Monday, November 14, 2011

Design Tip: Winterize Your Home


School's in session, the garden is put to bed, Halloween is past and it's a little too soon for the holidays... and you have a free weekend coming up. (Yeah, right, I know!) But there are some things you should probably be getting done soon, if you haven't already.

Preparing your house for the winter. Sure, it's not glamorous but it will make your life more comfortable and can reduce your winter utility bills. I try to be one step ahead of everyone else, and instead of waiting until the time change or bad weather sets in. I peg the first day of Fall as my reminder. Here in Oregon, September 21st through Oct 15th or so is still usually really nice weather. So I can be easily tackling outdoor chores in relative comfort and with lots of daylight.

But there's still time. Here are some important tips:

1. Clean out the gutters and downspouts! If you're OK with being on your roof and you've had a lot of dry weather, a cordless blower makes quick work of the leafy mess. If it's been wet, done some rubber gloves and a ladder, and manually grab the gunk. Concentrate on the areas near downspouts. I check the top section of my downspouts, in spite of filters, they still pack full of pine needles from nearby trees. If you time it right, you can hang your holiday lights at the same time!

2. Swap out or clean your furnace filters. Feeling a little stuffy? It just might be the allergens blowing around, now that your furnace is on more often. It's fun to see how much dirt and grime you're getting rid of. Since my furnace is also my air conditioner, I do this twice a year. The first day of Spring is another nice calendar date to remember!

3. Hopefully you washed your big fluffy comforter, duvets and blankets in the Spring. Because now is when to pull them out so you're nice and warm. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, you may need to take them to a cleaner. Don't try to stuff it into your own washer. Especially if you have allergies, this is a great task to do yearly. Resolve to do so when you remove them from your bed.

4. Wash and seal your windows. Install your storm windows, plastic or whatever, caulk all the cracks on non-operable windows, and make sure the hardware all works properly.

5. Check out more handy tips on how to winterize your home, including insulating water pipes, adding insulation and cleaning your fireplace and reversing the direction of your ceiling fan, at Better Homes and Gardens' web article, "15 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter."

Until next time!
--Elaine Bothe

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens' website.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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