Easy DIY Home Maintenance Tips for Winter
Owning a home is a big deal. It’s essential to keep up with regular home maintenance tasks to protect your asset and make sure everything remains in good working condition – especially since you can’t just call your landlord when something goes wrong or breaks.
Whether you’re a new homeowner or you settled into your place a while ago, these easy DIY home projects can help you save money over the long run. Get started while you’re cooped up inside during the cold winter months, and help lower your energy bills and improve your quality of life throughout the year.
Check for Air Leaks
Inspect your windows and doors for any energy-wasting air leaks, including caulking or weather-stripping that may be cracked. Replacing the caulk around your windows will help prevent drafts and help lower your heating costs and, in the summer, your cooling costs as well. You can also apply an insulating film to your windowpanes to further increase your home’s energy efficiency and help reduce heat loss during colder months.
Check Your Water Pressure
Although this maintenance item is often overlooked, testing the water pressure in your house is important. High water pressure can harm your pipes as well as waste a lot of water, which will increase your utility bill. You can get a simple pressure gauge at your local home improvement store. If your water pressure is high, you might need to hire a plumber to install a new pressure-reducing valve.
Fix Leaky Faucets and Toilets
Leaking faucets and toilets are another big water-waster – it’s literally money down the drain! In fact, one leaky faucet can waste gallons every day. If you have a leaky faucet, it’s likely due to age or damage. With a few simple tools, diagnosing and fixing the problem is usually straightforward.
If water is leaking from your toilet tank to the bowl, replacing the flapper inside the tank may do the trick. However, if your toilet is showing its age – maybe there are cracks in the porcelain, or your plumber has become the first phone number on your speed-dial – it’s time to invest in a new one. Take the opportunity to install a low-flow toilet, which is a high-efficiency option to reduce the amount of water used every time you flush and help lower your water bill.
Re-Caulk Your Bathroom
Check to see if there are any gaps near your bathtub or shower and reseal them with caulk. This will help prevent water from leaking into the cracks and causing possible mold, mildew, or water damage. Silicone or latex caulk is best for bathrooms.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
Heating costs can add up during the winter, especially if you’re paying to keep your empty house warm while you’re at work. Investing in a programmable thermostat is an easy way to save on your home energy costs. You can set it so the thermostat automatically turns the heat up shortly before you return home and turns it down when you leave for work. This simple change can improve your home’s energy efficiency and help you save money every month.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Switch your fan blades to run clockwise during colder months. This quick task will help push heated air down, so you can save on your home heating costs. Don’t forget to dust the fan blades while you’re up there!
Upgrade Your Smoke Detectors
According to the American Red Cross, house fires are nearly 30% more common during the winter than the rest of the year. Install hardwired smoke detectors and you won’t have to worry about checking or replacing the batteries throughout the year. Plus, hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be interconnected, so if one is activated, the rest of the detectors will also be triggered, notifying everyone in your home when there’s an emergency.
Take Care of Your Appliances
You can easily extend the working life of most major appliances, which will help you save on future repair and replacement costs.
- Clean refrigerator coils and check the door seals to help your fridge continue to work efficiently.
- Clean your oven and stovetop burners.
- Carefully clean out your garbage disposal (tip: use a toothbrush and grease-fighting cleaner).
- Check your dishwasher’s filter and clean it if needed.
- Avoid overloading your washer and dryer with too many clothes.
- Check your dryer vent and clean out the lint trap regularly to reduce the risk of fire.
- Replace your air filters every 90 days or so to reduce the strain on your HVAC system.
Although it’s not exactly a savings tip, painting is an inexpensive way to add some extra cheer to your home this winter. Freshen up the interior of your house with a new coat of paint – or a whole new color scheme. If you’re worried about paint fumes, choose low-VOC latex paint for your home improvement project and be sure to keep the room well ventilated.
American Heritage Can Help
If home repairs and renovations are on your to-do list, we have a variety of ways you can pay for all your home improvement needs – without breaking your budget.
For smaller projects, choose an American Heritage credit card and you could earn rewards for all your home purchases. Or, take advantage of our low-rate personal loan and take your time paying off your projects with affordable monthly payments. If you’ve built up equity in your home and have a bigger project in mind for this spring, a home equity loan or line of credit could be right for you. Contact our friendly team to discuss your options and choose the best solution for your specific situation.