Winter in Florida isn’t as rough as up North, however, you will feel the cold weather and it’s best to be prepared for it. This winter has started early with a very chilly November. So, how can you prepare for the even colder months?
Look on your ceiling fan for a reverse switch. According to Better Homes and Garden, reversing your fan will push the warm air that rises down for you to benefit. Having your heating unit checked by a professional can help your unit work well throughout the winter. Next, check all your windows, piping, and outlets for cracks or holes that can let warm air out and cold air in. Once they’ve been identified, caulk them and seal in the warmth of your heater. If you have a fireplace, clean it out! Make sure the chimney is clear for smoke to leave your house; you wouldn’t want to have a smoky living room because the top of your chimney is covered by debris. Lastly, clean out your gutters. Cold fronts almost always accompany rain during the winter and it’s time to clean out the leaves that have filled your gutters this fall, so you don’t have a drainage issue.
Your yard is what everyone sees first. Keeping your grass healthy in winter doesn’t require as much irrigation; you can reduce your sprinkler schedule to once a week or once every 10 days. Watch the weather for freeze warnings and bring your potted plants inside or cover them. Herbs that do well in the winter months include: coriander, rosemary, thyme, dill, chervil, chives, fennel, garlic, oregano, lovage, sage, and parsley. For a full list of what plants to put in your yard every season, check out the Alachua County Extension Office’s Native Plants Booklet.
Pets are part of the family and you don’t want them to freeze! If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Though they have a fur coat, it isn’t as insulating as you might think. If your dog or cat sleeps outside, make sure they have a warm home they can go into with a bed and blanket. Clothes for your pet are fine as long as they don’t restrict movement or breathing. Cats love to cuddle up on warm car engines in the night so bang on your hood before starting your car; you could save his/her life. Antifreeze is an extremely poisonous chemical for your pet and odds are he/she will love the way it smells and tastes. In order to protect your pet, make sure you aren’t leaking puddles of it in the driveway, and scrub it clean if you have had an antifreeze leak. Lastly, if you are using your fireplace this winter, keep the doors or safety guard covering the fire so your pet doesn’t get burned if he/she ventures too close.