As winter quickly approaches, it’s important that you’re sure your home is ready for the season. Everything from frozen pipes to slippery sidewalks can make for disastrous results if you haven’t done the home projects and preparatory work to ensure a smooth transition through the winter. If you want to be confident in your home’s winter readiness, but you’re just not sure where to get started, then follow some of these simple tips below.
Cleaning Your Home
Lots of people find that they spend more time in their house throughout the colder months of the winter. Due to dropping temperatures and the hassles of cleaning snow and ice off of your car and bundling up, there’s no shame in passing more of your days indoors to get through the season. But if you’re going to be in your home more, then it’s important to make sure it’s comfortable and inviting for both you, your family, and any visitors. There’s no better way to do this than to take the time out to really clean your home. In fact, deep cleaning can be one of the most gratifying home projects you can take on.
While most homeowners choose to do their deep cleaning somewhere in the spring months (i.e. spring Cleaning) the wintertime presents an excellent opportunity for doing more thorough cleaning that might get ignored otherwise. Be careful when you’re cleaning, especially if you need to clean ceiling fans or other precariously located items. You don’t want to make an unexpected trip to the closest urgent care center. With the right approach to cleaning your fixtures, furniture, and baseboards, you’ll quickly notice that your home starts to shine in all the ways you want it to when you’re spending more time indoors.
Spruce Things Up By Decorating
Similar to cleaning your home, putting up the right decorations can go a long way to creating the type of uplifting atmosphere that makes for the perfect escape from the cold. Decorating is also great because it gives you lots of things to do with children. For example, you can get the kids involved around the holidays and have them help you put up your seasonal holiday decorations while also learning about the nature of their culture and traditions.
Winter is also an excellent time to revamp your personalized wall decor. If you want to get the whole family involved in one of your home projects, then you could have a craft day where you make unique decor to spruce up each and every room. Of course, consulting with a decorative book or website is also fair game if you’re looking for fun, innovative ideas that will improve the look and feel of your home.
Prepare Your Garage and Your Gutters
Preparing your garage for winter is something you should never overlook, especially if you plan to store your vehicle or other valuable items there. It’s fruitful to take a day to clean and organize everything in your garage so you know where items are, and how to access them without having to push other things out of the way. For example, if you know there’s a big snowstorm coming, it’s no fun to have to move everything aside just to get to your shovel or your snowblower. Automating these processes makes it much easier to deal with winter conditions when they arise.
When tackling these home projects, you should also be sure that your gutters and other drainage points are prepared for the winter. If your gutters are clogged with leaves and sticks, then big snow and ice storms can cause major problems in the roof of your home. It’s usually a good idea to have your gutters cleaned as close to the first frost as possible. You should also see to it to make sure that you drain any outdoor faucets attached to your home so you can avoid sitting water freezing and causing damage to your pipes. Of course, these types of home projects aren’t exactly fun, but you can always contact a local gutter cleaning service to take care of things for you. Once winter is in full swing, you’ll be happy you took the time to be prepared.
Seal Off Areas That Might Cause Air Leaks
Keeping your home properly sealed up is perhaps the best way to stay warm and energy-efficient throughout the cold part of the year. You can start your sealing by addressing the most common areas. Windows and window frames are usually the first place to seal up. You can invest in winterized windows, or if you’re looking for cheaper options, you can find window coverings that reduce the amount of cold air that passes through them. As another smaller tip, you should open your blinds or window shades on sunny days, as the warmth from the sun will help to warm your home up.
Next you should check your door frames and baseboards for any potential air leaks. A high-quality door draft stopper is an excellent investment, especially for those entryways and exits that get used day after day. You might be losing valuable temperature through the cracks below your door, and around the frame of the door itself. Taking the time to get these sealed up is one of those home projects you won’t regret.
Your attic is also a potential source of problems when it comes to maintaining proper sealing in your home. It’s a good idea to have your attic inspected and replace the insulation if necessary. Your attic is also a culprit for all sorts of critters trying to find new homes in the cold months, so making sure it’s sealed will also help you avoid any unwanted winter residents.
Eliminate Potential Hazards
The last thing you want in the winter is a flood in your basement family room. It’s wise to take care of your basement waterproofing in the Fall before colder weather starts to take over, thus increasing the risk of problems with your basement and the rest of your home. You should pay particular attention to your basement and your roof if you live in an area that tends to snow a lot, as warmer days lead to lots of melting and the potential of runoff floods from melted snow.
Other potential hazards in the winter months include dangerous ice on sidewalks, driveways, and front steps. To prepare for the conditions, make sure you have all the necessary tools on hand to deal with slippery conditions. A bucket of salt, a new shovel, and a sturdy pair of gloves are all accessories that no homeowner should be without. That way, when the snow and ice hits, you’re prepared to deal with it in a safe, timely manner. When it comes to being prepared with home projects, you should also take care to make sure your HVAC equipment is running smoothly. Which brings us to the next point.
Check your Heating and Cooling System for Energy Efficiency
In an average home, heating and cooling make up 54% of annual utility bills. That’s over half of your utility expenses! When you take this number into account, you’ll quickly realize just how important it is to make sure that your heating and cooling system is running in the most efficient way possible. Taking care of your system is one of the most critical home projects you can tackle before winter hits, especially if you want to save money on your monthly utility bill.
Your heating and cooling system should be inspected twice annually, so if you realize it’s been a while, now is the time to schedule that next inspection. Doing so just might save you valuable time and money, plus there’s nothing worse than having a broken down heater in the middle of winter. And if energy conservation services are something you’re worried about, your home insulation should probably be checked up on, too. Smart windows and smart habits can go a long way to ensuring that the warm air generated by your heating system is not being lost through gaps in your windows, baseboards, and door frames. A full inspection of your insulation and windows can save valuable time, resources, and money.
Prep Your Yard
Even the most passionate home gardeners can forget to properly prep their yards for the colder winter months. As a good starting point, you should always remember to try to mow the lawn one last time before the first freeze comes in. Because your lawn will soon become dormant for the season, it’s also wise to make sure you rake it and get rid of any excess debris or unwanted materials. Keeping your lawn clear is one of the best ways to ensure it makes it through the cold with the least amount of damage done. If you’re unsure about where to begin on home projects for your lawn, check out some online resources that might help you properly protect your yard this winter.
The grass is not the only part of your yard you need to consider. You should also be sure to move any outdoor furniture and accessories to a safe, indoor location. All too often people forget to move their patio tables and chairs, or even their grill and discover it’s too late once a big snowstorm has rolled through. To prevent unnecessary harm to your outdoor furnishings, make sure you take care of them before it’s too late.
Minimize the Likelihood of Fires
Unfortunately, winter brings with it an increased risk for fires in the home. Because heating systems are being used more regularly, and with a higher demand placed on them, it’s prudent to be certain that you take the steps needed to reduce the likelihood of a fire taking place. As we discussed earlier, having your heating system checked is perhaps the best move you can make for fire readiness, but there are several more home projects you can invest in.
Make a habit of checking your smoke detectors to ensure that they are functioning as they should be. This means also checking them for fresh, operational batteries. Carbon monoxide detectors should undergo the same comprehensive inspection. If you have fire extinguishers in your kitchen or any other areas, be sure they are working properly. This is also a good time to instruct anyone living in the home on the proper use of a fire extinguisher. It’s a sad fact that most people have no idea how to use a fire extinguisher, so when the time comes, they are unable to act. All this can be prevented by taking the time to prepare.
If you have a fireplace in your home, then you should also get it cleaned and prepared before the first snow hits. Take care to remove any old, outdated firewood and replenish it. Your chimney should also be tended and cleaned out to ensure for safe, reliable fires.
Finish Up Any Renovations or Major Home Projects
Winter is not the best time to be caught in the midst of a major home renovation. Sure, it might seem like a good idea to get your bathroom renovation out of the way while it’s cold outside, but do you really want to give up that hot shower when it’s cold outside? By ensuring that your big home projects are done before winter, you can prepare yourself to focus on the more important parts of the season, such as spending time with family and celebrating the holidays. Furthermore, the winter can provide a much needed period of reflection and assessment, that way you can plan your upcoming renovations and hit the ground running once spring comes around.
Preparing your home for the winter can seem overwhelming at first. If you’re feeling like these home projects are too much, then it’s helpful to break them down and do them one by one over the course of the late Summer and Fall. While getting your home through the winter can certainly be a challenge, if you follow these tips and stay proactive, you will have no trouble getting your home ready for the season.