As this post is going live, it is Halloween. Such a fun spooky day, but I live with a black cat, so I’m a fan of the slightly creepy. And you know what else is scary? It’s almost WINTER! I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for the snow and ice that comes along with winter.
This year, however, I’m determined to be prepared. Here are eight steps that I am going to take to be sure that my home is ready for the onslaught of cold.
1. Have a Preventative Furnace Inspection
No one worries about their furnace working in the summer. It’s on that first cold night that you realize just how poorly your furnace is pumping heat. And the problem is, if it’s already warm, it’s hard to test to tell just how efficiently your furnace is working. Contact a reputable company that offers furnace repair in Arlington, TX, or furnace repair advice wherever you’re based and have them come in and look at your furnace. Do it now, before you need it. After the first cold night, the HVAC companies will be inundated with calls from desperate homeowners.
Oh, and change your furnace filter too. Right now. Those things get gross.
2. Have Your Chimney Swept
Do you have a chimney? Then you need to have a chimney inspection done. Sadly, chimney sweeps are not like Bert in Mary Poppins. But they are still a vital part of home ownership. Your chimney can get blocked up by animals, leaves, or other debris, and if you plan to light a fire at all this winter, be sure that the chimney is clear and stable before you take the risk. The last thing you want is a fire.
3. Get Winter Tools Ready
Do you have a shovel? Ice melt? Snow blower? If you want it, buy it now. Don’t wait until the first storm is predicted and everyone is rushing to the store. Snow shovels are easy to get your hands on now, but come the first snow, you won’t be able to get one. Also, you definitely don’t want to be getting to the store along with the other unprepared folks.
4. Clean Your Gutters
You can do this one yourself if you have a good ladder, or you can hire a company to do it for you. This one can wait a bit until most of the leaves have fallen, but as soon as you can, get the junk out of your gutters. When snow starts to melt, you want it to have somewhere to go. You definitely don’t want it pouring off of the gutters and refreezing into terrifying icicles. Sure, they’re pretty, but they can also do a lot of harm if they fall on someone.
5. Check Your Windows
Do you have drafty windows? As my mother would say, we’re not paying to heat the outside, so seal up those drafts. You can buy draft snakes at any home supply store, and plastic film over the windows can also help keep the heat inside. I had one window that leaked so bad that it’s currently caulked shut. I know, not ideal, but replacing the windows just isn’t in the budget right now.
6. Winterize Outdoor Spigots
Unhook your hoses and if you can, turn off the water to your outdoor spigots. Once you’ve turned off the water, make sure to open the spigot and let the remaining water drain out. I also purchased some covers for my spigots that can help keep them from freezing. They may not help in super cold areas, but they certainly can’t hurt.
7. Cover or Bring In Furniture
I have to admit, it’s probably time to bring the hammock in from the yard. I didn’t get to use it much this year (it was much too hot), but it should come inside in the next few weeks. My other lawn furniture can all stay out, and it was much too cheap to bother covering it, but if you have good furniture, you can buy or make covers. And if you have a patio umbrella, please bring that in before the first storm. Those seem to break so easily.
8. Stock Up On Your Favorite Winter Treats!
Okay, so this one isn’t so much a requirement. But it’s something that I do. There are certain flavors and scents that are only around at holiday time. Pumpkin Spice is such a fall craze, but I’m a peppermint and evergreen kind of girl. I love all of the Christmas scents and flavors, so as soon as I see things on the shelves, I start stocking up on holiday teas and candles. Of course, if you’re not going to use them, they’re a waste, but every summer, as I finish up the last of my Christmas tea, I start to count the days til it’s on sale again.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
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