The winter months are always something to dread, as a long stretch of cold and dreary days seem endless before us. As homeowners though, we can use the time wisely and productively to make our homes more energy efficient and warmer during the winter months. At the same time, there are many different affordable repairs that you can take on that will make your home more efficient all year long.
When you are thinking of making repairs during the winter months, perform the tasks and repairs that are most needed first, and then get to your wish list last. When you are performing repairs on your home, make a list of your must-haves. Many of these tasks can be performed on your own, but you can outsource them as well to contractors that specialize in components such as electrical and plumbing. Use this handy guide of affordable repairs that you can complete during the winter months to make your home safer and more efficient year-round.
Winterizing plumbing during and for the winter months can seem like an arduous task. You may not need extensive repairs like sewer line repairs, but if this is a concern, consult a professional to determine what you need. There are many affordable repairs that you can perform on your own. Or, you can call a plumber to assess your exterior and interior plumbing to make sure it is up to snuff for the winter.
Check your exterior plumbing to make sure that all outdoor faucets and taps are turned off for the winter. If you have any outdoor hoses or lines, you want them removed and stored for the winter. You will also want to empty any of the pipes that lead to taps and hoses to ensure that you avoid a burst pipe over the winter. Check your outdoor faucets as well for air gaps that may bring cold air into the home.
Any outdoor pipes must be insulated in order to ensure that your pipes do not freeze during the winter. These pipes could easily rupture which will create larger and more expensive repairs. Insulate your pipes where necessary to avoid leaky air gaps and burst pipes. You’ll also want to check that your hot water tank if you have one, is well insulated.
Insulation is an important component of winterizing your home. There are many different benefits to this, with pest control being one of them. At the same time, energy efficiency is something that insulation can help with. When you have proper insulation installation in your home, you have a winterized home that you can enjoy without worrying about over the long dark winter months.
Insulation installation in your home can be one of the most affordable repairs. There may be areas in your home that need to be insulated that you haven’t even thought of. If you have floorboards in your home with hardwood or flat boards, you may have an area underneath the boards that needs some installation. Those air gaps could be sucking a lot of your heating costs.
Your attic will also be a heat drainer if you do not have that insulated properly as well. Attics will also drain your energy costs in the summer if your HVAC system isn’t well maintained prior to the summer. If you don’t want to do the attic insulation yourself, have a contractor come and check the attic for insulation installation. If you aren’t sure, have the attic inspected to have the insulation checked for winterizing.
Heating repairs can be very expensive, so get ahead of the game with more affordable repairs by getting your heating system checked early. Get estimates from boiler replacement companies ahead of the winter months if you can, where the rates may be more affordable. You may also want to replace your HVAC system if you have had it for more than 10 years. A newer system may be less costly than repairs, and more energy efficient.
Call a contractor if you aren’t sure what to do about your heating or air conditioning system. You may only need an inspection to tell you that a few minor repairs are needed. You will know if you’ve had the systems too long and if a major expense is coming. At the same time, you may just need to have your vents cleaned out and your air filters replaced in your furnace.
You may want to hire a concrete business to come in and check the masonry or brickwork in your home. If you have a fireplace and chimney, a professional contractor is a good idea here to ensure you have affordable repairs. For most masonry work, repairs are likely best performed in the summer and fall, but getting this done in the winter is never a bad idea. If you need brick-and-mortar work, the mortar may not seal as well in the winter.
At the same time, a good mason will be able to perform an inspection and tell you what to prepare yourself for. Some masons will mix their mortar with an antifreeze component in the winter months for emergency repairs. When temperatures drop, exterior masonry may be unlikely, but interior work can be performed. Ensure that there are heaters or tarps in interior locations so that the masonry can be performed despite the temperatures outside.
Winter months mean snow days, long weekends, and more time on your hands to look around the house and see things that need to get done. You don’t need an equipment trailer to perform a full renovation if you are doing a simple interior painting renovation. Interior painting is a great way to spruce up the home during the winter months and can make for some very affordable repairs.
You can start to spot-check various areas of your home to see where the interior painting needs to be done first. However, you may already have an idea of a room or two that you want to start with. Interior painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to upgrade a room in the home without spending a lot. If you have a budget to work with, do a few rooms in your home over the winter and give your home a facelift with new wall paint.
Chimney cleaning is an important part of every home’s maintenance work if you have a fireplace and a chimney. If the job is too dirty or time-consuming for you, a chimney sweep can make this winter task among the most affordable repairs on your list. At the same time, if you don’t want to use the chimney anymore, you can have a chimney sweep perform that task as well. There are many things that you can do to conserve heat in the home if you don’t want to use your chimney this winter.
Once your chimney has been cleaned, consider having it blocked. There are different kinds of excluders that you can have installed in the chimney that can help. Foam can be installed or a chimney balloon can be installed that will block the chimney and prevent heat from escaping into the chimney. There are also waterproof pillows that you can block the chimney that can be removed if you don’t want to use the chimney that year.
Roof maintenance is an important part of every homeowner’s maintenance list. Unless your roof is over a decade old, it is not likely that you will need a new roof this winter. However, roof maintenance can include replacing shingles or fixing leaks, and also having duct work performed. Roof maintenance can be among many very affordable repairs for your home and can also reduce your heating costs.
You can help to ensure that your roof lasts longer by having your roof maintained for leaks and damage. At the same time, you can prevent future leaks in the winter by having your roof properly maintained, which will also reduce the amount of mold or mildew that could accrue in the home. When your roof is well maintained, you will also increase the value of your home and yield a solid return on your investment if you plan on selling after the winter months.
Updated ducts are an important part of winterizing your home. You can consult with an electrician as well if you want additional work performed in the home. When you have your ducts upgraded and maintained, you can prevent leaks from hot or cool air leaving the home and multiplying your energy bills. Ducts simply need to be sealed or updated if you are finding that your energy bills seem a little off.
In most cases, a duct repair can be a very simple one. You’ll need sealant and insulation to ensure there are no leaks around the ductwork. You also want to make sure that you don’t have any furniture around the airspace that could block air from flowing into rooms easily. You may want to invest in new grills for your heating and air vents as well, to upgrade the room décor and also to improve energy efficiency.
Electrical improvements are a great project to add to your list of affordable repairs over the winter months. If you are using a window replacement company for your winterizing list, get your electrical work done first. Windows are an excellent winter project that can help you to save costs on your electric and heating bills. At the same time, you may want an electric contractor to come out first so that when you do replace the windows, your heating and thermostats will be in good shape.
Your thermostats are an essential part of your electric system. You want to make sure that all of your connections are working well to ensure that your home is wired properly during the winter. Be sure that your appliances and lighting are all connected to the right outlets and power bars, and used efficiently. You may want a contractor to come in and give you some ideas here.
Replace all of your light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs and you may find that they last all winter long, or longer if you purchase the right kind. This may be a good time to update fixtures and improve the décor at the same time. Get into the habit of turning off power bars at night that are consuming energy that isn’t being used when everybody is sleeping. Get into the habit of limiting the amount of electrical energy you use during the winter, and you will find these affordable repairs result in affordable bills.
When you are a homeowner, the concept of new windows will always be on your mind. Most homeowners who have been in their homes for more than 10 years will want new windows at some point. That is because as time goes on, windows age, and they begin to impact all systems in the home. They can sag, leak, break, or just become outdated. If you are not getting a new roof this year and are not using residential roofing services, you may want to consider the major upgrade of new windows.
New windows are among the most costly home repairs, but you don’t have to do them all at once. The largest windows are the most important windows to replace because, again, it all goes back to energy efficiency. With large windows, you can lose a lot of heat and air conditioning all year long if they are not efficient. For the winter months, heavier and more dense drapes can be used to help increase energy efficiency and keep heating costs from going out the window.
When you are a homeowner, preparing for winter maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. Make a list of your must-haves with your major plumbing, roofing, and electrical systems, and you will winterize your home into a more efficient one. Then, add little touches like new fixtures and drapes to complete your winter renovation.