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January is usually the coldest month in the UAE. Dubai and Abu Dhabi experience average temperatures of about 17-20°C – not as cold as winter in Russia, Northern America or Europe, as many expats would say; it is nevertheless, cold enough for many to bring out winter clothes and quilts.
While the cool breeze is preferred over summer’s scorching heat, the temperature may dip too low for comfort. Further, cold weather can trigger or worsen health problems, such as sore throat, painful joints, asthma, and cold sores. For health reasons and for the simple treat of a warm and cozy home, keeping the chill out is definitely in the to-do list.
Keeping the temperature just right is not an arduous task, yet simple things which help are typically overlooked. The obvious culprits are open windows and doors. Close them, and remember to latch and lock so as to be sure that they are shut tightly.
Bare floors and walls also contribute to the cold, which is why empty houses have that chilly feel. Area rugs are not only decorative; they also provide an extra layer of warmth. Thicker curtains, carpets, even bookshelves and some wall decors help insulate. If it is still cold, there may be unnoticed air leakage. Small gaps around the house may seem immaterial, yet when closed, the place would get much warmer.
Replace worn-out caulkings and sealants; insulate crawlspaces and attics and ensure that windows, doors, ventilation covers, pipes and shafts are fitted properly. Air leaks not only bring cold drafts, but in the humid times of the year, it is one of the major causes of mold growth.
The basic principle is sealing all the gaps and insulating. Year round, this makes for a comfortable home, keeping the heat out in the summer and the warmth in during the cold days. Don’t be afraid to be obsessive about it, winterize and keep the house in tip-top shape for utmost coziness and comfort.
Portable electric heaters will come handy, especially when heating is just needed for several days and if only one room at a time needs the warmth. Use heaters wisely. Remember not to leave it unattended especially when small children are around or use it overnight.
• Plug electric heaters directly into the outlet and avoid using extension cords
• Make sure shafts, windows, doors, ventilation covers, pipes are fitted properly
• Thicker curtains, carpets, and bookshelves can help keep homes insulated
Source: Douglas Ralph, CPI, Special to Properties
The writer is Managing Director, Snag & Inspect