8 Most Popular Home Projects During the Winter Months
When it gets cold outside and you have to put away your lawnmower, rakes and shovels, if you are a person that loves a project, how about you move the projects indoors?!
There are many home improvement projects that are perfectly suited for cold weather and some items that just need to be taken care of before it gets too cold.
In this DIY Reviews guide, we have put together a list of projects that you might consider this winter and a few that we suggest you complete to make sure your family stays safe and healthy for the winter months.
The cold weather has arrived and if you frequently use your fireplace to heat your home, or even for the occasional weekend fire, you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected. The estimated number of households that use fireplaces as the primary means of heating their home is around 33% and with our economic climate, those numbers are on track to climb. Without regular cleaning and maintenance, creosote can block the airflow in your chimney which could cause a major fire. Not to mention, harmful smoke can fill your house if your chimney is clogged, causing harmful effects on the health of you and your family. Since October is Fire Prevention Month, we want to take the proper precautions to stay safe.
Plan to have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional before seasonal use. These inspections should included interior & exterior inspection and cleaning, as well as a list of any items that need to be repaired. For an idea of items that may need to be repaired and the cost associated, check out the Chimney Repair Cost Guide for helpful information. If you have gas logs in your home, you still need to have these inspections completed before you fire it up for the first time!
A leaky roof can ruin the holidays! That is why you should keep on top of roof repairs before they become big problem. Some DIY’ers don’t have a problem going up on the roof to blow leaves out of the gutters and inspecting the roof for problems, but personally, I won’t go on the roof! It is, however, something I will pay for a professional to do because it is that important. A leak in your roof can not only ruin a room in your home, but if kept unchecked, can cause a collapse. Before you decide to call a professional, hop over to our article, Common Roof Repairs & The Estimate Cost to Fix Them! so you know what to expect in case repairs are needed.
Pipe Wrapping & Insulation
Insulating your pipes will only help you save on energy bills by preventing heat loss, but it will also keep pipes from freezing during a severe cold snap. Pipe insulation is a simple DIY home improvement project that can be performed in a couple of hours; as long as you have the right materials. The DIY Network has a fantastic tutorial that can step you through the process and help you save money!
Furnace Inspection and Tune-Up
Unfortunately, its a fact of life – furnaces always seem to go out during the coldest week of the year! Ideally, you will stay one step ahead by making sure your HVAC system is inspected twice a year – spring and fall. This is not usually a DIY project because HVAC contractors have specialized tools and skills to make sure your inspection and cleaning is thorough and safe. Your inspection should include indoor and outdoor equipment, so make sure whomever you call out to do the work has a checklist and shows you everything they have completed.
There are, however, a few items for those that are particularly handy that can be done in-between inspections. We go into more detail on our HVAC System Maintenance Checklist and suggest you give it a read and perform those items you feel comfortable with.
Cool weather is the best time to spruce up the inside of your home and touch up or repaint some of those walls that are looking outdated. During the summer, it doesn’t matter if you open the windows to air out a new paint job, it still feels stagnant. With cooler weather, you can crack the windows to let the fumes air out a bit and let some of the crisp, clean air in. Indoor painting is one of the least expensive home improvement projects and a way to add value to your home. In addition, it is a perfect DIY project.
Carpet or Flooring Replacement
Much like indoor painting, cool weather is the best time to change your carpet or rip it up and install hardwood floors throughout. For one thing, most people choose to install new carpeting during the summer because professionals will tell you that especially for hardwoods, spring or summer is the best time – making this the most expensive time to buy new flooring. Though opinions differ on when you should install flooring, as long as the room is at a temperature between 66 – 72 degrees, you should be fine. So, why not buy when its cheap?
You can save some money by buying the flooring yourself, then hiring a contractor to install it. Before you go out and start buying, consider taking a look at our article on how to estimate hardwood floor installation; this way, you won’t make mistakes when you purchase and need to go buy more.
Weatherizing Doors & Windows
The biggest heat loss in most homes is poorly insulated windows and doors, and this is an easy project for any homeowner. To put into perspective just how much heat loss can occur, Build It Solar has a handy heat loss calculator that will provide an estimate of heat loss for your home. Before it gets too cold, spend an afternoon applying new weatherstripping around your doors, and window frames. There are many types of weatherstripping on the market and each provide a different purpose. To get more information on the different types of weatherstripping and their uses, check out our article, Weatherstripping , The Different Types of Weatherstripping, where we provide helpful information that can help with your project.
Seal Cracks and Holes
Other areas where heat can seep out of your home are around your chimney, attic access doors and around basement doors and windows.
To seal attic access doors; First apply foam weatherstripping so the door closes tightly. If the gap is wider than the foam tape, you can use 2 layers if needed. You can also further insulate the door by applying a layer of insulation (on the attic side).
For insulating basement doors and windows: First, caulk around windows and weatherstrip basement doors. Cover any unused windows with plastic on the side or you might also consider applying a decorative window tinting if you want them to look a little better.
For instructions on how to seal your fireplace and chimney, check out the great video below: