As summer starts to settle, and fall kicks in, it’s time to think about preparing for winter. A few reasons to prepare are to:
- Save money
- Prevent your home from water, or ice damage
- Prepare for winter storms and when electricity is out (you will be very grateful that there aren’t any cold drafts coming in).
Preparing for Winter
There are MANY things that can be done to prepare for winter. This list may look long, but don’t feel overwhelmed… they are quick items, and you may only need to do 1 or 2 of them.
In the home…
- Get a tune up with your heating system. Be sure everything is working well, and the filters are clean
- Flip/reverse your ceiling fan blades over, this allows them to push the air down. Warm air rises, so as the warm air is trying to leave, the fan blades will push it back down into the room.
- Set your programmable thermostat 1-2 degrees lower than normal. See how you adjust to it over a week or so. While you are in bed, set it 1-2 degrees lower than during the day, and throw an extra blanket on the bed.
- Place rocks in your shoe tray. This allows your boots to dry quicker and make less mess.
- Add a blanket or two the couch and some extra to your beds. It’s always nice to cuddle up with a blanket and mug of hot chocolate.
- Clean the chimney.
- Have a bag of extra rags handy. If your pipes freeze, you can wrap the pipes in rags to keep them from leaking or bursting. This will help warm them up.
- You are able to caulk any gap that is 1/2 in or less. Silicone caulk is recommended. If the caulk ever needs to be removed, it is easy to pull off. This has been great along windows in our house.
- For gaps larger than an inch, you can use spray foam. This can be very messy, and flammable. So you DO NOT want to use it next to a spark or heat source. We have used this type of foam under our large front window. We drilled 1/2 inch holes about a foot apart under our window and sprayed the expanding foam in. Then painted over the top of the little holes.
- Placing bubble wrap between the window and the screen will help insulate those old windows. I don’t recommend doing this with windows you want to see out of… but the windows where the curtains always stay closed are a great idea.
- Place thick quilts over your windows, or thermal curtains to keep the cold out.
- Weather strips are good along doors to keep the air out too.
- Clean your gutters to keep them from freezing and expanding.
- Inspect your roof, and fix all leaks or soon to be leaks. Be sure to check for missing or loose shingles. These can lead to leaks.
- Be sure you have plenty of wood to burn in your home if you have a fireplace, or outside if the heat goes out.
- Clear off porches and major walkways. You don’t want to be walking out after a snow storm and sprang an ankle tripping on a kids toy.
- Turn off all outside faucets. Be sure they are not leaking. AND put your hose in the garage.
- Check for any dead tree limbs that may break with heavy ice or wind and be sure to remove them if possible.
- Divert your water. Our gutters run out into our driveway between the house and garage. In the warm weather it’s fine, but in the winter time it turns into a HUGE ice pond. Re-routing the water will help prevent injury.
- If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to drain those to prevent pipes from breaking.
- Use up the rest of the “gas” in your lawn mower before it sits for months (and your generator).
- Stock up on ice melt and shovels BEFORE the weather hits.
- Be sure to check your 3 day emergency supply of food. You want to be sure you know where to find it, what you have, and if anything has gone bad so you can re-stock.
- Gather a 3 day supply of water as well in case the need arises. Read more about how to store water.
- Check to make sure your flashlights are working and you have extra batteries.
- Find candles, matches, and battery-powered lanterns if you need extra lighting.
- Place socks over your windshield wipers to prevent them from becoming frozen to your windows
- Shaving cream is a great de-fogger for your windows, try to wipe down the inside of your windows with this.
- Rub hand sanitizer on your cars key hole if that is frozen.
- When the weather is warm, and you are washing your car, be sure to wash all the salt off the under side. Place a sprinkler under the car and let it run! This saves you a lot of time in an uncomfortable position trying to keep your car rust free.
- Need a great natural de-icer? Try mixing 3 parts white vinegar to 1 part water and putting in a spray bottle.
What do you do while preparing for winter each year?
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