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Here are 7 things you can do this weekend to winterize your home.
Winter sucks. That’s an indisputable fact. One reason is because the harsh winter elements can wreak havoc on your home and your budget.
I’ve heard rumors that some people actually like winter, and that others may even look forward to it. I don’t believe it. People like that are in the same category as Nessie and Squatch – fun to think about, but nothing more than rumors. For those of that us live in reality, winter is at our doorstep and it’s time to prepare for it.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
- Trim back hedges and branches from you windows and house. When wet hedges and branches freeze, they get heavy and can break away, potentially damaging your siding and windows as they fall. Another benefit of trimming is that more light can come through your windows during those dark winter months. More light = better mood!
- Speaking of foliage, while you’re outside trimming back the branches, be sure to clean out your gutters. An obstructed gutter retains water, which will freeze into ice blocks. These ice blocks take a while to melt and actually act as a dam, casing snow melt to pool up. Over time, these pools of water will begin to leak into your home which causes water damage.
- Store your garden hoses inside and protect your water spouts and pipes. Leaving your hoses outside all winter will cause the hose to crack and then leak next spring when you go to use it again. Take 2 minutes to roll up your hose and store it in your garage, shed, or basement; just get it inside. Also, if you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, then you know I grew up doing drywall with my dad. He made a fortune fixing damage due to pipes that had frozen and cracked. Once those pipes thaw out, you’ve got some serious water damage to deal with. There’s no reason for that to happen to you when it’s so easy to slap a cold weather faucet cover on your outside water nozzles. They take 30 seconds to install and will keep your pipes from freezing.
- Finally, before you head inside, Wrap up your air conditioner (if you have one). All you’re really doing here is protecting your AC from the elements. Your home won’t be more efficient because of this, but your AC unit will probably last longer if you do. All you need is a tarp and some rope or bungees to secure it.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
- Replace (or clean) your air filters. A clean filter allows your furnace to work more efficiently, which means it doesn’t need to work as hard to keep your home and family warm. In extreme cases, very dirty filters can even be a fire hazard (same goes for the filter in your clothes dryer – clean that thing out people!)
- Got a drafty home? Plug up all drafts! Weather stripping is cheap to buy and easier to install. 30 minutes plugging up drafts will make your home more efficient and will cost you less money to keep it warm.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors. You should really do this a couple of times each year, but the winter months are especially important. Your furnace works overtime during the colder months, which can lead to an increase in carbon monoxide. Don’t risk your family’s health – change your batteries.
Another reason the winter sucks is because it’s cold! But it doesn’t need to cost a lot money to stay warm. Here are four things* you can do to stay warm all day and night:
- Put on a sweatshirt rather than firing up the fireplace
- Sleep with an extra blanket rather than cranking up the thermostat at night
- Keep your socks on when walking around and, if it’s extra nippy, put on a beanie
- Another thing you can do to say warm at night is to fill up a hot water bottle with boiling water and sleep with it between your legs. The warm water between your legs will warm the blood flowing through your main artery, which keep you warm. We use a hot water bottle like this one; the knit cover keep you from being burned.
* this is a nod to my wife, who thinks that wearing a beanie inside and sleeping with a hot water bottle is maybe just a bit over the top. She’d rather just turn up the heat a bit. 🙂 And to be fair, I’ve only used the hot water bottle trick while camping, never in the comfort of my own bed. But hey – it is one way to keep warm!
Around the GRQ household we’re big fans of being prepared, so if you’ve not already done so, put together a 72 hour emergency kit to help get you through any emergencies that might catch you off guard this winter (like an extended power outage).
If you’re not going to take the time to put one together, then spend a few bucks to buy one. This 72 hour emergency kit is good for a family of four and costs less than $100. For basically $11 per day, a family of four can have peace of mind and be ready for a short term emergency that lasts up to 3 days. Think of it as insurance. #BePrepared.
This post was intended to give you a list of quick, cheap, and easy things you can (and should) do by yourself to winterize your home. There are also a few other steps you can take to further winterize your home, but these things will come with a price tag that ranges from moderate to expensive! They are:
- Replace your old windows with energy efficient one
- If you have an older door, protect it with a storm door
- Have an HVAC professional clean out your air ducts and tune up your furnace
- Get your sprinkler lines blown out (this is easily done if you have your own air compressor)
- Amanda from Centsibly Rich left a great idea in the comments – if you do live in an area where the ground hard freezes, consider adding a little bit of antifreeze to your lines to keep them from freezing. Clearing out your lines with an air compressor in theory means there is no water left in your lines to freeze, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry!
What have I forgotten? Do you do anything to prepare your home for the winter, or do you just let it ride? Whatever you do, let me hear about in the comments. And if you like what you’re reading, be sure to leave your email address right here to have new posts delivered to your inbox. Lastly, please share this post on Facebook or Twitter if you like it by clicking on the icons below. Thanks for reading!