The fall and winter months are notorious for bringing along something called Seasonal Affective Disorder -- also known as SAD. It’s a special kind of depression that most people start to experience once the weather conditions shift from warm and cozy to cold and uncomfortable.
What many people don’t realize is that the fall and winter months are just as depressing to your tiny home as they are to your mental health. If your tiny home isn’t properly prepared for this change in weather, it can experience a wide range of issues that come back to haunt you.
While there are a wide range of ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and enhance your mental health during these difficult months, there are also a wide range of ways to prepare your home for the same kind of storm. Luckily, we have some tips for you and your tiny home!
Preparing your home for the winter cold might seem like a lot of work, but it goes a long way in reducing the amount of turmoil you have to deal with once fall and winter rolls around. The turmoil you can face is much more agonizing than the preparation it takes to prevent it.
Don’t worry, we’re going to detail five of the most prominent things you need to be doing every year to reduce the chances of anything going wrong in the cold and miserable months. Let’s take a closer look!
If you were watching the news during the 2021 winter storm that ravaged through the state of Texas, then you caught a glimpse of some of the dangers of not winterizing your plumbing when freezing temperatures hit your home. It can be extremely devastating to your day-to-day life.
To avoid frozen, broken, damaged, or burst pipes in your home, there are a few things you can do throughout the winter months. First, you should consider the use of PEX pipes instead of copper. PEX pipes have a bit of flexibility to them, which means they can expand if they freeze.
In addition to that, you should always properly insulate your plumbing and pipes throughout the home. It’ll help keep your pipes nice and warm, much like when you’re wrapped up in a blanket. Running your hot water briefly throughout the day is another good habit to get into frequently.
Insulation around your pipes is extremely important, but you also want to make sure the insulation around your home is adequate for the winter months. This is something you should consider when building your tiny home, but there are also ways to improve it over time.
One of the things you should check for before the cold hits your home is any cracks, drafts, small openings, and broken seals around your windows, doors, attic spaces, and other access spots throughout the home. These can cause cold air to enter the home without any permission.
Of course, you can always add extra insulation around your doors and windows, as well as heavy curtains to add a little extra protection around these features. Anything will help -- small or large -- so don’t take anything for granted when fully insulating your home top to bottom!
Your roof can be home to a wide range of issues during the winter. The first step in preparing your roof for colder months is to ensure its stability and durability. Especially in climates that see a lot of snow, your roof needs to be able to maintain its structure as snow starts to pile up.
You’ll also want to make sure there aren’t any tree branches hanging over the roof. When snow piles up on the branch, it can break off from the tree and land on your roof -- causing a hole that allows cold air into the home. You’ll also want your attic to be properly insulated and ventilated.
Lastly, you should always inspect your flashing and shingles for any damage -- as well as ensuring your gutters are working properly. As snow melts and turns into water, you want to make sure that water finds its way down the side of the home, instead of inside the home!
One of the easiest solutions when trying to stay warm inside the home during winter is by investing in a heating unit. They can heat your home up in no time at all and aren't too expensive since you only have a small space to heat up. Not only that, but you have plenty of options here.
The most-known option available is an HVAC unit that uses ductwork. It’s a popular option for anyone that has the space since it offers both heating and cooling, but not all tiny homeowners have the space for it. You can also go with a mini-split unit, which also does heating and cooling.
If neither of those options sound like the option for you, we suggest investing in a portable heater that plugs into the wall. These are often small and can be moved around your home with ease. You can also consider a mini fireplace or a wood-burning stove for a more traditional solution.
Your water heater is one of the most important appliances found throughout the home, especially in the winter months when hot water is mandatory. Not only does it supply your hot showers and baths, but it helps prevent those pipes from freezing due to cold temperatures.
While you should have your water heater serviced regularly, you should never miss out on the opportunity to winterize your water heater by calling a professional. Ensuring it’s working properly will go a long way in keeping you satisfied throughout the cold months of winter.
You should also make sure your propane tanks are protected from the cold. If these get too cold, they won’t work and you’ll be without propane -- which many people use to heat their water. Believe it or not, they make ventilated propane tank covers designed specifically for the winter.
No one wants to feel the impact of Season Affective Disorder in the fall and winter, especially those that deal with depression symptoms on a regular basis already. Believe it or not, your home doesn’t want to feel this impact either and there’s a ton of things you can do to prevent it.
While the tips above will go a long way in helping you prepare your tiny home for the winter months, it won’t do much to solve those depression symptoms you might be feeling daily. For more advice on managing depression, contact our good friends at BetterHelp immediately.
If you’re in the market for more tips and advice regarding the tiny home movement and tiny home living, feel free to head over to our Tiny House Blog. We’re always connecting with the tiny home community and releasing valuable advice on how to enhance your tiny home experience!
Find answers — straight from the author — for the most common questions about this article.