Okay, we’ve reached the midpoint for January. How are you doing with those resolutions? Still on track with healthy eating and exercise? More importantly, how’s your HOME doing with its resolutions? Did you embrace my advice for helping your home “lose weight?” Doesn’t it feel great? A friend recently posted a picture of her car overflowing with bags that were one their way to the dump. I did a little victory dance for her because I know just how amazing it feels to purge. Honestly, houses GROW when we declutter! Now that we’ve gotten the inside in fighting shape, it’s time to take a look at the outside. Just like we work our bodies to help them look their very best, we need to give our home’s exteriors a little TLC, too.
I know, I know… I can hear you groaning. It’s cold. It’s gray. And also… it’s cold. Now if I were really your personal trainer, I’d bark things at you like “No pain, no gain!” “YOU CAN DO THIS!” “It’s GO time, baby… MAKE THE MOST OF IT!” But, I’m a softer, gentler type of coach, so I’ll just sweetly remind you that that cold, blowy, icy and snowy weather is harder on your home than it is on you and it REALLY needs a little attention to weather this weather. So, pull on your fleece lined leggings, wear an extra pair of socks, lace up those sneakers and let’s get busy with some exterior home improvements and maintenance!
1. Invest in weather stripping. Weather stripping is a great way to seal warm air in and cold air out. Available at almost any home improvement store, weather stripping installs quickly around doors and windows and reduces or eliminates costly drafts. Without it, you’re literally letting your money blow away!
2. Clean your gutters. Yep… this chore is like the burpees you always dreaded during your boot camp classes, but you must do it! When gutters are clogged with leaves, twigs and debris, the water will pool. That added weight is bad, but it can become catastrophic if all that standing water freezes. Any additional precipitation can then seep into your roof, creating ice dams, interior leaks, floods and causing a major hit to your wallet!
3. Prune trees around your home. Long branches hanging too near your roofline and home can cause major headaches during these upcoming stormy months. Heavy snow and ice can cause branches to break and inflict damage to your home. A few reps with the pruners now will save you big headaches later.
4. Protect your pipes from freezing! According to national insurance statistics, a broken water pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage! To start, give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable pipes and wrap them with fiberglass insulation. Your local hardware store can advise you about the best materials for protecting your pipes and even give you easy installation tips. While you’re at it, check for cracks or holes in your walls and foundations and repair them! If you’re going to be away for long periods of time this winter, don’t turn your heat down to save on energy costs. Your pipes need the heat. Let faucets drip during seriously cold snaps.
5. Your AC unit is taking a much needed rest during these cold winter months. Help it enjoy its hibernation by protecting it with an insulated cover. If you have window units, remove and store them until spring!
6. You’re probably not going to be doing a lot of gardening for the next few months, so go ahead and remove garden hoses from spouts. Drain them of water that might freeze and rupture the hoses.
7. Last one and this is easy! Replace your furnace filters! Your furnace is going to be working overtime this winter. Help it (and you!) breathe easy by providing clean, allergen reducing filters!
Just like a big workout, you’re going to find that the worst part about this plan is the planning. Once you start, you’ll be proud and motivated to do the work! Best of all, when it’s done, you can sit back in your toasty warm home and give yourself a big pat on the back, knowing that (unlike your personal exercise regime!) you DON’T have to do it all over again tomorrow!!