The handywoman’s quick prep guide for winterizing your home

Today we welcome a guest post from Tina for DIY Mother.

5 quick tips for proactive winter home maintenance

Attention handywomen of all sorts! November is here, and that means December follows and the cold, bitter cold is on the way!

Now as a woman, you know that it’s important to be proactive when it comes to protecting your home from the elements. That’s why you probably already have a checklist for winterizing your home while the temperatures are still rather temperate and bright. However, more and more women are buying homes for the first time on their own so this article is meant to make a handywoman out all female homeowners—even if you don’t have experience—by providing tips to help you plug leaks, protect your pipes, and save on energy costs this winter.

Here is a quick handywoman’s prep guide for winterizing your home:

1. Put your thermostat on a program

The easiest way to cut down the heating costs you’ll pay this winter—and to give your furnace a break is to program your thermostat. Think of it this way, why do you need to heat your home on high when you’re at work? The idea is to proactively extend the life of your furnace by giving it a much needed break during the day and in the middle of the night. By doing so, you’ll not only lower your heating bills; you’ll also lower the effort of your furnace from pumping out heat when it’s not needed. So start by programming your thermostat to a lower setting when you’re not at home (i.e., when you’re at work and when you’re sleeping) and program it higher when you need it (i.e., an hour before you go to bed and an hour before you wake up).

2. Prevent pipes from cracking and bursting

One of the most important winter home maintenance steps that you can take is to protect your exterior pipes from bursting. Damaged plumbing is a huge drain on the finances and you can easily prevent it just by shutting off exterior water sources and wrapping any pipes leading out of your home in rags or plastic to protect them from freezing and cracking.

3. Give your water heater some love

A broken water heater can be a nightmare in the dead of winter—especially considering it heats the water in your home and can create a damaging mess if it bursts all over your basement floor. To prevent a disaster, be sure to give your water heater the proper attention by checking the unit to ensure it’s working properly and not overheating. The last thing you want is a pricey water heater replacement bill on your hands.

4. Plug leaky windows and doors

In the cold winter months you want to keep as much warm air in and as much cold air out as possible—otherwise you’ll find your heating bills will soar. As a proactive measure, do a walk around the exterior of your home and re-caulk damaged or cracked areas around your window sills, door frames and electrical outlets leading outside. A few tubes of caulk and weather-stripping are really cheap when you consider the cost of how much it will save you in heating costs and heat retained inside your home.

5. Get a new furnace filter

Another cheap way to prevent your family from cranking the thermostat in the dead of winter is to ensure your furnace is running at prime efficiency. All you need to do is swap your old furnace filter for a clean, new one. Trust me; when you take the old one out and see all the dirt and grime, you’ll know why your furnace was working harder than it should be. A new filter will also protect your house and its occupants against the risk of a fire. Plus your home will use less energy to heat and stay warmer inside due to this inexpensive, proactive measure.

About The Author

Tina is a registered nurse and DIY home improvement maven who has written and blogger for DIY Mother as well as numerous print and online publications ranging in topics from education to health and from home renovations to interior decorating.

Thanks Tina for these helpful tips to prepare for the cold winter weather. Do you leave these chores for your husband or do them yourself?


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Snow! Lots of it

IMG_1227 This storm has been dubbed snowmageddon by the local weather man. We were lucky to get only 19” of the fluffy  stuff.  Some areas nearby got as much as 30”.IMG_1237 Bread and milk fly off store shelves when there’s  snow coming, but we were prepared to be snowed in for a couple days.  The neighbor kids helped clear the driveway, for a few bucks of course. Young entrepreneurs that they are, taking advantage of us old folks…lol.
Check out the drifts over the patio roof.IMG_1221 IMG_1228IMG_1231  We just got the white barrels from the recycling center to make rain barrels and the brown trash can reminds me of a  gnome wearing a snow hat.

I had on a couple sweaters under my coat and pajama pants under the old sweat pants. With the wind blowing I was still cold. IMG_1218
I took this picture looking down and I can’t see my boots!

The shrubbery reminds me if giant prehistoric snow beasts.
So what do you do when you’re snowed in? Make soup, take naps and watch tv, just laze around….that’s what I did.
Snow is so pretty when it’s fresh, but in a few days we’ll all be tired of it and the ugly, slushy, dirty mess it makes.
Looks like tomorrow will be another stay at home day, even church was cancelled. Have a great Sunday!

~Surviving winter, Houseplants~

Every time I walk past my house plants I hear them yelling for HELP! My reputation with indoor plants isn’t so good. You read it here, I have a bad rep….with houseplants. They’re brats, that’s what they are, a bunch of misbehaving brats. Yellowing and drooping, dropping leaves for me to clean up. I know they just want to be outside in the warm sunshine & so do I. But there’s not much warm sun at this time of year, so get over it!

Yesterday in our local paper there was an article on indoor plants. My greatly condensed version is this;
  • Most houseplants prefer to be moderately pot bound.
  • Plant food is not medicine. Plants won’t take in more nutrients than they need.
  • Not all indoor plants need lots of sun.
  • Yellow leaves and brown tips aren’t just caused by over watering. Some causes could be, fluoride in the water, not enough light, excess fertilizer.
  • Misting has little benefit when it come to a plant’s humidity needs.

I was ready to repot and give them a little drink of miracle grow & still might even after reading the article. But look at what I received today, a pretty African violet bloom. My first ever! At least someone is happy!

Two more shy little lovlies awaiting their turn. They’re a nice creamy white tinged with pink. Now whenever I walk past them I smile, “Thank you little violet.”

Remember back in olden days, the 70’s, when having tons of houseplants was all the rage? I sure do! If these plants make it past February I’ll be surprised. Usually I get sick of them and toss them in the trash. Do you have luck with houseplants?

A snow storm is predicted for the weekend and the temps are frigid. Hope you are enjoying, surviving winter !
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