Yes, it’s definitely that time of year. It’s cold at night and I’m really in the fall cleaning mood.(Does anyone else feel that way just from the fall wind blowing? Maybe I’m crazy and it’s only me….) It’s time to be getting the house ready for those winter storms. I know not all of my readers live in an area that gets winter storms but up here in the North we have to be prepared or we will spend all winter cold and counting the minutes until summer comes. There are several things you can do to get your homestead livable for those below zero temps and cold winter winds.Make sure the areas around the doors is sealed. For some reason our tiny little house has 3 doors to the outside which makes it very inefficient. One of the doors was broken into when the house was vacant(before we bought it, it was in foreclosure) so the area around the door is chipped away and the wind blows right in. You can buy seals for around the doors if the wind is coming in through them. As we have discovered this year, having a storm door really helps also. Last year we actually had snow coming in our front door and ever since we but a storm door on it this summer we can’t even feel a draft coming in around it. The nice storm door we bought will only have cost us about $60 and it was well worth it! And about that broken into back door…right now it would cost us about $1000 to fix, we've decided it will be more efficient to close off the entryway that it comes into. That way the drafts can’t come into the main part of the house.Seal the windows. You can buy the plastic window insulators for pretty cheap this time of year. It’s good to watch the Menards ad because they are on sale quite often right now. These will help with the drafts coming around poorly sealed window frames. I have a couple inefficient windows in my house that we are going to buy the window seals for this winter. My north windows don’t seem to be able to stand up to that cold north wind.
Consider your heat source. In the previous 2 winters we haven’t given this one much thought. But this year we started looking at alternative heat sources for the house. Since it was built in the 60’s it doesn't have the best insulation. We looked into getting a pellet or a wood stove since the living room is already set up for one. After looking over prices on both we decided that a wood stove is more efficient. We can get one that heats the whole house for only about $300 or less(after the Energy Star rebate!) and for us, wood is going to be cheap or free to get, whereas with pellets you have to continually buy them and be able to rely on getting to town to get them(which isn’t always an option for us when it really snows)
Have your pantry prepared. I talked about this in the article HERE.
Insulate your water pipes. If your water pipes are accessible it’s a good idea to insulate them. This way you can be less concerned about them freezing and it will also take less time and energy for your water to heat up and get to the source. Pipe insulation only costs a few dollars and it will be well worth the small investment.
Prepare your animals. If you have outdoor animals it’s a good idea to have a winter plan for the them as well. Like I talked about in the Stockpiling for Winter article it’s a good idea to have extra pet food on hand in-case you can’t get to town. You should also have a warm place for the animal. We will insulate our dog house and we put a heat lamp in the cat house.(Although, I’m a great big sucker and if it’s really bad we end up bring all the animals in the house…) We are also getting our chicken shed ready by insulating the inside(my husband had the genius thifty idea to reuse old chicken feed bags for the insulation. I’m so proud!) And we are putting a plexiglass window in the chicken shed so they will continue to lay through the winter(so they have light coming in when they can’t be outside)
Make a winter garden. Like last year I’m going to have a winter garden in the house(a bigger one this year!) so we can have some fresh produce without having to go to the store.
Make sure your cars are ready. Get the oil changed. Put in anti-ice windshield washer fluid. Check and replace the wiper blades if they need it. If you have a 4x4, make sure the 4 wheel drive is working properly(we tested out mine on vacation last weekend:D) Make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your car. I could write a whole article about just that but basically you need to make sure you have blankets, a change of clothes
I hope this article helps you get prepared for winter or at least puts you in that getting-ready mode. We personally know what it’s like to be snowed in in a very cold house for several days without being able to get to town. It’s not fun, but it makes your life easier when you’ve already prepared for the situation.
Any other ideas, or what do you do to get ready for winter?
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