If there’s something Midwesterners know about it, it’s how to survive and thrive in the freezing cold of wintertime. With average temperatures in this region well below freezing, preparation is key. Here are some ways to start getting your home ready for the upcoming winter season.
Clear the yard
The first item of business is to clear away all the patio furniture and cushions. The only thing that can cause more damage to outdoor furniture than the unrelenting sun is the constant exposure to moisture that accumulating snow brings. Remove the cushions and give them a good pressure washing (or just use a regular water hose). Wipe down the hard surfaces of your furniture with a mild soap detergent and water. Once everything is nice and dry, store in the basement.
Next, move onto the yard itself. Clean up and bag any remaining leaves that may be left from fall to avoid killing your grass. Look for any sticks that need to be picked up and trim any overgrown bushes. Your lawn will thank you in the spring by looking nice and healthy now.
Anticipate ways to lower utility bills
When the temperatures plummet, your heat begins to work in overdrive. Any little thing you do to help your home conserve energy can take some of the burden off your heating system and therefore help lower your heating bill.
Windows are a common place for air to leak into your home especially if you notice any small gaps or cracks. A thrifty solution is to apply plastic to your windows to help better insulate against the cold. This website has a great tutorial to help you get started!
Another challenge of heating your home in the winter is figuring out the most economical way to keep your lower levels comfortable. Due to the fact that heat rises, your upper levels will usually be the warmest part of your home, though that is the place you spend the least amount of time. Try closing off the vents in any upstairs areas and open the vents in the basement. This will help keep your main living areas nice and toasty.
Optimize Your Thermostat
It's a misnomer that dropping your thermostat while you are away at work during the day will eventually save you money on your heat bill. It will not. The additional energy required to bring the entire house back up to a toasty temp once you get home requires far more energy than simply leaving the thermostat at a steady temperature always. So, set the thermostat at a steady lower temp (say 70-72°) and always wear a sweater or sweatshirt to keep your heat bill reasonable.
Cover your Basement Window Wells
Forgotten window wells are a prime spot for moisture to seep into your home due to clogged drains. Start off by cleaning out any leaves and debris from your window wells. Next, consider adding a protective dome over your window wells to keep snow and ice from accumulating in these areas which may cause leaking into your basement. Now is also a good time to check the caulking around your windows and doors and touch up any areas that may need it.
Midwest winters are no joke but once you get these items checked off your to-do list, you can rest assured that your home is ready for what lies ahead. Kick back and cozy up with a blanket and hot chocolate while enjoying the warmth of your home this winter.
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