There’s no denying it, winter is upon us. At least it is here in my neck of the woods. Our highs this week are supposed to be in the low to mid-20’s and single digits at night. Too damn cold if you ask me. To make it worse, we live in a not new house, and by not new I mean 30+ year old manufactured home. Now don’t get me wrong, it in great shape, we own it and the little 2.14 acre slice of heaven that it sits on, and we are fortunate for all that. But let’s be real, it has leaks, it could be better insulated, and it’s old so maintenance is a vicious circle. From all of this I have learned that there are some things you can do to prepare for the winter that will make things more comfortable for your family and save you a few bucks at the same time. These tips really apply to any home, not just old or manufactured ones, but the newer ones are probably less prone to some of these issues just because of less wear and tear.
Check ducting for leaks and tape up any problem areas. Make sure you check any pipes that are exposed and accessible (crawlspace, attic, and basement). Last year our heater just wouldn’t shut off and we couldn’t figure out why. Well, hubby crawled under the house and sure enough, a cat had taken up residence under there (it was warm I couldn’t blame her) but she had snuggled up to the warm ducting and popped it apart at one of the joints. Hubby took some tape under there and taped the ducts back together and presto! Problem solved. $3 bucks for tape and a dirty load of laundry was way better than the new furnace I had convinced myself we were going to have to buy.
Single Pane Windows suck! They let sooo much cold air in, or at least they let the heat out. Replace them with storm windows or if you’re broke like us, you can get some snazzy plastic insulator kits that will do the trick. All you need is some tape and a blow dryer. Also if you have a pet door like we do, you may want to get some 2” Styrofoam and cover it during the coldest parts of the winter. Our animals stay in the majority of the time when it’s cold anyway so it’s really not an inconvenience, but pet doors can really let the cold air in. Makes total sense since it’s basically a big gaping hole in the door right?
Have a stove or fireplace? Make sure you sweep that chimney. Not as much of a money saving tip, as a safety tip (you know, don’t burn your house down type of thing). Make sure you close the damper when you’re not using also because leaving it open can let the cold in making it more difficult to heat the house or to keep it heated.
Reverse your ceiling fan. It will help push warm air down since we all know hot air rises. This is something that is completely logical, but I don’t think about all the time. Partly because I don’t use the ceiling fan at all very much in the winter (and you can really tell by all the dust bunnies that come flying off the blades the first time I turn it on in the spring!) but I have tried reversing the fan now that I’ve consciously started thinking about it and you can sure tell that the dining room stays at a more constant temperature.
Insulate water pipes and outdoor water spigots (heat tape). This can save you a lot of headache by making sure these babies don’t freeze up and burst. I’ve had it happen and a year doesn’t go by that I don’t have several insurance claims come across my desk after the first big freeze of the season. Take $10 and 30 minutes and prevent it from happening to begin with. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Will any of these save you enough to buy that new sports car you’ve been looking at? Probably not (well if your ducting is loose and your literally heating the outside like we were, that could actually save a ton – we saw a $150 difference in one month after fixing that problem). It will help some though and every penny or tank of gas helps.
What helpful winterization tips do you have to share? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!