“I have to get my home ready for winter? What? How in the world am I supposed to do that?” Those were the thoughts that went through my mind when I read the article on Better Homes and Gardens a few days ago. I have spent my entire adult life in sunny Florida and this will be my very first winter in a location that actually feels like winter. In addition to my new geographic location this will also be my first winter as a homeowner-yikes!
I figured since I was in the dark on these things that surely there were others right there with me. Here are the things I found to be the most helpful and do able.
Get Your Chimney Swept
If your home has a wood burning fireplace and you plan on using it this winter paying for a chimney sweep will be a wise investment. Burning wood creates highly flammable creosote and if enough of it builds up in your chimney there is a potential for a fire. While getting your chimney cleaned you should also make sure the damper is working properly and that your chimney is capped to keep out unwanted house guests.
Put the Ceiling Fan in Reverse
Locate the switch on your ceiling fans that allow you to reverse the direction the blades move in. In the winter you want the blades to turn clockwise so they will push the warm air down helping to keep your rooms warm while you’re in them.
Rearrange the Furniture
Bring things like your couch and chairs closer to the fireplace so you can stay warm and enjoy the heat the fireplace produces. Placing soft and warm blankets on furniture will add to the décor and will be convenient for use when someone gets cold.
Don’t Let Air Escape
Inspect all of your homes doors and windows; a lot of heat is lost through tiny cracks in them. If you find any places where air is escaping head over to your local hardware store and find out the best way to seal the cracks. It will be worth your time when you save on your heating bill.
Have Your Furnace Inspected
Call a professional HVAC company to come out and inspect along with clean out your furnace. Over time parts get old and worn and dust can build up. It’s better to take care of the issues now versus in the dead of winter. Also make sure you frequently replace your filters it will assist in keeping your furnace in good working condition.
Plug Hidden Leaks
A lot of air can escape through the gaps between a pipe and the wall. Check under the sinks in your bathrooms and kitchens if there is a large gap you can fill it with foam sealant and if it’s small cracks caulk will work just fine.
Protect Pipes from Freezing
Water freezing in the pipes can cause them to burst. To prevent this wrap your pipes, especially the ones exposed to the outside elements in insulation. There are also these foam tubes with a slit on one side which can be cut to the size you need for your pipes. Check your local store for these, they’re convenient and easy to use…perfect for me!
Experts say you should have about twelve inches in insulation in your attic. If you don’t, you may want to look at adding some to keep your house warm. As an added bonus it will also help keep your house cool in the summer. There are now a lot of eco friendly options available for consumers so this isn’t such a painful task.
I hope this helps everyone who lives in a location that has more than an occasional day of below freezing temps. There are more suggestions out there, these were just my favorites and the ones I’m most likely to actually do. For more ideas click here: Better Homes & Gardens.