This post provides some tips for the winter preparation. The post contains affiliate links. That is, we will receive a reward if anyone uses the links to purchase anything. There will be no additional charge at the buyers’ end.
Applying new caulk to seal the window edges is an easy DIY that any family can afford. Different types of caulk can be found in Home Depot, Lowes, or on Amazon. Caulk comes in popular colors like white, grey, or brown. It can even be transparent too. Please read instructions and material compositions before you purchase. Some caulks are suitable for bathroom fittings, some are suitable for the interior side of windows, some are good for exterior work.
For caulking a window where a wood trim meets the exterior siding, it is better to use a polyurethane sealant. A polyurethane sealant is an adhesive that can keep seal gaps and cracks. Moreover, polyurethane sealant is strong and waterproof. We do not use polyurethane sealant for interior caulking because it is too strong to replace later, and also because it looks a bit rough. We stay with regular white or transparent caulks for sealing the interior side of the windows.
A few more relevant tips: (1) Whatever caulk you choose, always use a caulk gun. A good caulk gun is a good friend if you plan to do the caulking DIY every year. We have a caulk gun that we have been using for a few years. (2) Keep the leftover caulk in an airtight location. We attempt to seal the open ends of the caulk tubes using ziplocks and rubber bands. Caulks will not remain usable forever but may remain good for use for a few months if covered well. Polyurethane sealant is difficult to save after opening but you can try the same ziplock and rubber band trick and keep the unused portion good for a few days if not a week.
Make your home feel warmer with the heat of the kitchen
There was a time when people used wood burning stove for both cooking and keeping home warm. Time has changed. Gas or electric stoves are used for cooking. People do not cook everyday either. The use of microwave to heat leftover food is common. Therefore, killing two birds — cooking and home heating — with one stone is no more an option. However, if you use the regular oven for baking, you still have a chance to use the heat to bring some warmth to your home.
Leaving the oven door open after using it keeps the surrounding warm. That said, with children around — even teenagers, leaving the oven door open might be a safety hazard. If the kitchen space is not open to all, or when the kids are taking a nap, keeping the door of a hot oven might be an option.
Try to do some of the cooking and baking in the evening. That way, you can leave the oven-door open at night. The heat from the kitchen will transfer to other rooms in the evening, especially the living room if it is close to the kitchen.
Use fuzzy socks
There are some amazing socks to keep the feet comfortable during the winter. A pair of fuzzy fleece-lined socks will keep the warmth inside the fabric. I prefer socks that have non-skid rubber grips on soles. The rubber grips prevent slips and falls on smooth floors, especially when I am running after Dear Son. 🙂
For my child too, for his home socks, I prefer a pair with grips. Kids do love to run without any reason. The silicone rubber grips on the soles of Dear Son’s socks give me a peace of mind. Dear Son wears a different pair of socks that are not fuzzy and have more cotton fibers when he wears shoes for school.
Confirm flow of air
We tend to put furniture based on how the home-decoration would look. In practice, putting furniture in front of a vent would just block the airflow. A furnace relies on even distribution of air pressure when it operates. We have to make sure that the vents are not blocked by furniture so that the furnace fan can push the air to the far end of a house.
Some houses might have uneven air pressure distribution due to a complex design of the floor. Some might have an even distribution of air pressure only when all interior doors are open. With doors closed, air cannot flow from one room to another. As a result, the furnace fan can control circulation of air within only a small region of the house. One solution to the circulation problem is to create room-to-room return air pathways. Return air pathways should balance the air pressure by ensuring enough air flow between room to room.
Stop air from getting through the bottom of the door
Air leaking through the bottom of the door can make the heating system work harder to bring the temperature to a comfy one. Permanently fixing the door by extending its material is a great solution but might not always be feasible. In a rental house or an apartment, where a family may stay for only a few years, an under door draft stopper for doors with extra large gaps is a good solution to prevent cold air from coming inside.
With small gaps, one can use towels, or even make a draft stopper as a DIY project. A widely viewed YouTube video on DIYing a door draft guard is provided below.
Check if you need a storm door
A fiber glass door in a newly constructed home might not need a storm door. An old wooden door protected by a storm door provides better insulation for conserving energy. Even with new houses, due to design faults, rain water may come inside or snow may deposit on the door that later melts and enters the house.
An easy test is to hold a candle inside the door on a windy day to check if the flame on the candle moves. If it does, then wind is coming inside. This can be tested using a thread too. Hold the thread inside the door and check if it is moving. If it does, then wind is coming inside.
To test for rain water, use a garden hose to water the outer side of the door. Water the door for several minutes. If water comes inside, you know that water may come inside during winter rains. A storm door might be a good option if caulking and sealing do not work well. Roughly, if a door is exposed to the weather, there is a high chance that a storm door will be required.
Consider using a smart thermostat
A thermostat like Nest would allow you to control the temperature of your home from wherever you are. A cell phone controllable thermostat can be really handy if you plan to travel during the winter.
Not only that; a Nest Thermostat is really smart; it can learn from the habits of the home owner and then automatically adjust the temperature to save energy and money. Nest even works with Amazon Alexa, if you are into voice control at home.
Use blankets that can add warmth and snug feeling
Recently, weighted blankets have become popular. A weighted blanket can add a breathable warmth. It is also called a gravity blanket for its added weight to snug the user. It is said that a weighted blanket tackles insomnia and reduces the stress level. Weighted blankets are becoming popular as holiday season gifts.
Get ready with soup recipes
Last but not least — make sure to be ready with plenty of soup recipes. One of the many things I am appreciative about the winter is — the taste of soups in this season. No kidding … I feel that humans first made soup for the winter season. 🙂
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. All of us take the preparation for the celebration of the holidays as well as we prepare for the cold weather. Whatever the winter-preparation is for my family, I always try to get the most out of the dull gray winter days.
Please share with us, in the Comments section below, what you like most about the winter season, or what preparations you take for the holiday season.
Have a wonderful week!
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