Whether you live on or off the grid, winterizing your home is very important. There are several tricks and tips to keeping your home, as well as, your farm animal’s homes a little warmer during the cold months ahead.
Winterizing Your Home 101
Covering your windows with plastic will help keep out any cold drafts and airs from coming into the house and it will also help to keep the warm air in the house where it should be. The one thing I dislike about using plastic to help with winterizing your home is that it keeps the sun from shining directly inside. This not only takes away some extra warmth but it also eliminates such bright light. What I like to do instead is find heavy thick curtains for winter, this way I can keep out the cold but also welcome the light when it is shining.
If you have wooden floors now would be a good time to bring out the old or invest in some new area rugs. I save up any old clothes that are not suitable for donation because of their condition and I turn them into rag rugs for the house. It is also good to use window and door draft blockers around the doors and window sills. You can buy them in season or you can make them yourself using old tube socks or the legs of sweatpants. If you don’t have any extra socks or pant legs laying around you can follow this DIY Tutorial and make it from scratch.
Winterizing Your Home Under the Surface:
Now that you have all of the drafts covered, it’s time to make sure the water lines are properly insulated. You will want to insulate all of the water lines you have access to indoors, as well as, outdoors. You can purchase pipe insulation for a couple of bucks and get some heat tape to wrap the pipes in. The heat tape requires electricity so if you don’t have an outlet handy you can purchase solar powered heat tape. It is also a really good idea to disconnect the water flow to any outdoor faucets that will be out of use for the season and wrap the whole faucet with some sort of insulation, even a thick towel can help.
I like to make sure that all of my trails and paths are free and clear of debris, sticks, or any rocks poking through. This really helps when the snow falls to ensure that you have a free and clear area under the snow. Speaking of paths and trails, I like to set my bins of salt, kitty litter, or crushed gravel out so it is easy to access when it comes time to spread it.
The salt is great for melting away ice and snow but the gravel and kitty litter provide traction, not only for us humans, but for the critters as well. A little warning about using salt; If you have cats, dogs or any other animals with soft padded feet be careful how much salt you use. The ice and salt together against warm paw pads can cause a reaction and slightly irritate or even burn the pads.
Using an outhouse isn’t so terribly bad until it is the middle of January and everything is freezing outside including the pit privy. It is just as important to winterize the outhouse as it is your house and the animal’s housing. Be sure that you have all of your lime, ash, cedar chips, and whatever else you specifically use. It is also very important to “stir the pot” which keeps it from freezing up and becoming a solid chunk of something you do not want to mess with.
Repair any drafty spaces to keep that cold breeze out as much as possible. To avoid a frozen bum you can use some sort of foam padding to cover the seat, the inside of a small life jacket works perfectly, as do certain pool noodles. Another trick I discovered is when I first wake up and stoke the fire in the morning I will get 4-6 hand warmers ready to go as if I was going to use them and I place them on the seat to warm it up. You wouldn’t believe how much it helps.
The Critters Housing
Aside from the regular cleaning that is done to the animal housing, I do a seasonal cleansing too. This consists of pulling everything out and disinfecting and sanitizing before it’s all closed up tight for the winter. Check for any drafts or breezes – it’s also important to check up along the rafters and vents in the chicken coop to be sure snow cannot drift in and land on them. Seal up necessary places and bring in loads of fresh straw and hay. I prefer to use a thicker rough straw for the bottom layers and a softer hay for the actual bedding. Even the pig gets a massive bed to cozy up in.
Proper Water and Nourishment:
It is crucial that your animals have access to fresh water in order for them to regulate their body temperature properly. There are all sorts of methods to use to keep the water from freezing. You can use hot rocks, solar heated water troughs, and the switch out and stir up. The switch out method is easy if you have a small scale farm, all you have to do is keep a bucket of warmer water indoors for the animals and if it gets too cold out switch out the buckets or add some warm water to it. I know personally during the winter, I make my rounds often to check on the animals so I bring a stir stick and stir up all of the water as I inspect.
Animal Warmth is in the Details:
You can cover any windows with plastic but just as inside your home, the sun may be blocked out. I like to seal around any cracks and leave the windows clean and clear to provide an ample amount of sunshine since there is not much of it during the winter months.
If you have any large animals such as goats, horses, and cattle it is important to use old blankets or buy horse blankets to throw on the animals when it’s cold to help them stay warm when they venture outdoors. Winter can be just as hard on the animals as ourselves, so it is important to keep them in mind.
Winterizing your home is important and efficient. It will help the homestead stay running smoothly, as well as, keeping it nice and warm in the cold months. Be sure your animals have a safe space to go outdoors, witnessing a goat slip on the ice can be pretty bad. So seal up the homestead and stay warm this winter season!
In need of a few products to help with winterizing your home this season? Check out these options:
Give this Twin Draft Guard Extreme – Energy Saving Under Door Draft Stopper a try!
- If you’re looking for a way to ensure that your pipes down’t freeze this winter, check out this 30-Foot Pipe Heating Cable with Thermostat and set your mind at ease.
- Keep your farm animal’s water from freezing with an Insulated Electric Heated Double Drink Horse Waterer, you won’t regret it!