news and views – Here Comes the Chill

Last week, our temps dropped 40 degrees in one day. Brr! While it did warm back up a bit, it looks like winter is here to stay, so it’s time to get our house ready for winter. If you haven’t gone through your house yet, here’s a handy checklist to help you get started.

1. Change your furnace filters and have your unit inspected if it’s older.
2. Check your windows and doors for worn, cracked or missing caulk and weatherstripping. You can do this by walking around your windows and doors with a candle. Replace the weatherstripping if necessary.
It’s also good to give your windows a cleaning before winter starts, since sunshine is at a premium in dark winter months.

3. If you use a real fireplace, get your chimney inspected and cleaned. If you use space heaters, make sure those are in good working order. Test both your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector while you’re at it.

4. Burst pipes suck (don’t ask me how I know…). Insulate vulnerable pipes in your crawlspace, and don’t forget outdoor spigots.

5. If you have storm windows, now is the time to take down your screens and put them up.

6. If you have ceiling fans, switch the direction of the blades and turn them on low to encourage warm air to circulate down to where you need it most.

7. Check and clean your gutters. All those fallen leaves can clog them quickly, which can cause a spectacular amount of water damage when the water finds a new route. (because it will, and you won’t know until the ceiling comes crashing down. please don’t ask how I know this either…)

8. If you’ve got a little extra time and cash, consider adding insulation to your attic. We did this a couple years back and it made a huge difference in our heating bill.

9. Last, but not least, pull out those sweaters, fleecy throw blankets and warm slippers. Wrap yourself up and get cozy instead of turning up the thermostat.

10. Bonus round: If you suffer from SAD in these dark months, try to make sure you get at least 15 minutes out in some bright sunshine, or in front of a sunlamp each day. You can also invest in some pretty candles or a set of gas logs. Some people find fire helps their mood, plus it’s just pretty!

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  1. Great article Lori! I’ve taken care of a few items on the list, but there are some great ideas here I really should look into before the cold sets in.

  2. Thanks for including a pair of my mittens! Making warm and fun items to wear is what gets me through the cold snowy months!!

  3. I LOVE the snowflakes falling on the screen!!!

  4. Excellent article! I would like to add to the info on SAD. Although I grew up in the Pacific Northwest & have webbed feet :-) in the past couple of years I have started feeling blue in the winter, even though I love the rain and spend time outside every day. Taking D3 can really help in addition to your other suggestions. Studies are showing that we should be taking 3-5000 mgs daily. Take care, Heth (aka Ellie Efforts)