Weather proofing your house for winter

It's a fulltime job at the moment weatherproofing the house for winter. And we move at a slower pace than most people! So much has been neglected for a very long time. But for a 100 year old house it's to be expected. The house is very solid and built to last. The basic structures are in fantastic condition, including the roof timbers. There are just some areas that need attention. Pulling off the vinyl weatherboard cladding remains a dream of mine, which will take a lot of time and money. In the interim we have to get the place ready for damp, cold weather.

How to get rid of Portuguese Millipedes
There are rotting bits of flooring and doorways which let in thousands of Portuguese millipedes. Speaking to the neighbours this 'plague' is a very unusual phenomenon. I have literally vacuumed up tens of thousands of the things in the five weeks we've been here! Hopefully the season will be over soon. We are definitely making headway by:
  1.  removing untreated wooden garden edging(used most of it for firewood)
  2. removing leaf litter, 
  3. Laying down ant dust on the perimeter where the dirt meets the walls
  4. filling every cranny and nook with No More Gaps flexible filler
  5. spraying poisonous surface spray at entry points (being mindful of cats, dogs and chickens roaming around of course)
Free hot water and room heaters!
Various owners have made improvements over the years, such as the fabulous radiators in every room warmed by water connected to the kitchen stove. This bypasses the need to heat with gas or electricity, cutting down on the power bill by a huge amount! Keeps us warm, cooks food, and provides lovely hot showers. We can switch to electricity when we want to, but with the cooler weather its nice to have the kitchen fire going.

Rainwater tank disaster
Another innovation was the rain water tank, HOWEVER it wasn't installed properly, so we have regular floods into the laundry, which rotted the floorboards and introduced thousands of said critters into the house. The overflow pipe doesn't exist, so the extra water just flows down the side of the tank and to the lowest ground - right outside the laundry. We had to do a quick emergency fix with expanding foam. Doesn't look pretty but is watertight until we have the time and money to replace rotten floorboards. You can trim off the excess, sand and even paint expanding foam. It's pretty good stuff.

Also, there are catchment pipes which are supposed to catch sediment and other stuff. But they need to be EMPTIED on a regular basis. I can't begin to describe the smell of the muck we found in there... Consequently, when we decided to switch over from spring water to tank water we all felt a bit sick. Back on spring water now, straight from under the ground. Pure, lovely and tastes gorgeous. No critters. No smell. And the best part is - NO MORE WATER BILLS! The downside is that when the pump doesn't work, we don't have any water... So regular maintenence is key.

Window and door weather proofing
Again the No More Gaps comes into full force. Also those stick-on strips of fuzzy stuff that reduces noise, wind and water. Just peel off the adhesive, stick it in a long line down the edge of the window and cut to length. Handy for door seals too. And not expensive either! The front door had a rotten doorstep, which let in rain and bugs. Completely rotten. The posts were just hanging, not connected at all. So we pulled out the mess and installed a new doorstep, anchored the frame with wedged blocks glued and screwed and will sand then use oil based paint to keep out the moisture. We also ensured the doorstep was angled away from the entry, so that water run-off falls back onto the concrete, not seeping into the house.

Recycling engine oil and diesel
A very important step before putting the new wood in place was to pour a mixture of oil and diesel on the structure under the doorstep to discourage critters, moisture and rot. This morning there was a marked reduction in critter mess inside. Thank goodness!

Skirting boards next
The No More Gaps will sure get a workout because many of the skirting boards have been removed during renovation and put back badly, leaving large gaps for bugs to crawl up, and moisture too I guess. (I have a thing about bugs, ok?) This invention is truly wonderful! We bought about 10 cannisters from the hardware store yesterday. And you can paint over it too. Make edges neat and tidy.

Flossie Madness
Finally, a bit of silliness with our pup Flossie. She absolutely LOVES country life! Er, and that's a TOY rat she's playing with! She stole it from the cat.