‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations. But it’s also time to get your home winter ready—so we’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of the four vital DIY projects that need to be on your to-do list this month.
Must-Do #1: Clean Those Gutters
You’ve already cleaned your gutters, right? If not—what are you waiting for? Clogged gutters can fill with snow and ice, which can back up and cause damage to your roof or leak into your walls, ceilings, attic, and insulation.
Cleaning gutters is a messy job so you may want to hire a pro, but if you’ve got an extension ladder and a free afternoon, you can DIY this important winter maintenance project. Once they’re clean, install gutter guards that sit on top of gutters and stop leaves, twigs, and other debris from getting in so you don’t have to deal with this hassle every year. Frost King has a range of gutter accessories to choose from, including our Plastic Mesh Gutter Guard, which you install by just cutting and bending into place, or our Vinyl Snap-In Gutter Screen, which snaps into place over your gutters.
While you’re at it, trim any branches that hang over your roof and could cause damage if they fall in a heavy snowstorm.
Must-Do #2 A Clean Sweep
If you have a fireplace, schedule a cleaning before you light a fire this season—it helps prevent the all-too-real risk of a home fire. When you burn logs in your fireplace, soot and creosote (a thick, tarry and highly flammable substance that’s a byproduct of burning wood) build up in your chimney and are a potential fire hazard that must be removed annually. And if you have a gas burning fireplace, you’re not off the hook. While you don’t have to worry about creosote, you still need an annual cleaning to clear any bird’s nests and other debris that might have accumulated in your chimney over the warmer months.
A professional chimney sweep will clean your chimney and inspect the flue liner, interior walls, and fireplace to make sure it’s safe and in good working order. Once your chimney is cleaned, be vigilant about only burning properly seasoned firewood, which will give you a better, cleaner burn. Unseasoned wood is not fully dried, so as it burns it gives off steam and smoke—and that means leads to more dangerous creosote build up in your chimney.
Must-Do #3 Tune Up the Snowblower
If you’ve got a snowblower, give it a test run now—before you need it—so you don’t get stuck with a foot of snow that you have to shovel by hand in January. Check your snowblower’s owner’s manual for complete directions for your unit, but a tune up usually entails replacing the fuel filter, inspecting the scraper blade and other parts for wear, replacing the oil and spark plug, spraying degreaser on dirty areas to get rid of dirt and grime, and checking the air pressure of the tires.
And while you’re out in the garage, you might as well check your cars to make sure you’ve got a snow brush and ice scraper stowed in the trunk.
Must-Do #4 Check for Air Leaks—and Seal Them
Check doors and windows for air leaks. This can be as simple as standing near a window or door to see if you can feel a draft, or you can try one of our simple tests to detect problem areas. Gaps around doors and windows should be sealed with weatherstripping—and Frost King has a variety of weatherstripping products to choose from. If old, drafty windows are a problem, our EZ Roll Cylinder Shrink Window Kit can add an extra layer of insulation, plus it shrinks crystal clear so you keep your great outdoor view.
Outlets can also be a problem area for drafts, especially if your home is made of brick or stone. Check the outlets and light switches on the exterior walls of your home. Can you feel cold air seeping in? If so, add our Outlet Sealers, which easily slip into place behind the face plate of the outlet or switch. All you need is a screwdriver! Watch this video for a complete how-to tutorial:
Once you cross these DIYs off your December to do list, we’re sure you’ll agree: There’s no place like home for the holidays!