Easy home improvements you can do in winter

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Home and Living

As we tend to spend more time indoors during cold weather, eager do-it-yourselfers need to look for some interior reno projects to keep them occupied. Here are some low-cost tasks you can tackle that will help improve your home’s energy efficiency and maybe even save your life.

Install a smart thermostat
If you don’t already have one, it’s worthwhile to install a “smart” or programmable thermostat. These enable you to turn down the heat during the day when everyone’s out and then automatically bring it back to your desired setting by the time you get home. Overnight, you can set it to lower the temperature, which both saves money and helps everyone get a better night’s sleep. Most thermostats use low-voltage wiring, but you should still turn off the breaker or remove the fuse that’s powering it before you start the installation.

Check for drafts
Are there cold or drafty spots in your house? On a windy day, light an incense stick and go around the house holding it close to window and door frames and along the baseboards. Take note of anywhere you notice the smoke flutter and come back later to seal those gaps with caulking.

Give your HVAC system some TLC
Having your furnace conk out in the depths of winter is never good. Your furnace should be inspected annually by a professional to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency. As a homeowner, your main furnace-related task is to monitor and replace the filter before it gets clogged. You should also go through the house and make sure furniture and curtains aren’t blocking the airflow from your vents or radiators.

Test for radon
Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas that naturally seeps from the ground into your home. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The only way to know if it’s accumulating to a dangerous level in your home is to do a radon test. You simply purchase a test kit or hire a service provider and do the test in the lowest regularly used room in the home – say, a family room or basement bedroom – for at least 90 days. Then send it to a lab to find out your home’s radon level. If the result is high, it can be easily lowered. Contact a radon mitigation professional about what you can do to reduce your exposure.

Learn more about radon and how to protect your family from it at canada.ca/radon

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