– We have received some questions from concerned homeowners who live in parts of the country where they are not accustomed to the kind of cold expected in the coming days, says Huseierne's building technical advisor, Ingeborg B. Engh.
Oslo may see the coldest January day in 40 years. The unusual cold is coming from Siberia, and although it won't be as cold as there, it's a good idea to be a little prepared for those of us who aren't used to the extreme cold.
Have multiple heat sources
– The most important thing when such a cold period comes is of course to have good heat sources in the house, says Ing.
Ideally, you should have a combination of different heat sources that can complement each other. For example, wood burning is a good combination with an air source heat pump: when it gets very cold, it can be difficult for the pump to provide enough heat – so wood burning is recommended.
With different heat sources, you will also be less vulnerable in the event of a power outage.
Be careful not to freeze the pipes
If you have a larger home, it may be tempting and convenient to close off some rooms that are not used daily. Just make sure it doesn't get too cold, and at least not so cold that any water pipes don't freeze.
At home, insurance companies recommend at least 10 degrees in all rooms. Ng points out that this is especially important in all rooms that have plumbing or water-using facilities.
Keep an eye on basements and cold rooms you rarely use — feel free to tour the entire house daily.
– If you have heating cables on underground water pipes that are exposed to frost, you should install heating cables, says Ng.
In housing associations and condominiums, there may be pipes in the basement and attic that may now be exposed to frost. It is useful to check this regularly and maintain at least 10 degrees in such rooms. Feel free to raise the matter with your council.
Pay close attention to the heat pump
If you have a heat pump, it is important to arrange it for maximum performance.
-If you have an air source heat pump, I recommend cleaning the interior well to get the most out of it, says Ng.
Simple cleaning is done by removing the filters and vacuuming them carefully. You can probably shake off the dust and dry the filters before putting them back in place.
– It's also a good idea to monitor if there's a lot of ice forming under the outside of the heat pump, so feel free to monitor daily outside, Ng says.
In the cold, heat pumps automatically defrost the outdoor unit to prevent it from freezing. This can cause a large amount of water to fall, up to a few liters per hour. If this is not drained, and the pump is not hung high enough, an ice bulge can form that grows in the heat pump and eventually destroys the machine.
Monitor the pump so you can prevent this. If necessary, place a basin underneath that you empty regularly.
Stop draft with sealing strips
When it's freezing outside, drafts are very noticeable inside, and there's a lot to be gained by stopping it.
HYou can purchase simple but effective sealing strips at most hardware stores and hardware stores, and they can be easily applied around windows and doors.
Old sealing strips tend to lose a little elasticity and can be compressed quite flat – in which case they should be replaced with new ones.
It is also often poorly insulated at the transition between the wall and door and window frames. Many older homes would benefit greatly from lightening the frames and pushing insulation where it's not there.
If you have fairly thick curtains, it is helpful to draw them down in the evening, because the curtains are also somewhat insulating. Put them out in the morning.
Air smartly and efficiently
If you have vents in your walls, it may be tempting to close them to keep out the cold. If you do, remember to open them again as soon as the weather allows. You should also monitor the humidity in the home.
If dew forms on the inside of your windows, it's a sign that you need to let more moist air out — and it's best to open the vents you've sized.
If you still have indoor air problems, try to ventilate effectively: open the windows often, but only for a short time.
This replaces a lot of indoor air, but you avoid cooling the walls and fixtures, so it's much better than small-gap ventilation over a long period of time.
Take advantage: Clean the carpet and defrost the freezer
Did you know that you can use snow and cold for something sensible?
In cold powder snow, you can clean your carpet absolutely free! Place the blanket in the snow and brush it with ice – before cleaning it again. If you leave it outside and it freezes in the cold, you also kill mites, moths, and other things that may have settled in the carpet.
Remember to hang the rug to dry and let it dry completely before placing it back on the floor.
You can freeze your duvet in the same way and get rid of mites there too.
The Siberian cold also provides a very good opportunity to get out of the freezer. Whatever you have in the fridge can wait outside while you work on defrosting: Unplug it, then place it in a basin or two of boiling water to speed up the thawing process. Be careful not to let the melt water flow onto the floor!
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