Things are cooling off around here some days. Not all of them; it’s about 91 degrees F out today. But then we’ve had nights down into the 30s, so I think I can definitely say winter is coming to our area.
This is a bigger home than I’ve had to deal with in years past, but it’s also better insulated. That’s a big help. There are still things that should be done to homes to get ready for winter.
Check for Drafts
If you can feel air coming in, or see an opening, you have a place for the cold to come in. At our old home, there were visible openings as well as windows that just weren’t tight enough to keep the cold out. This home is much newer, so there’s less of a problem.
If you find an opening, caulk or weatherstripping may help, depending on the kind of opening you’re dealing with.
Have Your Heater Checked
Having a professional check your heating system is a very good idea. They can confirm everything is working correctly. You may also want to check filters and replace as necessary. This will help keep air flowing efficiently.
Clean the Gutters
Gutters along the roof are much prone to becoming filled with leaves and other dirt. Clean them out so that water flows through them easily. This gives you more control over how water flows off your house.
Have Your Chimney Inspected
This is very important, doubly so if you enjoy having a fire in the fireplace.
Check Detector Batteries
You should have several smoke detectors in your home, and check the batteries regularly. Many of you have hopefully done this with the time change over the weekend, but if not do so now.
A carbon monoxide detector can also be a good idea. Have one on each level of the house at least, and near or in bedrooms is also a good idea. Some plug into your regular power outlets and do not need batteries.
Both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have test buttons. Use it to make sure their alarms really do work.
Install Storm Windows or Insulate Windows
If you have storm windows, this is the time of year to put them up. If you don’t and you need more insulation on your windows you have a few options.
In our house last year we put bubble wrap up in one window that was not well sealed. This kept the room significantly cooler in summer and helped in winter as well. It creates a layer of air, so that it’s harder for the cold outside to come in.
Blankets or heavy curtains can also help some.
Insulate Water Pipes
If you’re likely to get freezing weather, know which pipes need extra insulation at this time of year. I had frozen pipes one year at the old house, highly unusual for the area, and I am quite grateful that nothing burst. But waiting for the ice to melt so that toilets could be flushed and showers taken was kind of a pain.
Dress Warm Rather Than Heat the House
Just remember that heating the house is not the only way to stay warm in cold weather. Within reason, you can just put on a sweater, thick socks and warm shoes to keep warm. It’s much cheaper over time to heat your body than to heat your home, so long as you aren’t risking overdoing it.
Find the right balance for your family and you can really cut your heating bills.