For those seeking some activity during the colder months, here are five projects which may be appropriate for wintertime.
- Tend to your gutters and roof
It may not be too late to take steps to prevent ice dams and heavy snow loads on your roofs and in your gutters — even if you’ve already had snow. Find time on a day where there isn’t much (or any) snow or ice accumulation on your roof and make sure the gutters are clear and clean so melting snow can easily flow away without refreezing in the gutters, you can also mount gutter guards atop your gutters to prevent debris from clogging them up and contributing to ice dams.
- Insulate or fix plumbing and pipes
Make sure that all exterior pipes and spigots on your home are wrapped thoroughly with foam insulation for when temperatures dip below freezing. If you don’t plan on using any of these exterior spigots, shut off the water valves that feed them. Don’t forget your interior pipes; exposed metal and copper in basements, attics, and crawl spaces may get cold enough to freeze. The last thing you need during the winter months is having to deal with burst pipes.
- Seal up openings
There are dozens of potential areas in your home where cold air can seep in and warm air can leak out. To avoid this, seal seams around windows and doors with caulk, waterproof sealant, or weather-stripping. Then inspect places where pipes enter and exit your home and seal those areas up as well. While you’ll want to maintain some ventilation during the winter months, you should still seal any openings around the vents themselves. Also, make sure air isn’t leaking through the cracks around your interior and exterior light fixtures.
- Insulate attics and crawl spaces
Most homeowners don’t have nearly enough insulation. To prevent heat from escaping through your ceilings, make sure your entire attic is protected by at least 16 inches of R-49 insulation. Do the same for little-used crawl spaces and basement ceilings as well. Heating or air conditioning ducts can be sealed with metallic foil or duct tape, and you may want to consider building a customized foam box to insulate your pull-down attic stairs.
- Put in a programmable thermostat
It’s a simple do-it-yourself (DIY) project that doesn’t cost very much to complete, and the thermostat pays for itself in energy savings during the winter seasons. Once installed, program the thermostat to call for more heat during the morning and evening, and less heat when you’re away at work or school.