I may live in Texas currently, but growing up in Ohio, I know what cold winters are like. Cold, icy and and if your home isn’t ready? Your budget won’t be either. Winter can kill your budget if you’re not careful and I don’t mean in a small way either. Back home I have seen heating bills as high as $600 per month and let’s face it. None of us could handle that kind of jump in our bills. Now is the perfect time though to stop that jump in costs from happening. How? With a little bit of winter preparation for your home.
The biggest thing to remember when you’re looking at getting your home ready for winter is that you’re not really looking for things that will be functional and pretty. As much as it might stink, sometimes the best preparations you can make are just downright ugly. Sure, you can dress them up but don’t let the way they look keep you from putting them into play. Your budget being safe from winter cost jumps is much more important than pretty windows. Harsh maybe, but the truth.
6 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter
Preparing your home for winter really isn’t all that hard, but let’s face it. It is work. I’ve admitted it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m lazy. I’m not the typical kind of lazy, I’m just exhausted. I work a ton to make our family dreams come true so I’m tired all of the time. Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of energy or time left to do much in the way of well…anything. This is important to know because it really does apply to every area in my life…including preparing my home for the weather. In other words? I like things that work, but things that are very easy to do as well. These 6 ways to prepare your home for winter are the ones that we use personally and no, they don’t take that much work.
Window Treatments – I’m not talking about pretty curtains or blinds. While those can help, I specifically mean, treating your windows with visqueen or another thick plastic sheeting. Most of you know this already, but just in case, I wanted to mention it because it’s especially important if you live in a home with single pane windows. Covering them up with plastic and then using a thick curtain (or even a blanket if you don’t have curtains) will keep cold air from coming in through any cracks and from radiating cold off of the glass. This will not only help you keep your home warm, but for just a few bucks, it will help you keep your heating bill down.
Related: Must Have Items for Winter Storms
Use Throw Rugs – If you have hardwood, laminate or tile floors, I’m sure you know how cold they can be in the winter. Using throw rugs can help insulate the floors a bit more than they usually are and help the house “feel” warmer. This one is important if you’re like me and freeze anytime your feet are cold. They don’t have to be expensive rugs, just something to help keep you from walking on cold floors.
Seal off rooms – If your home is bigger than your family uses, you may have unused rooms in them. If that’s the case, why are you heating them? Instead, shut the heating vents, shut the door and seal any cracks at the bottom or top of the door. If you want to go really gung ho with it, you could even use plastic to cover the door from top to bottom or shut off more than one room. We personally shut off a bedroom, a bathroom and a hallway that are not used for more than storage most of the time. My stockpile can handle colder temps since its mostly paper goods in that room and it saves me from having to try and heat rooms for basically no reason.
Prepare your furnace – Make certain before the temperatures turn cold that you’ve not only tested your furnace but that you’ve completed any repairs that need to be done too. You’ll also want to change the furnace filter too so that you start the season with a clean one and that you’ve bought enough to last the entire season. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure that it has fresh batteries too. It may seem silly to do all of this before it turns cold, but trust me…if your furnace needs repaired? You’ll thank me when you’re not freezing.
Be prepared to supplement – We live in an older house and as such, there are certain rooms that no matter what we do to prepare will be cold. In these rooms, we use THESE Lasko heaters to supplement the heat. They’re cheap but they put out more than enough warm air to heat the areas we need. You may prefer a different type of heater, but make sure that you have at least one on hand just in case you need it. Kerosene heaters usually put out quite a bit of heat, but they can also be dangerous. If you’re looking for something that can heat a larger room, you may want to look into an electric fireplace. They seem to do very well.
Start paying on your heating bill now – I know it seems silly, but paying on your heating bill, whether you heat by natural gas or electric, can save you quite a bit of stress when the temperatures turn icy. By paying earlier, you’ll build up a credit on your account (hopefully) so that later on when the bill is high, you’ll have that credit to fall back on. This one, in my opinion, is especially important if you heat by natural gas. Natural gas bills seem like they get more and more expensive every year so having that buffer may just save you from having your heat shut off if the bill gets too high and your income won’t cover it.
Most of this really is common knowledge and I know that you guys know them. It’s quite easy to forget things though and as I’m sure we all know; it never hurts to have a reminder. In addition to these things, make sure your family is set up with a winter emergency kit (in case of power loss or something else that could take days to drag out) and that you have a winter auto kit too. You never know what could happen.
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