5 DIY house hacks to prep your home for winter

(BPT) – As summer comes to an end and the temperature begins to drop, home improvement opportunities can heat up.  Now is the time to do some cost-saving improvements on your home before it gets too cold outside. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just looking for a few ways to save on energy bills this winter, the following house hacks will keep your house warm, your heating costs low and get you excited to DIY. 

Get gunk out of the gutters – One of the most basic – and potentially overlooked – thing you can do to prepare for winter is clean out your gutters. The leaves and debris that get trapped in gutters can prevent water from properly draining, resulting in the formation of large icicles or water dams on the side of your house that can cause serious damage.  Be sure to use a properly balanced ladder for safe removal of debris. 

Lock in the heat – While many houses are properly insulated, a quick inspection will usually reveal key spots where heat leaks out and cold seeps in. Heat leaks often happen on basement doors, windows in unused rooms and attic floors. Wrapping these area in fiberglass insulation (be careful and wear gloves) is a sure way to keep your heating bills down. To fit the insulation properly, use a utility knife with a snap-off blade, such as the OLFA Ratchet Lock, that allows you to extend the blade to the depth you need to cut through the thick insulation.

Caulk it up – Drafts are not only uncomfortable, they’re costly. It’s important to seal up any crack or crevice where cold air might enter. This begins by removing any old, deteriorating caulk and replacing it with a fresh coat. The most common areas that need to be caulked with silicone caulk are between the window panes and frames and along the threshold and casing of a door. Often, the cracks in concrete and gaps between the foundation and your house are over looked. These need to be filled in with a urethane caulk or else they can lead to other problems, beyond wasted energy. 

Remember the roof – Water accumulating under a shingle is never good, but in winter, the water freezes and expands into ice that will cause deeper structural problems by cracking the wood. It’s vital to repair any loose or broken shingles before they freeze up. The needed tools are a flat bar, hammer and utility knife. In order to prevent cutting into the felt beneath the shingles, you should equip your utility knife with OLFA Snap-Off Hook Blades, which are designed to protect the material beneath what you cut.

Prep your pipes – If you live in an area where temperatures drop below 20 degrees, you should insulate your pipes in any unheated area of your house with a fiberglass or polyurethane tubing. Measure the outside of the pipes so you select the right diameter then with your utility knife cut the right sizes so you cover every joint and bend.

You don’t need a garage of tools to make these money-saving upgrades on your house. With a ladder, a versatile utility knife and a few other simple tools, you’ll be able to get your house prepared for the upcoming winter in no time.  Visit OLFA.com for more tips, hacks and help.


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