Winter is fast approaching. However, there’s still time to complete the big projects in your home and yard that you didn’t get to this summer.
Winterize Your Home
You’ve probably already caulked and sealed openings around vents, doorways, and windows, but you may not have checked your ducts.
To make sure that as much warm air as possible is delivered through your central heating system, examine the ductwork and wrap any leaks with duct mastic. As much as 30% of heat can be lost while air goes from your furnace through the ductwork to the vents. Sealing ductwork can keep you warmer and make your furnace work less.
Stain Your Deck or Fence
One of your pre-winter projects is likely to be cleaning your deck. When the deck has dried, sprinkle some drops of water on it. If the water doesn’t bead, it’s time to stain the deck again. You may have time to do it this fall, depending on when the heavy rains begin or snow falls in your area.
Check your fence, too. If the stain is fading and mildew and algae are growing, it may be time to stain the fence again to preserve its quality. Trim or tie back shrubs and clean with a power washer. Do research on transparent, semi-transparent, and solid stains to see which one will best meet your needs.
Buy a Portable Generator
If you’ve experienced frequent power outages due to heavy snowfall, floods, or ice storms, you may be considering the purchase of a portable generator.
Selecting one is a big project. You’ll need to figure out what size to buy and where to store the fuel. A well-ventilated shed or other area away from your home is recommended. See Consumer Reports‘ “Weathering Disaster: Generators” for more information.
Build a Greenhouse
There are many plans for building greenhouses, so if you’re handy, you can do it yourself. See “An Inexpensive, Hail Proof, PVC Pipe Greenhouse” for an example of a greenhouse that was built by an Alberta gardener for about $500.
Also take a look at “Greenhouse Plans” for ideas.
In addition, greenhouse kits are available; some are beautiful but cost thousands of dollars.
Install a Rain Barrel or Create a Rain Garden
Rain barrels store water that comes off the roof. The stored water can be used to water your lawn and gardens.
You can install a rain barrel during the weekend. Rain barrels can be purchased at stores that offer eco merchandise and some hardware stores.
Creating a rain garden is a more time consuming project. A rain garden is built in a shallow depression which collects water that runs off roofs, driveways, and yards. The water goes into the soil rather than running off into storm sewers.
See Green Venture’s “Rain Gardens” for ideas on what to plant in a rain garden and where to locate it.
Undertake Your Most Important Indoor Project
Make a list of the projects that you didn’t get done around your home this year.
Some examples: You wanted to remodel the rec room so it would work better for having parties. The kitchen gets gloomy looking in the winter and needs newer and brighter paint colors. The carpets need cleaning, but you just didn’t have time to get it done. You’d like better lighting in your kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, and dining room to brighten shorter winter days.
Pick the project from your list that bothers you the most. Set out a plan to get it done this fall.
Fall is a good time to complete important projects before winter sets in. As winter sets in, you’ll look at your good work and smile.
By Rita R. Robison