Many individuals often believe home improvement projects can only be addressed during the spring, summer, or fall. This is far from the truth, and there are some essential winter home improvement projects that should be addressed now to save you from serious headaches in the future. Plus, these projects will help save you money.
One of the worst things that can happen to a roof in the winter is ice dams. Ice dams cause costly damage and may lead to some serious repairs to the interior of your home. What can you do to prevent ice dams and heavy snow loads on your roof? Install a heated cable system under the first few rows of shingles on your roof. These electric-powered cables help melt ice and snow while hindering ice dams and snowpack from developing. The best time to undertake this project is before the snow falls, but if you can’t, find a time when the snow on your roof is minimal. In addition to heat cables, add gutter guards to your gutters to ensure they do not become clogged with leaves and other debris.
Water pipes are one of the most troublesome problems to address during the cold of winter. To avoid this, make sure all exterior pipes and spigots on your home are wrapped with foam insulation BEFORE the temperature falls below freezing. If you don’t have a use for your outdoor spigots during the winter months, it’s a good idea to turn off the valves that feed them. While you’re at it, don’t forget about your interior pipes as well. Exposed metal and copper pipes in your basement, attic, and crawl spaces may get cold enough to freeze.
Many don’t think about this, but there are dozens of potential areas where cold air can enter your home, and the warm air you want can escape. To prevent this from happening, the first place to look is around your windows and doors. Make certain they are sealed with caulk, waterproof sealant, or weatherstripping. Inspect areas where pipes enter or exit your home for gaps and seal them shut as well. Another place to look is around interior and exterior light fixtures.
It is possible to have “too much insulation” – but it’s safe to say that most homeowners do not have enough. One step to take is to ensure warm air from your living space does not escape into your unheated attic area. This can lead to melting of snow on your roof that in turn will cause ice dams and heavy icicles to form. Make sure your attic has the proper amount of insulation and that there are no gaps where air from your living space can escape. These areas include your attic and the little-used crawl spaces you may have. Another area to check is to make sure heating and air conditioning ducts are properly sealed with metallic foil tape.
In modern homes where proper insulation has been installed, there’s nothing better than a programmable thermostat. Installing one is relatively simple, not very costly, and will save you a considerable amount of money on your heating bill. Once installed, you can program them so that more heat is provided during morning and evening hours when you are home and less heat when you are away at work. Many can even be controlled from your smartphone.
Undertaking these simple improvement projects during the winter months will save you time and money.