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10 Must-Do Winter Home Projects

Couple painting a room

Winter is the perfect time to bunker down and get interior projects completed. Don’t wait for spring to tackle these 10 winter home improvement projects.

  1. Finish the basement.

    People overlook just how valuable their basement space is. When done well, a finished basement will add significant value to your property and deliver a high yield on return on your investment.

  2. Insulate the attic, ducts and foundation, and seal cracks around the house.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages consumers to think of your home’s outer walls, windows, doors, vents, and other openings as an envelope. Air seeps in and out of this envelope constantly. When you seal leaks and reduce airflow, you can significantly save on heating and total energy costs.

    If you haven’t already insulated your attic, it’s time!  An insulation contractor can determine how much and what type of insulating material your home needs, but in general, the higher the “R-value,” or thermal resistance, the more effective the insulation is. If your attic has an equivalent of R-30, your home could likely benefit by adding more.

  3. Give rooms, paneling, or cabinetry a fresh coat of paint.

    Paint is an inexpensive update for many homeowners, and it’s one DIY project that many people can tackle on their own. Manufacturers usually offer the best deals on paint during the late fall and winter. Added benefit: there’s less moisture and humidity in the air during the winter, which means paint bonds to surfaces better and dries faster.

  4. Upgrade your thermostat.

    Before you crank up the heat this winter, consider installing a smart, programmable thermostat that utilizes WiFi. A smart thermostat will make your heat usage more efficient and on-demand.

  5. Clean up old trees.

    Take advantage of landscapers’ off season to trim and remove the older, dying trees in your yard before the heavy snow and dangerous ice arrives. Trees and large branches tend to come down on top of homes during winter storms, so this could save you headaches in the long run.

  6. Insulate your water pipes.

    Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature several degrees hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver. You won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead – hooray!

    This actually delivers a cost savings to you because it allows you to lower your water temperature setting and run less water.

  7. Update your laundry room or build a mudroom.

    These chore-heavy rooms tend to suffer from a lack of features, which reduces their functionality. These spaces become more enjoyable when they are organized.

    To make a bleak laundry space more functional, add shelves and bins for laundry baskets and detergent, and put a countertop over the washer and dryer for folding clothes.

    Are the kids already dumping their cold weather gear in a pile? Now is the perfect time to get busy on lockers or cubbies for storage. When everyone has their own space, they are more inclined to keep their items where they belong.

  8. Check and repair your chimney.

    When you burn fires in your chimney, it creates a byproduct called creosote. Too much creosote built up causes chimney fires. That’s why you should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires.

    Don’t remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find thick buildup, call a chimney sweep.

  9. Remodel your home’s interior lighting.

    With less daylight available, winter is the perfect time to take a good look at your lighting. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, and hire a licensed electrician to update old or outdated lighting fixtures with newer, energy-efficient models.

    The combination of LED light bulbs and new fixtures will help lower your utility bill and increase the value of your home.

  10. Create a spa bath.

Feeling chilled by the cold weather? Imagine a long hot soak in a new free-standing tub! Pair that with a heated floor with fresh, new tile and you’ll have a relaxing sanctuary to retreat to when the winter blues set in. 

Giving your home a facelift during winter means that your new spaces will be all set for a spring and summer of fun. If you are wondering how to pay for these projects, Horizon can help with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).  Accessing the equity in your home can help you finance your winter home projects. Get started with your online application today.

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