There's no escaping the inevitable: winter is approaching. The wind is blowing and soon those gusts will carry snow drifts and walls of flurries our way. At least that's what happens in our northern states like Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana. So before that snow flies and it's too cold to climb on your roof and the draft is pushing through your windows like they're just screens...it's about time to have a plan to winterize your first home.
A major reason to think about winterizing now is because it’s still nice enough outside to get the work done without suffering too much. You could even set up a weekly schedule of things to do so you’re not scrambling on Thanksgiving to get it all done before the Detroit Lions play. Or before you fall into a turkey coma. Planning now can save you on headaches later. Preparing now - before the snow really hits - will help make this winter less difficult.
Drafty Doors and Windy Windows
When the winter wind blows and you can feel it in your living room, you have a problem. Maybe your front door isn’t as solid as you thought when you bought the house. Or maybe the windows have seen better days. It’s okay – there are inexpensive solutions to these problems.
If your exterior doors need a little help keeping the wind out, consider weather stripping around the door jamb. You can also stick some at the top or bottom of the door itself in some cases – just make sure it closes when you’re done!
Maybe it’s not the door jamb but the trim and lack of insulation between the door and the walls. You can remove the trim that’s there, adding foam insulation from a can or caulk into the area. You’ll need to replace the trim once you’re done, so make sure you have time set aside for this project. This is a fairly simple way to winterize a first home.
These same tips can apply to windows and the area around them. However there’s another solution to thin glass: plastic. Home improvement stores sell kits where you cut the plastic to fit the outside measurements of your window, and you tape it up. Sometimes they require a hair dryer to shrink wrap the windows, keeping a nice layer of insulated air between winter and you.
Storm windows and doors are common in many homes. Make sure you install these and have them working properly. If the windows need to be put down to cover the screen, make sure you do so. It’s a simple step many of us forget.
Replace cracked glass. If you can afford to put in replacement windows (or at least replacement glass) it would help keep the wind out.
Prime and paint exposed wood to keep drafts out. Exposed wood is porous. Wind can get through this wood. Priming and painting it seals of most of the holes and cracks that naturally exist in the wood.
If you want to go all out and replace old windows and doors with all new ones (especially newer, energy efficient models), you can refinance and remodel with a mortgage loan called the FHA 203k. The 203k can help you finance replacement windows, new doors and other weatherization needs. this is a more extreme fix than plastic and painting, but it does exist in case you're thinking about going that big.
Whether you're a first time home owner or this is the home you've lived in for years, having a plan to winterize your home can help save you major pains once the weather really turns colder.