The first things that probably come to mind when you think of the things you like about winter are Christmas, gifts, playing in the snow, and a long vacation. The cold weather and the chores you have to do to prepare for it likely ranks low in your list. No need to get grumpy though. Unless your name is Scrooge, you should be excited about the holidays. In fact, you should be thrilled. The thing is, you should not fret about having to prepare for winter. You’re doing it for your loved ones after all. Follow the winter preparedness tips below so you can be sure that you and your loved ones will stay warm, comfortable and well-fed during the holidays.
Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Home
The hot days are over and the cold is slowly inching its way over. This is the perfect time to check and prepare your home for winter.
Avoid Heat Loss
Check your home inside out. Look for cracks, holes and other ways for the heat to get out. See if your doors and windows close properly. If you have an attic, go up there and fix what needs to be fixed. The same goes with the basement.
According to Rise, 35% of heat in the home is lost through the walls. One reason that happens is the presence of air leaks. Use a candle or an incense tick to locate these leaks easier and faster. Simply watch the smoke and wait for it to blow sideways.
Aside from damages where cold could seep in, the walls conduct heat through physical contact. Yep, by merely touching the wall, the heat inside you will transfer through the walls.
To prevent heat loss via conduction, you may need to do some remodelling. The best way to tackle this is to place insulation between the inner and outer walls. This means you have to take down your existing walls and build it right this time. If you can afford this, better do it now before winter comes.
Heat is lost through doors and windows 25% of the time. This is an easier and cheaper way to prepare for winter compared to building new walls. Simply repair the cracks and other air leaks by applying caulk.
The Gorilla White 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk will not only block the hot air from going out, it will also keep rainwater from seeping in. The 100% silicone sealant is 100% waterproof. Plus, it’s resistant to mold and mildew. Furthermore, it will never crack, shrink or turn yellow in the long run.
Another 25% of heat is lost through the attic. When hot air rises, it will go to your attic, if you have one. Attics are often neglected thus cracks, holes, vents and such are potential escape hatches for the heat. Don’t let this happen by fixing these damages. Check the ceiling for parts with insulation is thin or in poor condition. Replace the ones that need replacing.
If you have a fireplace, you need to check it for air leaks, too. Aside from caulk, you can also use expandable foam like LocTite Tite Insulating Foam Sealant to block the leaks. The said sealant has 4 times more density than conventional foams, which makes it more durable. Its UV resistant feature keeps it from turning brittle and dark. Plus, it’s pretty flexible despite its strong adhesive property.
Check Your Garage Door
Take a good look at your garage door if you have one. Look for parts that need fixing especially along the trim and flashing. These seals break over time so you should check them out every now and then, especially when you prepare for winter. When the seal is damaged, cold breeze will leak into your home as well as dirt, water, and mice.
If your garage door seal needs replacing, try the Universal Aluminum and Rubber Garage Door Bottom from M-D Building Products. The 18 feet of low temperature vinyl seal keeps its flexibility under cold temperature reaching -30 degrees making sue it does the job no matter the weather condition. The set comes with an aluminum extrusion to keep the seal insert secure. This seal can be used on both steel and wooden garage doors.
Be particularly vigilant about rotting wood for those with wooden garage doors. If you see a portion of the wood that’s already soft or has rotted, apply a waterproof seal.
Protect Your Pipes
Apply rubber sleeves or pipe wrap on your pipe to keep them from bursting. The pipes can expand due to the cold weather. When this happens, you’ll be glad you wrapped them in something like the M-D Building Products 4929 Fiberglass Pipe Wrap.
The fiberglass pipe wrap measures 3 inches x 25 feet and 1/2 inch thick. It mainly uses fiberglass insulation to do its job. The clear plastic wrap included in the set is used to cover the pipe wrap to protect it further from moisture.
Tips to Stay Stay Warm
One of the most obvious ways you can prepare for winter is to make sure you’ll stay warm. Never underestimate the cold. With the way the weather has been acting up in recent years (global warming, everyone?), you should always be prepared for the worst.
Invest On A Heater
There are homes that have fireplaces and furnaces. Others use wood stoves, gas heaters and even boilers. Most homes, however, have electric space heaters.
If you don’t have a heater, now is the right time to get one. The Lasko CC23150 Ultra Ceramic Heater best feature is its 3D motion heat, which is made possible by power controlled louvers and side-to-side oscillation. The heater can provide heat rather quickly thanks to a fan and 1500 watts of power.
You can adjust the thermostat using the electronic touch remote control with remote storage. There’s also a vacuum filter that make sit efficient and an easy grip handle for easy handling.
Gather Enough Fuel
Most people would rather stay indoors than deal with the slippery roads and thick snow. Before the snow starts falling, you should stock up on supplies including fuel. You need fuel to cook your food and boil water for your hot drinks. That said, you should stock up on food and water just so you don’t have to go out that much and in case a snow storm comes and leaves you stranded in your home.
If you have a fireplace or furnace at home, you also need to gather enough firewood to last you through the whole winter. You can also use the firewood for cooking if you have a wood stove.
Winter Preparedness Tips On What to Wear
It’s that time of the year when you should be rummaging through your closet and looking for your winter clothes. The reason why you should be doing this now is to make sure they’re still okay to wear. You may want to wash them first before wearing so it’s a good idea to clean them before you actually need them.
Also, it’s possible that mice got to your winter clothes. If so, you need to repair or have them repaired. If they’re beyond saving, then at least you have time to buy what you need.
Depending on where you are, you may or may not need to wear lots of layers. The most common winter attire is a jacket over your clothes. When it gets really cold, however, that won’t be enough to keep you from trembling.
Let’s start with your base layer. One thing you should know is that cotton kills. According to this technical explanation by Gizmodo, cotton absorbs 27 times their weight in water. The water from sweat or from when the fabric gets wet will not dry out as fast as you’d want. If its winter and your cotton clothes get wet, you’ll feel even colder. This is the reason why campers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts are advised not to wear cotton while doing their activities.
Make sure you have enough non-cotton clothes like wool or silk. Clothes made of polypropylene fabric are also effective against cold and hypothermia.
Put a jacket, sweater or coat over your base layer. Depending on how cold it is, you may need more than one. The Wantdo Men’s Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket is a good piece to own. It is made of 240 g polyester, which helps retain the heat and keep the body warm. The waterproof ski jacket is also windproof. This is courtesy of the adjustable cuff, stretchable glove, interior snap skirt and drawcord hem, storm hood, and soft shell.
Aside from your coat or jacket, you must also make sure that you have warm pants, gloves, mittens, socks, scarves, and headwear. If it gets really, really cols, you may need to wear thermal underwear.
When you have to go outside during winter, you’ll need a good pair of waterproof boots. If you fail to prepare for winter now and a snow storm drops by later, you will be forced to go outside in the cold and do the tasks you should have done.
When that happens, the need for the proper attire is even greater. Aside from the layers of clothes, you need a pair of boots. The boot in the video above is the Women’s Ice Maiden II from Columbia. Women need a good pair for when they have to go out during winter.
Each pair of Columbia Ice Maiden II is made of high quality leather and textile while the sole is made of rubber. It boasts of the Techlite lightweight midsole and the Omni-Group advanced traction sole. The waterproof boots come with 200g insulation.
For the men, the Kamik Greenbay 4 Cold Weather Boot is a good choice for roughing it out in the snow. It’s made of durable 600 denier Nylon along with a synthetic rubber sole. The shaft measures 13 inches from the arch while the boot opening is around 20 inches. The Kamik Greenbay 4 is waterproof and comes with a removable 8mm thermal guard liner as well as a hook-and-loop strap.
Preparing winter clothes is something that should not be taken lightly. On the average, 1,500 people in the United States die from hypothermia. If a sudden cold wave strikes and you’re caught without the proper clothes, then you’ll be in a heap of trouble.
(Related: Heat Options to Prepare Your Home for Winter)
If you have old family members, you should take extra precautions to keep them warm this winter. There are cases of the elderly dying from hypothermia while inside an air-conditioned room. Of course, infants and young children are more vulnerable to cold. Don’t forget to get them some proper winter clothes, as well.
Make Sure Your Home is Fireproof
FEMA estimated that in 2017, around 191,800 residential building fires were caused by cooking and another 33,800 were because of heating. With that much fire in a year, it should be a priority to invest on ways to fireproof your home. It’s even more important the next several days since you’ll be using heaters more come winter and cooking a lot this Christmas.
Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher
Every home should have a fire extinguisher. In fact, you should have more than one fire extinguisher inside your home. Make sure there is one in the kitchen, one in the garage, and another somewhere else in the house.
If you have other structures on your property, say a barn or a stable for animals, it would be great if you have a fire extinguisher nearby.
The First Alert 1038789 Standard Home Fire Extinguisher utilizes monoammonium phosphate to douse fire. The body is made of durable metal while the valve and trigger are also made of commercial grade metal.
The US Coast Guard-approved must-have comes with a color coded metal gauge that is resistant to corrosion. Plus, the fire extinguisher has a metal pull pin with safety seal to keep you from accidentally discharging it.
Inspect your fire extinguishers at least once a month to see if the safety seals are still intact. Check for any visible damage and make sure the hoses are not blocked, as well.
(Related: How to Have A Fireproof Home On A Budget)
Check Your Smoke Detector
Install smoke detectors in your home. There should be one at least 10 feet from the kitchen or where the stove is. Remember, there are more residential fires during winter than summer and this is because of heating equipment malfunctioning. That said, you should really get one to keep your family safe.
Prepare for winter and the dangers that come with it by investing on a life-saving device such as the First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm. This battery operated apparatus can sense smoke and carbon monoxide using electrochemical sensing technology and a photoelectric sensor. The sensor can also pick up signs of a huge fire by detecting larger particles. Once it detects smoke and carbon monoxide, the indicator lights will turn on while a blaring 85 decibel siren will go off alerting the residents.
The First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm is easy to handle. You don’t need a professional to install it since the instructions are pretty simple. This must-have for every home and building is also easy to use. It comes with single button you can use for testing the alarm and for turning the sound off. The battery slot for the can be accessed even if the smoke detector is already installed on the ceiling so replacing the AA batteries is not an issue.
Speaking of, you should always check the batteries. Replace them this fall to make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detector will not falter come winter.
Use Fire Retardant Paint
If you’re planning to do some repainting this fall, might as well use fire retardant paint. As the name implies, these paints keep fire from spreading as fast as it could. And just to be clear, they do not prevent fire.
Avoid or Get Rid of Flammable Items
Fire will not spread if there is nothing else that will catch. Even if a fire starts, you have a better chance of controlling it if there are no flammable materials nearby. One way is to make sure there are no flammable materials near your stove, chimney, and barbecue pits. If you have to use a candle, place it far from curtains, books and similar materials.
Make sure your yard stays clean. Fall means lots of dried leaves and other vegetation. They burn easy and fast. Clean your yard regularly. Check the roof and the gutters for dried leaves, as well. Doing so regularly will also help keep your roof and gutter in tiptop shape. Gutters filled with debris tend to overflow when it pours. This in turn can damage the roof, ceiling, and such.
Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Garden
Homesteaders know how important it is to tend to their garden or farm during fall. Preparing your garden for winter will help make things a lot easier when spring arrives. Plus, your soil will be in tiptop shape for the next planting season.
Get Rid of Rotting Plants
Aside from gathering the dead leaves, you also need to do some weeding. Most of the plants are dying at this stage of their lives. Pull them out so they won’t do harm especially since many insects and diseases are attracted to dying plants.
If you find infected plants, get rid of them properly. You can burn them if it is allowed or simply stuff them in a bag for throwing away. Never put these infected plants in the compost bin or pile.
On the other hand, the dead disease and pest free plants that you collect should be added to your compost pile or buried under trenches.
You also need to remove the actual weeds, not just your finished plants. Dig up those invasive weeds and dispose properly by burning or throwing them in the trash. Don’t put them in your compost pile or leave them in a pile somewhere on your garden or farm. These invasive plants are stubborn and will find a way to latch to the soil and grow.
Prep the Soil
Preparation is key to a successful garden. When it comes to winter preparedness tips for your garden, the number one thing to do is dig up the soil and add soil amendments. Gather your available compost and dig them into the soil. You can also add animal manure, rock phosphate, and bone meal.
These soil amendments will have enough time to integrate themselves to the soil. They will break down and make your soil healthier and ready for the next planting season.
As mentioned, you need to gather all the dead leaves so they won’t become fire hazards. You don’t have to throw them out, though. Turn them or some of them, at least, into compost.
(Related: Top Compost Bins You Need At Home)
Composting should be a regular thing in your household. Place a small compost container in the kitchen for kitchen scraps. Once filled, you can add the contents to your larger compost bin in your yard.
Now, for your garden. After removing the dead leaves and dying plants and digging up the soil, cover the ground with 1 to 6 inches of compost. Spread the compost as evenly as you can and try to cover as much as area as possible. This will keep the soil nutrient-rich even after winter.
(Related: Cheap and Easy DIY Compost Bins)
Prep Your Lawn
Your garden is not the only part of your yard you should prepare for winter. Prepare your lawn for the cold season by giving it a good trim. It has to about 2 1/2 inches high before the first freeze sets in. Any longer than that and the blades will only compress from all the snow. It’s also a good idea to apply fertilizer to your lawn this fall. Go for the organic kind.
Preparing the garden or farm for winter is a tedious but important task. In fact, it does not end with the winter preparedness tips we discussed above. There are a number of other things you can do to make sure your plants will have a good head start. Check out this EarthEasy list for more winter gardening tips.
There are tons of winter preparedness tips out there and this list barely scratches the surface. Make the most of the nice fall weather and start preparing for the cold. Gentleman Pirate Club has lots of tips on preparedness you can use for any situation and any season.