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What do deer mice, ground squirrels and skunks all have in common? Yes, they are among the long list of potential vermin who can invade your home, but there is a reason for that. They hibernate in the winter and this is why they might try to burrow their way into your attic or basement. They’re just looking for a place to chill until it gets warmer. Of course, many of us take the same hibernating approach when it comes to winter.
We’ll hunker down with enough food and Netflix movies to keep us indoors for entire weekends! Spending more time in your home during the winter means you should find ways to make the most out of that living space. Investing the time and money to prepare your home for winter is a wise decision. Let’s assume you’ll always have Wi-Fi access, power and snacks in the fridge. What else can you do to make sure your home is ready for winter?
If you have a working fireplace, then you’ll want to have it professionally cleaned and inspected before the first log of the season is lit. Next, you should make sure your wood is split and properly stacked. That means pieces no bigger than six inches in diameter and off the ground so air can circulate. There is also a right way and wrong way to get a fire blazing. For instance, did you know you should start a small fire to warm up the chimney before the bigger logs go on? Now you do.
How many times over the course of the winter do you hear a family member or roommate say, “It’s freezing in here?” Typically, that comment is followed by a mad dash to the thermostat to crank up the heat. The issue then becomes is your heating system up to the challenge of keeping your warm and cozy?
As with your fireplace, you should always start the season with a thorough inspection of your heating systems. Perhaps this is the year you make the transition to a propane heating system? This type of heating can have a major impact on your monthly fuel bill. Making the switch is not as complicated as you might think. Something to consider if your heating bills are skyrocketing.
Flip the Ceiling Fans
One quick fix to help distribute the heat in the home is to reverse your ceiling fans. With heat, you want the blades spinning clockwise. Remember science class? Heat rises so the clockwise spinning creates an updraft that actually pushes that warm air down. Now you know the basics of thermodynamics.
Replace Your Windows
You know that your weather stripping around windows is vital to keeping out the cold air. However, even the most effective weather stripping might not mitigate all the chills coming from old windows. This could be a perfect reason to replace your old windows with newer Energy Star rated models. These windows have many energy efficient features that can play a big role in reducing your monthly power bills. Plus, new windows mean the potential for increased home value. That will be helpful when you decide to set up a line of home equity credit or want to refinance your current mortgage loan.
Before the first snow falls, you should head up to the roof to make sure there are no potential problems up there. If you see some shingles that need fixing, then you might be able to get away with hiring an experienced handyman to make the repairs. That beats replacing the entire roof. As long as you have the ladder out, you’ll also want to clean out the rain gutters. This will help cut back on the potential for icicle buildup. Additionally, make sure your downspouts are pushing the flow of rainwater at least four feet away from your foundation, that will help prevent cracks from ice.
Refill Your Winter Essentials
Refilling your winter essentials doesn’t necessarily mean stocking up on the hot coco (although that is important!). Instead, you want to make sure you have salt for the sidewalks and a proper shovel for digging out. If you already invested in a snow blower, then make sure it is running properly. You don’t want to wait until the white stuff shows up for this prep work to begin!
You’ll be able to enjoy your winter “hibernation” a lot more knowing your home is safe, secure and warm.