In Israel, whenever someone needs an excuse to push something off during the summer months, they simply say that it will be done "after the chagim". Well, that time has come, and with it we have also been blessed with the first rains. The Hebrew language has a special word for the first rains - "yoreh", which stems from the root "to teach," to let us know that the first rains teach us that we need to get our homes and ourselves ready for the winter.
So. here are ten tips to get your home ready.
1. Clean out your gutters.
For those in a house, it's time to safely get rid of all the leaves and debris which will clog your gutters when the rain comes.
2. Get the garden ready.
Every winter there are a couple of big storms, and loose branches can get blown away. A clean garden will help minimize damage.
3. Adjust Watering system.
Not only can the amount of time that you water the garden or pot plants be reduced in winter, but the right time of the day to more efficiently do the watering (whether manually or by pre-programmed computer) should also be adjusted. Generally in winter it's better to water the garden later on in the morning than in the summer.
4. Clean your water heater.
A solar heater (Dud Shemesh) that is not working well will use more electricity and cost more money over the winter, when its use increases due to fewer sunlight hours. Stones in the water may need to be cleared out as well. You may also want to consider using a time clock that can help reduce the electricity usage.
5. Get the heating ready.
It's time to clean out air conditioning filters, order the oil for the kamin (fireplace/heating stove) or find a good source of wood for your fireplace. There's nothing like a nice fire on a cold evening.
6. Reverse the direction of your fans.
Fans should be tilted to provide an air conditioning affect in the summer and to circulate warm air in the winter.
7. Seal windows.
When cold air comes through the windows in the winter, it not only makes your place colder, but your heating system will have to work much harder and thus be less energy-efficient.
8. Adjust your wardrobe.
Check the umbrellas to see if they are good, bring out the winter clothes, make sure everyone has well-fitting raincoat & boots, and get a nice mat to greet people when they come into your home so they don’t track in mud & water from the outside.
9. Prepare for blackouts.
Yes, it may only happen once or twice, but it is really helpful to have that emergency light ready. You can have one installed as a light fixture or get a portable one that you can also use for a night picnic.
10. Do a safety check.
This is the most important thing you can do! You can make your own list that suits your home. Include such things as: check and replace batteries in smoke detectors, inspect fire extinguishers and have a fire escape plan.
Let's hope and pray for a wet winter that will bring us all the rain that we need, while we can be safe and snug at home.
Sandi Ryker has 15 years' experience in Israeli Real Estate. She is the owner of "My Israel Property" providing customized property management services in Zichron Yaakov, Caesaria and the greater Jerusalem area.