DIY your way to a warm winter

DIY your way to a warm winter Expand options

Winter brings the holidays, hot cocoa by the fire, and for many of us, extreme cold. But not to worry! There are tons of DIY projects you can do in a weekend to up the warmth-factor of your home or office—so you can stay cozy all winter long.

1.Update your fireplace or install a new one.

A beautiful fireplace is easily the heart of any home, especially during the cold winter months. Fireplaces can also help with the resale value of your home, should you decide to sell—but whether you’re replacing your old fireplace or installing a new one, there are a few factors to consider.

Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes, and fuel types include gas, wood, and electric. When tackling the job of installing one yourself, you need to first think about the variety and complexity of options. Gas fireplaces are the most difficult and dangerous to install. Modern factory-built fireplaces are more manageable for a DIY project than traditional hand-laid masonry types.

It’s essential to consult the fireplace manufacturers about the framing dimensions (which will be larger than the actual fireplace for expansion purposes), proper venting and electrical aspects, and plumbing and gas connections. You will also need a route up through your roof for the venting apparatus. This might sound daunting, but if you do your homework first, installing a new fireplace can be relatively easy.

2.Check your windows and doors.

Some homes are noticeably colder than others, perhaps due to inadequate insulation. Proper insulation is critical to your home’s energy efficiency. Many towns have very strict ordinances about what type of insulation you can install in specific areas of your home, so consult the authorities and then re-insulate your home for a much warmer cold season.

Another cause could be drafty windows. Depending on how long ago you installed your windows, it might be time to upgrade to newer, more energy-efficient models. Don’t forget, old doors can also be drafty and might need updating as well. Shut the curtains when it’s freezing out to help keep in the warmth.

Updating your thermostat to a Nest or other smart-home appliance can help, too. You can set timers to turn on the heat before you get home at night and keep the house cooler when you are away to save fuel. Installing a smart-home thermostat takes only minutes and is a great DIY way to improve the warmth of your home.

3.Ways to keep your office warm.

Most of us spend a lot of time in offices each week, leaving us at the mercy of whatever temp the office manager chooses. Oftentimes, offices tend towards the colder side, especially during the winter months—but if you sit in a cubicle to do your job, there are a few small things you can do to warm up.

A small, affordable space heater that you can plug in right under your desk is a great way to stay toasty all winter. Another excellent option is a soft fleece blanket you can store in your desk and wrap around yourself on particularly chilly days.

Decorative rugs not only help to liven up your workspace, but also keep your feet warm while you plug away at daily tasks. If you’re really cold, nothing heats you up like exercise. Even if you’re just sitting at your desk, you can move your arms and legs in simple motions to get the blood flowing and give your heart rate a nice boost.

4.Other ways to stay warm all winter.

Another excellent way to stave off the winter cold is to install radiant flooring in your kitchen and bath. Heated towel racks and bathrobe hooks complete the picture *and* keep your towels and clothes nice and warm whenever it’s cold out. If you’re concerned about kids getting burnt, install a cove heater that sits up high and silently keeps a room warm.

Take an inventory of  areas around your house where the cold gets in. You might need to cover over pet doors for the winter or use door draft stoppers on exterior doors to fill the gaps where the chill seeps in. No matter the setup in your home or office, there are dozens of small tweaks and DIY projects that will help keep your home warm and cozy all winter long.

AUTHOR BIO: FRANKIE WALLACE

Frankie Wallace contributes to a wide variety of blogs and writes about many different topics, including politics and environmental protection. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate of the University of Montana. 

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