Surviving the Cold Dark Winter, Part 2: Winterizing Your Home

At long last, I’m publishing part 2 of our winterizing series by Mike Ruff, republished with permission:

  • Make sure you have a good heat source.  If you use a fireplace of wood stove, make sure your chimney is clean and clear, and that you know how to properly operate the flue and damper and such.  Make sure you burn the proper wood for the most part, stick to good seasoned hard woods; avoid pine and other “sappy” woods, and definitely don’t burn treated lumber.  If you use a kerosene heater, ensure you have proper ventilation.  For all, ensure you take care to keep any flammable materials far from the heater, and keep an eye on the heater and surroundings.
  • Insulation is key.  Seal up cracks, put plastic over windows (bubble wrap works quite well), and put draft excluders in front of doors.  Cloth wall hangings are your friend in drafty buildings with inadequate insulation–as are large bookshelves full of books.  If need be, collect newspapers for stuffing into areas which lack insulation–newspaper makes a good insulator stuffed under your clothes in an emergency as well–ask the homeless folks.
  • Make sure you are well prepared for possible (in many areas probable) power outages due to Winter storms.  Lay in a good supply of batteries, candles, oil and oil lamps, fuel for non-electric heaters, a generator if you have the means and space, plenty of canned or other food which doesn’t need refrigeration, and any items you don’t want to depend on finding at the store in an emergency.  Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, first aid supplies, etc. are good to stock up on.  In Winter storm conditions, it’s much harder for utility crews to repair downed lines and such–be prepared for power outages to last a while.