When winter is at its worst, most homeowners bundle up and hope for the best. But savvy do-it-yourselfers know that preparations and regular maintenance throughout the season can prevent costly damage down the line.
So grab your toolbox and try out these projects to help prepare your home to withstand the wintry weather.
Check and replace worn weather stripping:
Checking and replacing weather stripping on doors and windows not only keeps your home from becoming cold and drafty, but it can help save on heating costs. To remove old stripping, heat caulk with a blowtorch to loosen and use a paint scraper to peel away the old layer, prepping it for the new one.
Thaw frozen pipes:
There’s nothing worse than discovering that the water in your copper pipes has frozen – and it happens all too frequently in winter. To fix the problem on your own, grab a blowtorch, like the Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger-Start Torch. Turn on the faucet to allow water to flow freely once it melts, and be sure to cover and protect around the area you are working on with a wet rag or special heat cloth. Continuously move the torch flame over the pipe, not holding in one area too long, to restore the pipe to its natural temperature. This trick also works great with frozen doorknobs and locks. Just remember to follow the torch’s safety instructions and also wait until surfaces cool before opening or touching.
Replace furnace filter regularly:
Before you start your furnace, check the filter. If it looks dirty, it definitely needs to be replaced. Regularly changing the filters in your heating system can drastically improve both its longevity and efficiency, so you’ll save money in the long run. The average cost of a new filter is around $10. When using your heat daily, aim to replace your filter every four to six weeks.
Remove snow and ice:
Snow and ice can quickly pile up around inconvenient areas, making sidewalks, driveways and porches slippery. You can use a blowtorch to quickly and effectively melt snow and ice in small areas. Simply heat a patch of ice or snow with the flame until it starts to melt. Then, use a shovel to clear the rest away. While this method isn’t practical for clearing large surface areas, it is a productive way to quickly remove large chunks of ice or snow without needing to chip or scrape away at them.
Cover bare floorboards:
During the winter, non-insulated floors cause up to 10 percent of a home’s heat loss, according to the National Energy Foundation. If you have wooden floors, consider adding rugs and blankets to help reduce some of that heat loss. As an added bonus, they’ll help keep your feet warm as you’re padding around the house. Additionally, if there are cracks or gaps in the floor, using a silicone-based filler can also help.
Follow these tips to stay safe and warm this winter, even when the temperature doesn’t rise above zero. For more information on winterizing tools, visit bernzomatic.com.