Tuesday, January 2, 2018

11 Tips For Winterizing Your Home

It is the 2nd day of January, 2018 and we are experiencing some brutally cold temperatures with sub-zero wind chills.  We’re not prepared for these types of weather conditions here in the Deep South.  The news is stating that this is the coldest weather we have seen here in years.  

We live in a 130+ year old farmhouse and, although we completely renovated the house prior to moving in, there are always steps that we can all take to winterize our homes.  Here are 11 tips that can help keep your electric bills down and your house warm…

·       Hopefully, you had your HVAC technician out to inspect your heating unit prior to turning it on.  If you haven’t, consider scheduling an appointment asap to ensure your heater is working at optimum efficiency.   Be sure to replace your furnace filter every month during the Winter months to help the heater work more effectively.  Also, make sure all of your cold air returns aren’t blocked by furniture or furnishings. We have been using cast iron propane fireplace heaters in the living room and bedroom fireplace openings so we haven’t used our furnace for the last two years.  If you’re not using your HVAC, sealing off the floor vents help to keep drafts at bay.
·        Make sure to seal off drafty doors and windows with clear heavy plastic.   If you have multiple doors but only use one or two as entrance/egress, seal the other doors with heavy plastic as well.  You can hang thermal curtains on your windows to help prevent drafts.  Make sure that there aren’t any drafts coming in under doors.  Consider adding draft-stoppers or, simply, rolled up towels, along the bottoms of doors and windows.
·        If you have a conventional electric water heater, wrap the heater with insulation and/or heavy blankets.  If you have a gas water heater, do not do this due to dangerous safety hazards it can cause.   We have a tankless electric hot water heater, so this is a step we can skip.  Consider installing a timer on your electric water heater so it isn’t heating a whole tank of water when you don’t need it.  
·        Don’t forget your water pipes.  The hot and cold pipes should be insulated to prevent frozen pipes during the Winter months.   Our water is pumped from the natural spring a bit of a distance from the house.  Our first Winter here, we ended up with frozen pipes in the spring house.  Trying to insulate pipes in freezing weather is something I wouldn’t recommend, based on personal experience.  Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead during the warm months to assure that all of your pipes are well insulated before the temperatures drop.   Also, don’t forget the pipes in your basement or crawlspace.   Sometimes out of sight is out of mind can cause serious problems to arise.
·        How is your weather stripping around your doors and windows?   Check to make sure that it is sealing properly and, if not, replace it.
·        If you haven’t done so yet, install foam insulators behind the wall plates of light switches and electrical outlets to cut down on drafts.
·        Install a dryer vent seal to prevent cold air from entering or being drawn back into your home.  Don’t piece mill your laundry.  Do all of your loads of laundry in one day (if possible).  Use the clothes dryer for consecutive loads of laundry. This conserves the energy that would be needed to heat up the dryer several times and will generate heat in your laundry room, too.
·        If you have an attached garage, cut down on the drafts by insulating the garage walls and ceiling and only open the garage door to pull in and out.  Keep the doors closed otherwise.  And, never leave your car running (to warm up) while it is in the garage.  Carbon monoxide will be released into the house, which is extremely dangerous.
·        If you have folding attic stairs, insulate the door and, if you don’t access the attic often, seal over the opening with heavy plastic.
·        If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, keep the doors closed to all of the other rooms (and keep the vents closed in those rooms).  Keep all of the closet doors closed.   Dress warmly and always wear socks and shoes/slippers.  This allows you to keep the thermostat set at a lower temperature.  By dressing warmly when you are inside you are less likely to raise the temperature on the thermostat.
·        If you’re cooking, try to use your oven during the colder hours of the day to help heat your home.  You can cook your meals, then re-heat when it is time to serve meals.

These are things you can do now.  Consider making a list of other things you can do to winterize your home that can be accomplished before the next Winter rolls around.  

Stay Safe & Stay Warm!!

To A Life Of Simplicity
Happy Homesteading!
~ Susan & Rick
Celtic Acres Farm

If you have a question or comment, you can leave it below, and I will do my best to respond.  Please keep your comments civil and clean.  I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments. 

About the Author:
Susan along with her husband, Rick, are the owners of Celtic Acres Farm, an organic, self-sufficient, off-grid farm where they raise chickens, ducks, goats and a pig, rescue dogs and cats, grow their own heirloom, non-gmo produce, create handmade crafts and home décor items, and strive to live a self-sustaining lifestyle while attempting to carve out that little piece of paradise where they can live free, breathe free and commune with nature.
Celtic Acres Farms is committed to healthy animals, a greener planet, recycling-reusing-repurposing, while maintaining our rural heritage and sharing it with others. We believe that we must all lead the way to a more sustainable future while never forgetting the things of the past. 

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