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Home Forums General Discussion Getting ready for winter NOW!

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    Hi folks, fall is in the air and winter just around the corner so maybe now is a good time to do some winterizing around our homesteads before it gets too late. Here’s a few ideas to help you be more comfortable, safe, and save big money. NOTE: not all ideas work for all people so use your best judgement!

    1. Close windows, doors, and vents tight.

    In warm weather we all open these for air conditioning and sometimes forget to close them so take a tour around your place and shut tightly any openings that will allow cold air into your house.

    2. Look for leaks and seal them.

    While touring the house look for air leaks and gaps around door, windows, etc. Expanding foam, caulk, and weatherstripping is cheap and will save big bucks in heat loss.

    3. Get or make draft blockers.

    Most doors leak air around the base. you can bunch up old towels or make a draft blocker to keep that cold air out.

    4. Insulate your windows.

    Windows lose alot of heat and you can keep this heat in with a simple insulating blanket. you can use old quilts or make a window quilt out of batting and material cut to your window size. Attach to top of window and roll it up on sunny days to allow sunlight in and down on cold nights to keep heat in. Try to seal it tight round window frame at night.

    5. Create dead air.

    Covering your windows with clear plastic blocks wind penetration and creates a dead air space that acts as insulation keeping cold out and heat in. Ready made plastic sheets are available at most stores or cut and staple from a big roll. I use cardboard strips and staple thru these around edges to keep wind from ripping loose the plastic.

    6. Close off rooms you don’t need.

    Most homes have rooms rarely used so close these off and close the heat vents in these rooms for winter. Seal around the door bottom to keep heat from leaking in. Conserve space that has to be heated and if things are real tight move people into a shared room for sleeping as many bodies in a small room will heat it without much extra heat needed.

    7. Break out the quilts, sweaters, and long johns.

    extra layers on your bed and clothing will keep you toasty without heating a whole room. Get kids and elderly thermal underwear.

    8. Check your faucets.

    Outside faucets may need to be turned off at the source and insulated. Drain and store hoses and blow out your sprinkler system. Indoor faucets may need to be left running a small stream to prevent freezing. RV tanks should be winterized with appropriate potable antifreeze.

    9. Get your vehicle ready.

    Antifreeze should be fresh, windshield wipers new, tires in good shape, batteries in good shape, oil changed and possibly use a different winter weight, and heater in good order. Do you need tire chains ? When did you have your car tuned up last ? Have an ice scraper, first aid kit, food, water, tow strap, and blanket in the car if you get stranded or slide off the road. Cell phone if you have one.

    10. Put away summer tools.

    Gather up your summer tools and fix or replace broken ones. Coat metal edges with wd40 for rust prevention. Empty the mower gas and store everything in a dry place. Tarps work if you don’t have a shed.

    11. Get out the winter tools.

    wheres your snow shovel and winter boots ? Get some de-icer for the walks. Sart the snow blower and check fluids. OR hire a kid to shovel your walks and save you back and neck!

    12. Rain barrels, water troughs, and ice.

    Any container left with water will freeze and probably burst so store your water where its warm and empty outside containers. Clean your gutters and remove anything that will cause a dangerous ice dam from your roof.

    13. Check your heaters.

    Dirty air filters waste heat and money. Propane hoses get weak, fittings get loose, and thermostats break. If you need a serious repair get professional help and do it before the heater is needed.

    14. Get wood stoves ready.

    Inspect them for rust, leaks, and cracks. Clean your flues and chimneys or have someone do it. Chimney fires kill people and destroy many homes each winter. Consider investing in an ecofan for your woodstove. If you haven’t got your wood yet check at the lumber mills for slabs which are cheap and good source of wood.

    15. Get propane and heating oil now.

    Propane and heating oil will go higher in winter so get it now while prices are lower. Check propane stoves for leaks and old hoses and get a cm detector, gas detector and extra fire extinguisher.

    16. Check detector batteries.

    Detector batteries should be new for winter and test each unit. I recommend fire, smoke, cm, and gas detectors for all homes and get an extra fire extinguisher. Have a family fire plan and teach your kids.

    17. Kerosene, gas, and carbon monoxide kill.

    Do not store or refill kerosene appliances in the house. Do not use these to start a fire. Don’t start your car in the garage and let it run or carbon monoxide will enter the home. Do not use barbecues of any kind to heat a home or confined space.

    18. Insulate attics.

    If you have the money add another layer of insulation to your attic above the ceiling as this is where alot of heat is lost. Also seal the attic opening for winter to keep heat loss down.

    19. Most states offer winter heat programs for the elderly, disabled, and low income. Don’t let your pride keep you from using these programs if you need them. Staying safe and healthy is smart.

    20. Take care of yourself.

    If you get sick you won’t be able to work or care for your family and homestead. Get your flu shot, get a physical, take a multi-vitamin and extra vitamin C. Eat healthy and exercise. Stay socially active but avoid large groups and people that are obviously sick. Don’t shake hands and wash your hands often- people will understand. Flu kills thousands every winter.

    21. If you have solar power.

    Check you panels and connections and make sure they can withstand high winds and heavy snow loads. Leaving snow around panels will act as a reflector and might increase panel output. Be careful getting on roofs to scrape panels. I use a pole and scraper from the ground. Replace bad batteries, refill water in low batteries, and put an insulating blanket around batteries to keep them warm.

    22. Rethink your expenses.

    If money is tight you may want to rethink unnecessary expenses like sattelite tv, cable, etc. I know we all like these but in tough times keeping the lights, heating the house, and buying food must come first. Enjoy family time, playing games, making crafts, and talking. You will be warmed many times over being closer to family.

    I hope you all have a wonderful and safe fall and winter!

    If you have other ideas please feel free to share.


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