Winter is Coming: Update Your Home with These 6 Essentials
Is your home ready for the next snowpocalypse? Winter is right around the corner, and there’s never been a better time for a little home improvement, inside and out. Most people spend more time indoors in the winter, and these easy home upgrades can help keep your cabin fever at bay until things warm up again.
Re-insulate Your Attic
When it comes to winter updates, insulation is one of the best investments you can make. Over 90% of homes in the US are under-insulated, and a lack of insulation can significantly inflate your energy bills.
Remodeling magazine rates fiberglass attic insulation as the number-one most efficient home improvement project with a 117% return on investment. Re-insulating your attic could more than pay for itself, making this upgrade a no-brainer. A professional home energy audit can also help ensure your home is properly sealed against heat loss in your attic by detecting any significant drafts or cold spots.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are the latest and greatest devices in home efficiency. These intelligent upgrades can significantly increase your home’s energy efficiency, and they offer intuitive features and interfaces that make them easy to use. Early winter is the perfect time to invest since your home’s heating system will be working overtime during the months to come.
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled and use a number of advanced features to monitor and adjust your home’s temperature more actively than a traditional thermostat. The newest thermostats on the market even use artificial intelligence to “learn” your heating and cooling habits over time, automatically adjusting your home’s temperature when the thermometer dips.
Check Your Filters, Ducts, and Smoke Detectors
Home safety is especially important during the winter months, when your family is spending more time indoors. Don’t risk getting snowed in with a bad duct system — now is the time for some maintenance.
Start by cleaning out the ducts and filters you can reach yourself, like your kitchen and dryer vents and the filter in your furnace. A professional can help you clear out any blockages in harder-to-reach places. Even a professional cleaning can pay for itself in energy savings since your heating system won’t have to work as hard to move warm air around your home.
Finally, inspect the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and replace any dead batteries. Consider upgrading to an interconnected system to ensure your family is safe from a worst-case scenario.
Try a New Coat of Paint
Your favorite home upgrade might be as inexpensive as a bucket of paint. Winter is the perfect time to liven up your interior space with a new color, and a paint project is the perfect way to get up and off the couch when the winter blues starts to sink in.
Your home’s interior paint colors can significantly affect your mood. Bright colors can help how you feel emotionally, combating those winter blues. If you’ve got a collection of bright furniture, a simple coat of bright white paint can really liven up your space and complement your home’s furnishings. And make sure you ventilate the area where you paint so you don’t endanger your health.
Update Your Home Entertainment System
Winter is the perfect time to catch up on all the great TV series you missed during the summer. If your home entertainment system is less than inviting, consider upgrading before you’re stuck in a twenty-four-hour blizzard.
Streaming devices are this year’s big home entertainment upgrades. More homeowners than ever are upgrading to devices like Roku or Apple TV to take advantage of the latest streaming content from providers like Netflix, Google Play, and Amazon Prime. You can even stream NFL games without a cable contract, keeping you on top of the latest fantasy football stats all the way through the winter — and keeping some cash in your pocket without a cable bill.
Seal Up Windows and Doors
It should come as no surprise that windows and doors can act as glaring holes in your home’s exterior insulation. Older windows and doors are often huge sources of wasted heat, and replacing every window and door in your home might not be feasible. With a little DIY magic, you can get most of the benefit of new windows and doors without remodeling your home.
You can seal your home’s windows and doors yourself with a two-pronged approach. First, inspect the outside of your home’s windows for gaps in the sealing. Use an exterior-grade caulk to block any drafts at the edges of the window frame. Next, use weather stripping (foam, felt, or V-Seal are the best options) and line the inside of your windows to seal any drafts where the windows meet the frames. You can apply the same weather stripping to the inside edges of your doors to keep drafts at bay.
If you’ve got more free time at home during the cold winter months, put it to good use with these home improvement projects. You’ll save money, and your home will be much more comfortable for that long, midwinter Game of Thrones marathon.
Have any home improvement tips that you use to prepare for winter? Share them in the comments below!