Published August 25, 2010
It is coming and it cannot be stopped. Its wrath can be devastating to your home. The cost to repair the damage can destroy your household budget and decimate the family’s vacation savings fund. There is nothing we can do about it. It hits us every year.
Why should you think about the winter at a time of year when you are enjoying those fruity rum beverages on the beach?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, not too many of us have the spare time to do more than one item per weekend from “oh honey do” list. There are sixteen weekends between now and winter. Subtract the number of weekends you already have things planned that you’d rather not do; factor in the weekends you hope to go play outside in the fresh air; then guesstimate how many “surprise” weekends you’ll spend entertaining the in-laws. You’ll find that you have very little time for only a handful of projects.
Right now the squirrels are collecting their nuts and the bears are fattening up. You should get ready too. Now is the time to plan for winter.
The fixes and improvements we should do now that will benefit us most during the winter aren’t usually realized until it is actually winter. Putting in new windows now can save you 15% of your heating and cooling bills, but most of us don’t think about it until we get slammed with a huge utility bill in the middle of January. At that time it will be too cold to replace the windows and you’re stuck paying for all that wasted energy until next year – when you forget to do something about again it until it’s too late and the cycle continues.
Planning for a big project such as window replacement takes a lot of time. Most homeowners will hire someone for a big job instead of doing it themselves. Finding a contractor you trust for your project could take a month and getting permits could take just as long. This can eat up more of those precious weekends left before winter.
If you want to make sure you are ready for winter take a look around your house with critical eyes. If you see something that is not quite right, like a few missing roof shingles or a piece of loose siding, put it on the priority list. Small problems now can be become huge issues later if they are forced through the grinding of winter weather. The wind can tear off huge sections of your siding by simply grabbing a hold of that one loose piece, and the missing shingles can let the rain in and ruin your roof.
The winter is tough and in many places can be very wet and even frozen. Many of the fixes you should do now are moisture prevention measures. Water is the number one cause of damage to a house. In the winter water expands when it freezes. Foundations can crack and driveways can crumble. The fix for your problem could be as simple as a few minutes of caulking or a quick coat of paint.
But getting ready for winter isn’t only about preventative measures. Be proactive. Consider some of things that you can do now that will make your winter life a whole lot better later.
Were you frustrated last winter when you had no place to plug in your holiday lights? Did you end up running the electrical cord through a window only to discover that, as your neighbors enjoyed your pretty holiday light show, you suffered uncomfortable drafts? Those drafts aren’t only uncomfortable they cost you a lot of money by robbing your home of its energy efficiency. You probably wished you’d spent the time to have an extra plug put outside. Now’s the time to do that.
Planning ahead can make the whole DIY thing more enjoyable, too. Instead of getting up super early on a Saturday morning to fight the crowds at the home improvement store, you will know what you need well in advance and can run in and out of the store during the week when there are no crowds.
The harsh cold winter and all of its devastation will be here soon. As the fleeting warm weekends between now and then fly by, make your defense plan and prepare. It could prevent you from having to climb the ladder in a sub-zero snowstorm, and save your house along with your butt.