Getting Your Home Ready For Winter
A smart homeowner knows that with enough preparation, it’s possible to save money in the chaotic winter period. Among other things that you should prepare for before winter comes knocking, the usual problems you’ll encounter include pest control, busted pipes and a spike in utility bills.
Even though everyone knows that winter is coming, most will do little or nothing to prepare for the season. The excuse is always “I don’t have the time”. The following tips can help winter proof your home within a relatively short amount of time and by spending as little money as possible.
Focus On the Areas in Your Home That Are Affected Most
There are areas in your home that are more vulnerable to winter damage than others. Focus on what matters most. Remember we’re working on a clock here.
It’s impractical to think that you won’t have to adjust the thermostat up when the first snowflakes fall. Increase in utility bills can be a pain, unless you find a way to offset this.
- Seal Your Leaks Promptly – You can save up to 10-20% of your energy bills simply by sealing cold leaks before winter hits (according to the U.S Department of Energy). You can purchase a weather stripping tape for less than $10 a roll and you can use this to seal your doors and windows that may leak. You will also need to purchase scissors and a tape measure for this task. The best time to install weather-stripping is before the temperature hits less than 40 degrees F. For the leaking walls you can use a caulking gun, which is less than $20. For less than $100 you can prepare your home for the cold winter months.
Low-Cost Pipe Winter-proofing
Pipes can be very problematic in the winter months; and it has nothing to do with how old your pipes are or how old your house is. Once the temperature approaches the 20 degree F mark, even the newest of pipes are vulnerable because the freezing water running through them. Why? Water expands when it freezes and the expansion can cause minor damage like leaks, or massive damage like pipes bursting which will result in significant expenses.
There are two main ways to protect your pipes from bursting in the winter months:
- Foam Insulation – for less than $2, you can purchase 6 feet of foam which you can use to cover pipes in your crawl space, basement and the area under the cabinets. The only other items in this DIY pipe protection mechanism are scissors and a tape measure. The best part is that you can use the same insulation to protect your $900 worth of repair money that you would have used to repair bursts pipes.
- Sealant – Seal any small leaks before the temperatures starts rapidly dropping to retain as much heat in your pipes as you can. There are varieties of sealants that include strong adhesive tapes or putties which you can purchase for $5 – $10.
Pests and Animals
Winter is a terrible season for every living creature including pests, rodents and wild animals. Since your home will be warmer than their natural environment outside, they will try to find ways of getting in for the warmth. Wild animals like possums and raccoon’s may cause a huge mess or significant damages when scavenging your home for food.
Affordable Solutions To Keep Pests Away
Mice are the biggest invaders in your home during winter. To fend them off, you should invest in mouse traps. There are the traditional ones and the sticky ones and you can buy several traps for about $3 per trap. Strategically place them in areas you suspect the mice will be coming in from. When you find a trapped mouse be sure to kill it to prevent it from coming back, or worse…coming back with friends.
- You can also buy cotton balls (for less than $10), soak them in peppermint oil and strategically place them in the areas that mice could have easy access to. Mice hate peppermint so this is a viable, cost-effective solution.
- For possums and raccoon’s, you can purchase a garbage lock for about $30 – $40 which will keep the pests from wreaking havoc in your trash.
You can save a ton of money spent on repairs simply by preparing your home ahead of time. And the best part is that all of this can be done via Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods. For serious home repair or for advanced weather proofing, you should of course contact a professional immediately to minimize the damages that would only be exacerbated when winter strikes.
Take the Next Step:
Even the best DIY methods can fail and end up costing thousands to fix. If you need a permanent solution, sometimes a small, low interest loan is recommended to keep your family warm and secure in the winter months. Click here to get started.