The cooler months of the year are certainly full of their own distinct charms, but for homeowners they also bring a distinct set of challenges. The precipitation levels increase, cold winds blow, and temperatures drop.
Keeping our homes in good working order and ensuring they remain bright and warm doesn’t happen accidentally. Instead, it’s a matter of planning ahead and preparing for the specific difficulties potentially on the horizon. But, there are relatively straightforward ways homeowners can maintain their homes and create a space that weathers — pun intended — the seasons well, and in doing so promotes health and happiness.
Highlight the Sources of Light
Obviously, the primary way to achieve a home that remains warm and welcoming all year is by ensuring you have the appropriate lighting sources. Successfully utilizing your existing natural and artificial light sources is the key to combating less sunlight.
While it’s more challenging, even in months with less daylight you can take steps to maximize the natural light — and by extension warmth — coming into your home. This is largely a result of creating a support system that will highlight every bit of light.
Make sure they’re well sealed: It is important to make sure your windows are well sealed. This will ensure that the value of the light let in isn’t missed due to loss of heat in your home. In most cases, this will require simple recaulking if your windows aren’t fully sealed.
Reflect the light: When you can, fill your spaces with reflective surfaces so that the light is continuously transferred throughout the room. Mirrors, hardwood floors, and reflective furniture are best for this.
Accentuate window spaces: Home decor experts note, “The effect of sunlight through your window curtains can sometimes bathe a room in color when the curtains are drawn… The less dense the fabric is, the more light it will let in unless it is lined.”
Thus, choosing curtains shouldn’t just be about how well they’ll block, but also how well they’ll be able to let light through while still granting privacy.
Not all artificial lighting is created the same. In this case, more is not necessarily better. Instead, it’s worthwhile to invest in the right kinds of bulbs and to use them in a strategic manner.
Pick the right bulb: Warmer, yellow light-creating bulbs will make spaces like the bedroom and living room seem cozier and calmer. Whiter lights in practical, task-oriented spaces like the bathroom and kitchen will work best.
Install dimmers: This is the magic step that can transform how bulbs appear and how they impact the living spaces where you place them. Dimmers give you the ultimate control over the bulbs you’re using.
Keep them clean: The most cost effective way to utilize what you’ve got is to keep the bulbs clean. Going through your home and cleaning what you have will pave the way for lighting that is efficient and effective.
Maintain the Spaces That Receive the Most Winter Wear
Part of the reality of inclement weather is that it inevitably takes a toll on the spaces we live in. Whether its because it’s impossible to leave the precipitation outside, or because our behavior inside our home changes, there are specific sections of the home that often experience more damage during the cold months.
Outside Interiors: Cold weather can make otherwise harmless outside spaces risky to move about in. If you have a garage or shed, water can enter and then freeze when the temperature drops, creating a hazard for all who enter.
Before the weather takes a serious turn for the worse, organize your shed or garage so that the floor is free of obstructions, and you can access whatever tools you may need with ease. If keeping the area heated is not an option, remain diligent in terms of removing excess water from the floor or vehicles so that it won’t become a safety risk.
Floors: When there’s excessive rain, sleet, or snow, it will often stick to clothing and shoes, and our floors pay the price. This really means we pay the price if we don’t take care of them. To protect floors from damage, use mats inside and outside, mop up any liquids, and vacuum up the salt tracked inside as quickly as possible.
Stoves: According to the Department of Energy, a seasonal shift happens in the kitchen: when the weather drops we use our stoves and ovens more than during other parts of the year. Be sure to keep burners and the oven clean.
Prepare for Storms
There are few things more disconcerting than being caught unprepared in the midst of severe weather. You can’t always control the amount of impact that a weather-related situation has on you and your family. However, preparing in advance for difficult situations means you are doing what you can.
Batten down the hatches: To prepare for weather at its worst, be sure to take some precautionary measures to protect your house. Tree branches should be trimmed, gutters cleaned out, and siding secure. This is the time to check and verify that weatherstripping on your home is up-to-date.
Protect pets: Include your pets in your preparation. In winter, it’s difficult not to expose some pets to the elements. Take preventative measures to ensure your pet stays safe and dry at home, too; options like pet insurance and pet wellness plans guarantee that you’ll prepared in the worst case scenario.
Emergency supplies: Consider investing in extra supplies, and even a generator in case of power outage. Keep emergency kits in both your home and vehicles. Additionally, there’s wisdom not only in knowing CPR as adults but also in having kids learn CPR.
Prepare for health hazards: While colds and flus may not be literal storms, in the United States they become so pervasive during fall and winter the CDC refers to them as “annual epidemics”. Thus, to avoid illness taking over your home the healthcare professionals at Healthline recommend taking extra care to keep your home clean and disinfected and to practice healthy habits as individuals.
Home preparations for fall and winter may seem daunting, but the reality is they’re totally doable. Not only that, they have the power to make the season, as a whole, more enjoyable as well. The cooler months of the year can mean we feel that we’re perpetually battling the weather so that we can protect our home from the elements. This can be discouraging not only in terms of our houses physically, but also in terms of how we feel in general.
Most of the time, though, the elements’ power to affect our homes and our emotional well-being is impactful only in direct correlation to the amount of time and planning we invest in home preparation.