With the first official day of Winter only a few short weeks away, it's time to prepare your home for short days, long nights and some serious chill. I read this MSN article last Winter, and I thought it was so great that I wanted to bring it back this year! Plus, it will give you something to do besides curling up next to the fire and hibernating!
1. Change your furnace filter.
Ideally, you should have completed this task, along with a few other winter prep essentials, before the chilly weather arrived. Filters last about three months when you're using your furnace regularly, so you may need to do this more than once if it's an especially long and brutal winter.
2. Wash your windows.
Even if you're stuck indoors, that doesn't mean you can't improve your view of the winter wonderland outside. Winter's a great time to wash the inside of your home's windows and let some more light in. You can tackle the other side of the glass when it's bearable to step outdoors.
3. Insulate your water pipes.
Adding insulation will save you money by reducing heat loss in the pipes that carry hot water. You also won't wait as long for hot water when you turn on your faucet.
4. Dye-test your toilet.
Put five drops of food coloring in your toilet’s tank, wait 10 minutes and see if the color comes into the bowl. If it does, you know you have a leak. The most common cause for a leak is a defective flapper, the rubber mechanism that allows water to exit the tank when you flush. That 10 minutes of your time could end up saving you a lot of money on your water bill.
5. Regrout your bathroom tile.
This project is a little more labor intensive, but definitely doable, Lupberger says. You may want to regrout the tile because it's old and dirty, or because you've decided to go with a different color of grout. Either way, you'll first want to clean out the old grout.
7. Install flooring.
Pergo and laminate flooring is designed to go on top of an existing floor and is a great project for do-it-yourselfers, says Arthur Walters, a flooring contractor in Orange County, Calif.
8. Install new lighting.
Justin Merritt, owner of JM Electric Inc. in the Denver area, says homeowners can do basic electrical work themselves, but that "caution must be taken to do things correctly and not cut corners."
9. Replace a faucet.
A professional at your local hardware store can help you determine which faucet fixture will be the correct fit for your sink and be sure you have the right tools for the job. Videos online, including one from Home Depot, can walk you through each step of the process.
10. Replace a toilet.
While a homeowner could complete this task himself, we warn that it requires a strong body to lift a toilet, and a handy mind to complete an installation.
If you are committed to do it, do your research. Watch a video online, read a how-to book or take a class. Again, remember to turn off the water to the fixture. You'll also need to drain the tank by flushing the toilet to remove excess water.
For more detailed guides, check out the full article: 10 Great Winter Home Projects