Winter is coming, the temperature is dropping and the snow is already beginning to fall on some of the world’s most imposing peaks. If you look up at the Rocky Mountains, you can see the bright beginnings of frost on the rapidly dying trees.
For those of you who own a log cabin, it’s time to start preparing for the weather ahead. While all homes should be winterized, log cabins are particularly hard hit by snow and cold. Here’s what you need to know to prepare.
Increased energy efficiency has to do with proper insulation
The first thing you should prepare for is the cold. Log cabins are cozy, but they have to be properly insulated from the start. Otherwise, they will leak air between the gaps in the logs and let in cold air from outside. Your energy bill will go through the roof to compensate.
The insulation needs to be redone approximately every 3 to 5 years. The average cost is around $1,300 for the full booth, though it can be more or less depending on the insulation process you select and whether you use a company or do it yourself. While it may seem expensive, keep in mind that additional energy costs and damage due to leaky walls can end up costing you twice as much, or more, in the long run.
Regular staining could save your home
Your house needs maintenance every two years, or you could damage the exterior of your house. If it’s been a while, or if you’ve never stained it before, it’s time to do it before the weather gets too cold. The perfect temperature to tint a booth is around 60 F…below 50 F or over 70 F can impede the process.
The average cost to stain a booth is $3.90 per square foot. So for a log cabin with about 1,500 square feet of siding, you should plan on around $5,850. If you figure you’ll be servicing every five years, that works out to less than $1,200 per year and will be your biggest maintenance cost. If necessary, you can do one section per year and rotate to make sure everything stays freshly dyed.
Hiring a plumber for a checkup is better than a broken pipe
Pipes can start to have problems long before you see serious symptoms. For example, you may notice a little blockage, but a plunger fixes it. In the meantime, it can be a sign of a serious problem that will lead to thousands of repairs within a few months.
A plumber will charge an hourly rate for an inspection, and may or may not find something that needs to be fixed. In some cases, they can take a look and discover future problems that they warn you about. It is better than the alternative, which can be much more expensive.
The same goes for an HVAC professional to see your furnace.
Take the problem above and apply it to your furnace and heating system. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of winter and have your heating run out. You will then be forced to wait a week before someone can contact you and fix the problem. It would be a long few days in heavy sweaters and blankets, that’s for sure.
Have an HVAC specialist come and take a look to make sure everything is in order. If you can afford it and you’ve had your oven for a while, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model.
You Will Get bugs so be prepared
Whether it’s bugs or mice, something will get in during the winter… that’s exactly what vermin do. They are looking to escape the cold, and their log cabin becomes a warm and inviting place to snuggle up.
Be sure to prepare and minimize the risks of infestations as much as possible. Check all canned and stored foods to make sure they are protected and nothing is leaking or open. Clean all cracks carefully and remove dust particles and dirt. Check corners and along walls for hidden holes. You may also want to quickly spray with an insecticide to take care of any possible nests during the winter.
A fireplace is great for warmth, but it needs a little TLC
Fireplaces are a beautiful and comforting addition to any log cabin. But you must maintain them properly, or you could be a fire and gas hazard. The last thing you want is a buildup in the duct that causes a potential health risk to your family. Ensuring it is properly cleaned before use and before closing for the season is a must for homeowners.
Hire a chimney sweep to come in, clean, and make sure it’s working properly. Then when winter is over, have them clean it again and turn it off for the warmer months. You never know what might have gotten up there, including small animals, birds, and insect nests.
Clean and spread out those gutters to prevent them from damaging the exterior
Your gutters are probably full of leaves and debris. Make sure you go upstairs and clean them before it gets too cold. Also consider adding an extender to the pipe, to carry drainage water at least a few feet from the house. This will prevent the exterior stain from being damaged or water from penetrating through unsealed hidden parts of the walls.
An extension costs around $10 and takes a few seconds to install yourself.
Don’t be caught by surprise, winter!