As the leaves begin to change colors and the air becomes brisker, it reminds us that winter is on the near horizon. In addition to bringing out the winter clothes and making sure the heat is working, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind these 10 home hacks below, which will help prepare your house for winter so you can fully enjoy the coldest months of the year:
1. De-Icing Roof Cables
Frozen ice forming on shingles or gutters can result in costly damage. To prevent this, it’s recommended to use a de-icing roof cable or heat tape, which you can turn on before a storm hits and be assured that the cable will prevent ice from forming under the edge of shingles or along the gutter.
2. Sealing Air Leaks
To get the most out of your heating system, ensure that your windows are sealed and not letting warm air escape in exchange for cold air. Test for air leaks by placing candles around locations in your house on a windy day with the windows shut; if the flame moves, there is an air leak nearby. If this is the case, make sure to caulk and seal all air leaks, primarily by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows. Don’t have time to caulk, just place bubble wrap between the window and the screen to keep out that cold draft.
3. Tin Foil: Fireplace Cleaner
An unlikely fireplace cleaner is tin foil, which can be used by placing a double layer of it across the bottom of a fireplace or wood grate before lighting a fire. When the fire is finished the next day, simply fold the tin foil – which will contain ashes – up and throw it away. Just be sure the fire is completely out when cleaning up.
4. Stove Pot Humidifier
Using a stove pot humidifier is a nice and cost-effective way to keep your house warmer for longer. Plus, using lemon juice or cinnamon sticks with the humidifier will give your home a fresh and clean-smell.
5. Warm Water Bottles
Since as early as the 16th century, containers with warm water have been used to provide warmth while in bed. The electric blanket is essentially a contemporary version of what hot water containers did in the past. You can use several warm water bottles and lay them on a bed several minutes before climbing in to ensure it’s nice and toasty.
6. Pebble Boot Tray
If you’re tired of the wet snow remnants from boots and shoes when people enter the house, consider using a pebble boot tray; when wet shoes or boots sit on these, the snow and ice will drain through the rocks to the bottom of the tray so the footwear will dry quicker and more efficiently. Plus, most of the moisture tends to evaporate under the rocks so only occasional cleaning is necessary. This works for all types of residences, from small apartments to large multi-family homes.
7. Rubbing Alcohol and Dishwashing Liquid: Salt Alternatives
If you run out of salt but need to urgently de-freeze your steps or driveway outside, consider using rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid. By mixing together one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and half a gallon of hot water, you’ll create a concoction that you can pour over sidewalks and driveways to melt ice. Plus, it’s better for a sidewalk or driveway than salt, which can eat away at concrete.
8. Desiccant Air Dryers
If you have a basement that has a tendency to get wet, consider purchasing a regenerative desiccant compressed air dryer, which uses pressure swing adsorption to efficiently dry wet rooms or areas. They come in various sizes to fit all types of residences. Sustained wetness can cause mold growth, so an air dryer is recommended if there is an issue, especially during breakup season.
9. Orange Peel as a Fire Starter
One can use orange peels as fire starters due to the oil in the orange’s skin, which can fuel fires while releasing less creosote than paper. To use the orange as a fire starter, dry its peels on a sheet pan and toss them in a paper bag, with a silica packet to maintain freshness. It’s easy to make and will have your fireplace room smelling like delicious oranges!
10. Programmable Thermostat
You can save money and energy with programmable thermostats, which can adjust to a user-set temperature program with flexible time-of-day and seasonal adjustments. They also look sleek in their digital presentation, compared to the old-fashion drabness of traditional thermostats.
With the ten home hacks above, your winter should become more stress-free due to less work and repair issues arising at home. It makes enjoying winter that much easier.
Featured photo credit: Hollin Elizabeth via flickr.com