If you’re like many modern homeowners, you equate home improvement projects with warm weather activities. However, you’d probably be surprised at what you can get done regarding updates and renovations during the winter months. Making home improvements in winter has several advantages as well. For instance, materials may be less expensive than they are during the busy season, and if you need to hire professionals for any stage of your project, you’ll likely find greater availability among skilled technicians and contractors.
Here are just 10 of the many projects you can tackle in the winter.
1. Seal Up Leaks and Openings
Not only does sealing up openings and air leaks around windows and doors help keep you and other household residents comfortable by eliminating drafts, but it saves you money on your monthly utility bill. As an added bonus, sealing up leaks and openings will also prevent condensation from forming on the interior glass of your windows. Insulating spray foam is an excellent way to seal up small openings around stationary windows, and weatherstripping is typically recommended for sealing doors and windows with moveable components.
2. Insulate Your Attic
Winter is also a good time to insulate your attic, especially if you live in an area where seasonal temperatures plunge to uncomfortable levels. Keep in mind that because heat rises, most household heat is typically lost through the ceiling. You should immediately notice a reduction in your utility costs if you insulate your attic this winter.
3. Replace Countertops
Just because a complete kitchen upgrade isn’t in the cards doesn’t mean you can’t replace a countertop or two. If you’ve decided to go with laminate countertops, you should be able to do this job on your own, while you may want to hire a contractor if you’ve decided on granite or marble. This is a particularly good move if you anticipate putting your home on the market in the spring.
4. Upgrade Your Air Conditioner
Winter is the perfect time to upgrade your household air conditioning unit for two reasons. First, skilled technicians are far less busy during winter than they are during the warm season, so if you need to bring in outside help for your air conditioner upgrade, you’ll have plenty of local options to choose from. Also, your technician will be able to spend more time inspecting and tuning up your unit. If it’s determined that you need a new AC system, you’ll likely get a better deal from a retailer than you would if you waited until the start of summer.
If your HVAC unit is over 10 years old, it’s probably time to think about a replacement. ENERGY STAR systems save money on utilities, and you may be able to get a tax credit or rebate on a new HVAC unit.
5. Deep Clean Your Windows
Although deep cleaning windows during winter seems like a daunting task, especially for those in areas where temperatures are routinely below freezing, there are a few tips and tricks that make it easy — and you’ll be glad once the job is done because you’ll have increased the amount of natural light that’s able to access your home interior. Adding a little windshield wiper cleaner meant for use on vehicles will help prevent the liquid from freezing over on the surface of the windows before you have a chance to wipe it off. You can also mix your regular window cleaner with warm water in a spray bottle.
To avoid streaks, wash both the exterior and interior windows on overcast days. If this isn’t possible, avoid commercial window cleaners and use diluted white vinegar instead.
6. Give Your Laundry Room a Makeover
As one of the most neglected rooms in the home, laundry rooms can almost always use a makeover. Add or replace shelving, apply a fresh coat of paint in a cheerful shade, change out the light fixture and even replace tired old appliances if necessary. You can pick up inexpensive baskets to use as organizers for laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach, and other commonly used laundry items. Checkered or flowered cafe curtains add a cheerful, kitschy look, and you can add warmth by adding a throw rug.
7. Insulate Your Water Pipes
Few things have greater potential to ruin your day than waking up to discover that your water pipes have burst. Not only is it typically very expensive, but repairing or replacing broken pipes is a time-consuming process, and you won’t be able to comfortably use your own home until the situation is fixed. Fortunately, you can circumvent this by insulating your water pipes to help ensure that they don’t freeze when overnight temperatures plunge.
Insulation materials for pipes can be anything from several layers of newspapers held together by duct tape to self-sealing foam insulation. For an added layer of protection against the damage caused by freezing pipes, leave a trickle of water running in at least one of your faucets overnight.
8. Paint One or More Rooms
Many people automatically assume that summer is the time to paint. Although this may be true for exterior paint jobs simply because the chances of having a stretch of good weather in summer are typically higher than it is in winter, it’s actually better to plan interior paint jobs for winter. Atmospheric humidity is lower in winter than in summer, and this means that paint will dry faster — and the faster your paint dries, the less chance there is of the paint job accidentally being botched by a wayward pet or child.
9. Install Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring installation is another home improvement upgrade where low atmospheric humidity is desirable. This is because the lack of moisture in the air helps prevent gaps from developing in the newly placed boards. The dry air also helps minimize drying time for adhesives typically used in hardwood flooring installation.
10. Replace Household Hardware
Household hardware is one of the easiest things to overlook when it comes to upgrades, but once you’ve replaced it, you can really see the difference. Doorknobs, latches, handles, and plumbing fixtures such as faucets all qualify as household hardware. For an even bigger impact, include light fixtures in your hardware makeover. You can either choose to match everything for a cohesive theme or mix it up for an eclectic look.
Let The Renovations Begin
While the warm summer months provide a great environment for some home improvement projects, there are some projects that are not only doable but also ideal for winter months. Space out these ten projects over the next few months, and your home will be a step ahead of your yearly spring cleaning.
You might also be interested in: 18 Ways To Save Money On Your Energy Bills This Winter