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5 DIY Projects That Will Prepare Your Home for Winter

Posted: November 19, 2014

Winter is just around the corner, which means you need to prepare your home and yards for the worst. Cold weather, ice, and snow can lead to plenty of issues—like frozen pipes and broken gutters—that you may not anticipate. Here are five DIY projects to prepare your home for any cold and abrasive weather:

Bust Out the Caulk

Before the cold weather comes, fill the gaps around your windows and doors with caulk. Sealing up windows and doors helps keep the cold air out and the warm air in. If you do not want to permanently seal up these gaps, you can buy temporary caulk. This caulk can be easily removed when the weather warms up, but it still works just as well as the permanent stuff.

Ready Your Fireplace

Fireplaces may offer you some big problems when it comes to winter. This is especially true for old fireplaces. If the flue of the fireplaces doesn’t close, or doesn’t close well, then all the warm air your furnace produces is simply going to go right up the chimney. Luckily, there are several ways to fix this. You can pay to have your fireplace blocked up or your flue repaired; or you can find a way to do it yourself. Insulation board happens to be inexpensive, very effective, and it can be easily cut to fit any shape. All you’ll need is a pencil, a yardstick or carpenter’s square, and a utility knife. Simply measure your fireplace, mark the measurements on the insulation board, and cut it with the utility knife. Excess insulation board can be placed over windows or gaps. Unfortunately, insulation board isn’t the nicest thing to look at, so you might want to take time to paint it or drape a curtain over it. You might consider turning this into a kids’ project by having your children decorate the insulation board with a winter theme!

Check Out Your Pipes

Freezing pipes are a common problem during the winter months. Although you can’t control how cold it gets, you can control the temperature of your pipes. Wrapping your pipes in water pipe insulation is the best way to keep your pipes from freezing. Inspect your pipes and find places where they’re exposed or more vulnerable to the cold weather. These exposed areas need to be insulated thoroughly before the cold weather comes.

Change Your Furnace Filter

You should change your furnace filter on a regular basis, but you should always make sure to change it before the cold weather comes. A dirty furnace filter reduces the effectiveness of your furnace. Fortunately, changing the filter is quite simple and easy to do yourself. For most furnaces, all you need to do is open the door and slide in the filter. There should be arrows on the filter so that you know which way it goes into the furnace. In addition to changing the filter, you should get your furnace serviced before it gets too cold.

Put Plastic Over Your Windows

Placing a thin layer of plastic over your windows can greatly reduce the amount of heat lost. If used in addition to caulking, this could really impact your heating bill positively. Now, you might think that plastic covering the windows will look tacky or ugly, but you might be surprised to know that most plastics are difficult to detect. The shrink-wrapped plastic hugs very tightly to the window to be as unobtrusive as possible. This plastic is very easy to install, and only takes a couple of minutes. You simply clean the window frame, place double stick tape on the frame, apply the plastic to the double stick tape and use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic tight. Once the plastic has shrunk, you can then trim off the excess plastic. The nice thing about most of these solutions is that they are temporary as they can be removed once winter is over. These easy-to-do projects will help prepare your home for winter as well as cut down your energy bills. For more tips on becoming a proactive homeowner, check out the Protect Your Home blog!