of those guys lounging by his pickup truck next to the stacks of firewood. If you want to stock up, Austin Firewood delivers! (Order a week in advance in winter.)