Today I'm sharing some winterization tips with you. This is what I'm up to right now. Winterizing my new-to-me house is what will keep us warm and safe this winter. My house is a beautiful old home, built in 1923. There is a lot of work to do. I'm becoming a regular at my local hardware store. Yes, I'm learning to take care of many of my own home winterization projects and home maintenance!
Can we talk windows? My upstairs windows are original and vintage. That means they are 95 years old and I'm sure you can guess that they are not great at keeping out the winter's cold.
I'm getting to be a pro at caulking! I was able to feel the cold air coming in where my windows meet the frame. A few minutes of caulking each window stopped so much warm air loss from my house! Be careful and only caulk the parts of the window that don't move. You don't want to seal it shut.
I'm still surprised that I've put plastic insulating film on my windows. Honestly, in the past, I thought it was a very tacky thing to do. But, when your heat escapes out of the windows, a girl has to do what a girl has to do! It's not hard and not expensive to put the plastic film on your windows. AND, it doesn't look tacky. Promise, it doesn't.
On the left side, I already cut the excess plastic off. You can see the plastic on the bottom window sill where I haven't trimmed it yet. You honestly can't see it unless you are inches from the window frame. When you blow-dry the plastic film, it gets smooth and you can see through it perfectly. And, I put the plastic film under my blinds. My windows are not drafty anymore and look fine! Did you know window treatments also help insulate windows? Obviously, I'd have to have the blinds closed to benefit from an insulating effect. Just a few handy winterization tips to you from this gal in Wisconsin.
My doors also needed a little winterization. I added permanent weatherstripping to the bottom of some of my doors. This helped seal a lot of the draft coming in along the bottom of the door. I'm sure you can see my door is old - but this weatherstripping on the bottom of the door was very helpful.
I also discovered a few storm windows in my garage. Wish I would have found more! I switched out my screens to storm windows on my outer door. That was much easier to do than I thought it would be. All I had to do was take out the screen, pop in the storm window in and turn the latch to hold the window in.
Here is what my door looks like with my storm window. That has made a huge difference with the amount of cold air coming into my house. That storm door automatically closes behind me when I'm bringing in groceries. When it closes quickly behind me, it helps keep my warm air in and that cold air out.
Moving to the front of the house, I have a beautiful enclosed entryway. That enclosed entryway is really cold. I need to keep the door on the interior side of the entryway closed. And, I've found out how helpful those stuffed draft stoppers are. You can see the light coming through and I'm sure you can imagine how much cold air came in. These draft stoppers are not expensive. Keep your eyes open and you can get them on sale for less than $5.00. Or, if you like sewing, make your own!
I also have learned that an area rug on hardwood floors have insulating value and keep your feet a little warmer : )
Heading downstairs to the basement, I'd like to remind you to make sure you are changing your filter as often as you should be. Here's a hint, I've learned they can be less expensive when ordering them online. As soon as I change my filter, that's my cue to order new ones. When I had some HVAC work done, the guys were telling me that they go out on furnace service calls and the reason the furnace doesn't work is that the filter is so dirty there is no airflow to the furnace. Yes, some furnace filters can be expensive, but, an unnecessary service call will you cost a lot more.
If you look at the top right of the above picture, you can see there is a checklist that the furnace service company fills out every time they look at my furnace and air conditioning. When your furnace is inspected, talk to the person and get some tips. He marked my air filter container for me so I would know which way the filter goes into the filter case. He showed me how to tell if the filter is dirty and he also showed me how to open and close vents for the winter.
You don't want to neglect to winterize the exterior of your home either! Here are some outdoor winterization and home maintenance suggestions.
I have a treed lot and in the late fall, one of the important chores is the gutters need to be cleaned. I have gutters on my lower level, which I can do. My ladder easily reaches the first-floor gutters so I feel comfortable doing that. However, I hire someone who is qualified and insured to clean my second-floor gutters. Do what is safe for you to do and hire a pro for what you can't do!
Speaking of trees, make sure that you do get your trees looked at, especially if there are any concerns of disease or dead branches. I did and yes, I asked a lot of questions of the arborist. We now have a plan on how to keep my trees healthy and keep us safe from weak tree limbs.
One other reminder. Every year, winter does come! Take a little bit of time to make sure you are prepared. This year, my new home has a sidewalk that I need to keep clear along with my driveway. For the first time, I have a snowblower and have practiced using it during a light snowfall. When the big storm hits (and it will), I'll know how to use my equipment. It's a battery operated, cordless snowblower and I'm comfortable I can use it properly! The batteries are fully charged! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....
I also made sure my shovel was still in good shape and that I have ice melt handy for my stairs and the walk to my car.
A little preparation and planning go a long way toward being ready for winter. You've invested a lot in your home and you want to keep it comfortable, warm and safe.
Winter is coming. Stay warm, cozy and safe!
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