5 Home Renovation Tips Before Winter Comes
If you set aside time now to get these projects off your list, you'll be grateful when the cold decides to stay.
The fall is an excellent time to do home renovations. Cool, crisp weather makes outdoor projects more tolerable. Additionally, there are some things that simply should be taken care of before the weather turns really cold. Whether you are a new homeowner or an experienced one, these home renovation projects are perfect to get in before winter.
1. Upgrade the HVAC System
The approach of winter means it is time to start thinking about colder weather, and that means heating your home. Many older furnaces and heat pumps are incredibly inefficient. They often eat up oil, gas or electricity while producing less than stellar results. A new system is a significant investment, but you will benefit from it for much more than just this winter.
Since heating and cooling a home are the biggest source of energy use, it makes sense that upgrading the HVAC system can significantly cut down on utility bills. If you really want to see them grow, however, it might be time to look into the available solar panels for home use that are on the market today. Incentives, rebates and special financing can help make it more affordable than you might realize, and then you can be done with the utility company for good.
2. Increase Your Home's Insulation
Insulation keeps a house warmer in the winter by trapping the heat produced by your furnace inside. There are several types, so you'll need to determine which one is best for your application. Many of them can be installed by an industrious DIYer. If your budget is particularly tight, focusing the effort on the floors and ceilings makes the most sense. They contribute to the biggest amount of heat loss in most homes.
3. Install Weatherstripping Around Doors and Windows
Homes built within the past decade or so are sealed pretty well, making them very efficient. Older homes, however, do not have that advantage. That means that windows and doors are often drafty and cold, making the inside feel less comfortable. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Weatherstripping kits and door sweeps can be installed in a matter of minutes. Many of them go inside or around the trip pieces, so you don't even have to remove them. If you want to take it a step further, however, a can of minimally expanding foam can be used to seal large gaps around them. Just be sure to use products specifically designed for around windows and doors. It is formulated to minimize any bowing or warping of the frames.
4. Clean and Repair Chimneys
Fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves and many types of heating systems use chimneys to vent exhaust from the house to outside. Whether you have an imposing stone chimney or a basic sided one that blends into the home's exterior, it should be inspected and cleaned regularly. your homeowner's insurance may even require this as a policy provision. Even zero clearance fireplaces must vent somehow, so find out how yours does and inspect the flue. This is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors too since they will alert you to a problem if one should arise.
5. Trim Overhanging and Damaged Tree Limbs
Most homeowners know that fall weather means it is time to rake the leaves and either use them as mulch, compost them or have them hauled off by the local municipality. However, did you also know that trees and bushes need your attention in the fall, too? They definitely do. Trees should be inspected for overall health and any damaged or diseased limbs should be removed. Trim any that overhang the house or parking areas too, even if they appear healthy. If heavy snow or ice were to accumulate on them, it could pose a hazard for anyone or thing beneath them. If there are power lines near or under the branches, call the power company about having it turned off while you work.
The fall is a great time for certain home projects. Concentrate on the ones that will help you weather the winter more smoothly for the best return on your investment of time and resources.