By Penny Munoz
Note: always consult Tarion Warranty Corporation before performing any kinds of renovations on your new home. Remember, safety first. Do not attempt anything that seems unsafe or high-risk. Hiring a professional is always an option.
You can try to deny it, but the signs are unmistakable. First, the browning leaves, then, the evenings get shorter, and before you know it, you’ll be wrapped in wool from head to toe. It’s time to brace ourselves for the great Canadian winter.
Just weeks away from the inevitable, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to winterize your home. These energy conserving DIY tips will not only save you money on your electrical bills, but they’ll keep you from paying for costly emergency repairs down the road.
Debunking the myth that bonds are tighter when roofing repairs are performed in warm weather, here are a couple tips that will help you curtail expensive roof-related projects.
You’ll need: a ladder, nail gun, tar paper, putty knife, wire brush and your choice sealant.
Especially during a storm, it’s important to secure a tear before the damage gets worse. Neglecting roofing projects all winter causes snow pile up, and when it melts, water can get into your home, damaging drywall.
Finding leaks can be done from the inside of your attic. For a temporary fix, simply nail tar paper on the roof, this keeps the damage localized until you can properly repair it.
After pinpointing damaged locations, just apply roofing cement or new shingles. For areas around chimneys and vents, use a putty knife and a wire brush to remove old sealant and brush out existing debris. Then apply cement along the joints, using the putty knife to push the cement deeper and smoothing it out.
Be careful when you’re up there!
Properly insulated basements are a money-saving winter fundamental. An easy way to preserve heat is to add rigid foam insulation to your rim joists.
You’ll need: a table or a circular saw, expanding foam, acrylic caulk, caulk gun, tape measure and a stepladder.
Although it is a lengthier project, the savings in heating costs make it well worth your while. With a little patience and a table saw, you’ll need to size and adjust the foam to fit rim joists leaving 1/8” exposed. Make sure to create an airtight seal around the section of foam using caulk. Once you have secured the seal, place fiberglass insulation into each opening to support the foam as it hardens.
Don’t forget to add changing your furnace filters to your list of chores this winter! Dirty filters restrict airflow, which increases energy demand.
For those of us who are always looking for shortcuts, try upgrading to a permanent filter. Electostatic filters trap from 40-70% more debris than disposable fiberglass filters. They are also better at controlling bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen.
Insulate your pipes:
Insulating your pipes not only decreases the likelihood of them freezing, but is a quick, cost efficient and simple DIY task.
You’ll need: tape measure, pipe sleeves or strips, acrylic or duct-tape to secure sleeves.
Using a pre-slit foam pipe sleeve, customize to fit the size and length of your pipes. Using duct-tape or acrylic tape, clamp the foam at every foot in length.
However you go about it, make sure you keep your eavestrough clean and leaf free. Maintaining a clean and smooth-flowing system will prevent water overflow, snow build-up and potential leakage into your home.
You’ll need: gloves, a ladder, a gutter scoop and a garden hose.
An easy way to do it is to use a garden hose with a pistol-grip attachment and a gutter scoop. Remove large debris before rinsing the gutter out and spray at moderate volume toward the downward spout.
Install storm doors and windows:
For the more ambitious DIY adventure seekers, there are countless benefits to installing storm doors and windows, starting with the potential to increase energy efficiency by 45% through airflow reduction.
You’ll need: a power drill, nails, hammer, utility knife, measuring tape, storm door, hacksaw, pliers, level, screwdriver, shims
Be sure to measure the height and width of your door frame before heading out to pick out the storm door of your dreams.
First, place the door in the opening and push the hinge side of the door against the side post (called a ‘jamb’) of the door frame- the tighter, the better. Open the door and install the screws at the hinge. Once in place, secure with screws.
Installing the expander sweep comes next. Sliding the plastic sweep through the expander channels might pose more difficulty than one would think. Insider’s tip: use soap as lubricant for a smooth adjustment. Once inside, crimp the metal channels closed and reattach the expander to the door. Sliding the expander down so that it makes contact with the whole length of the sill, install two screws to hold the expander. Installation of your latch varies according to the model selected.
Or...just crack open that piggy bank and hire a professional for this one.
What DIY tips can you share with us?