Cold Weather Preps: How To Handle The Winter

Little things can make a big difference when it comes to keeping warm and comfortable in your home. A friend of mine made one change from this list and raised the temp in her daughter's bedroom over 10 degrees – without turning up the thermostat. With the right preps, we reduce our heating bills all season, and are in much better shape if a winter storm knocks out the power.

Keeping Warm – Winter Prep List for You and Your Home

Start with the house, inside and outside, then make sure each family member has the right gear for keeping warm.

Home Heating Safety

Get stocked on fuel

Make sure your propane tank is full for the winter and/or you have plenty of dry firewood or heating pellets. In the middle of a snowstorm is not when you want to realize you are out of fuel.

Make sure everything is clean 

Change your furnace filter (if you have one). Clean the woodstove and chimney and inspect for any signs of wear.

Have emergency supplies on hand

Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit – because things happen, and no one wants to see you on the nightly news for bad things happening.

Use space heaters wisely

My friend, CJ Harrington, recommended Buddy Heaters (that burn propane) for safe indoor use. There are also a wide variety of electric space heaters available. Check and double check to make sure any combustion device you choose is rated for indoor use and that you have enough airflow. On electric heaters, watch for frayed cords or other signs of excess wear. Always keep combustible items clear of your heat source, and don't plug electric heaters into a power strip. They will melt the strip.

Outside the house

Inspect your house. Walk around the exterior looking for openings and gaps. Do the same inside and check the attic in late spring when its still cool. Keep an eye on your roof throughout the winter. If you get icicles or ice damns, you likely have excess heat loss in the attic. Inspect the roof the following spring/summer for leaks due to ice damage.

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