Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall friendly advice

Hello!  Just FYI - in general, I don't like being practical, and some would argue that I am NOT very practical, but, nevertheless, it's time for some very practical home advice.  Can I say practical again? Annoying isn't it?

Yes, I'm grumpy that summer is coming to a close.  But, at least it's a little cooler at this time of year, it's in the 70's and 80's right now (as opposed to 90 or 100 just a few weeks ago).  And although we're still in shorts, it's cool enough to tackle some household chores in the next few weeks, to get ready for the cold weather. Dare I say, it's time to winterize?  Shudder.

Even in a new home, you need to take some time to get ready for whatever winter is going to hand us.  And, although I'd rather be splashing in the lake, or sitting by the camp fire, there are lots of things I'm going to be taking care of in our home and yard. Yup, winterizing.  The effort I put in this fall, will save money and time in the spring.  And give me more time and money next summer for lakes, boats and fires.


Attics require 12 inches insulation.  Without it, it's the same as leaving the front door open. A good rule of thumb is, if you can see the joists or rafters, you need more.  When we built our modular home, the upstairs was unfinished.  We (I mean Big A - I drank coffee) put in about 15" of insulation just to be extra certain we weren't going to allow our heat to escape through the second floor.

Storm windows.

If you have you have single pane glass windows, you could replace the windows, but for a fraction of the cost you could install storms.  Installation is fairly simple, and you could reduce the amount of heat lost out of your windows by 40%!  Uh, that's a no-brainer, right?!


Cleaning the gutters to keep them free of leaves and pine needles, is a nasty business, but it'll keep snow and rain off of the roof. You don't need roof damage!  Furthermore, clean and properly aligned gutters make sure the down spouts take the water away from the house, so you don't get damage to the rest of your home.


A drafty home is not good for your heating bill.  Before it's 5 degrees below, walk around the house on a windy day, and find the drafts.   Pay special attention to door and window frames, electrical outlets and recessed lighting. You can stop door drafts with door sweeps, weather stripping and caulk.  Similarly caulk around leaky windows and outlets.


Turn the furnace on to make sure its working.  The first run may produce a dusty smell, but that's fine and should disperse soon.  If not, have the furnace checked out.  Last week, by accident the furnace was turned on, and although it was not on purpose, not only were we baked to death nice and toasty, I smelled that distinctive smell, and knew our furnace is in working order.   Before you use your furnace, replace filters to keep it running efficiently.

(Note: allot extra time for your trip to Home Depot for the filters - it takes me at least 30 minutes to find the filter aisle, and 30 more to find the right size filter!)


Remove fallen leaves from around your yard.  By "remove fallen leaves", I mean rake.  Raking produces blisters, herniated discs, and sometimes head trauma (don't ask).  BUT, it's good for your lawn.  And although I dread raking leaves in the Fall, I dread raking dead wet leaves that are stuck to the ground like cement in the Spring, even more!


Cut the grass short before the first frost.  Long grass can bend and trap moisture in your lawn, which can cause mold. Eww.

If you do anything else in the fall to get ready for winter, let me know!  I'm all in for saving on the heating bill, and having more free time in the Spring and Summer!