DCL HomeWorks LLC.
As temperatures here at Deep Creek Lake drop below zero, one thing is for sure, the last thing you want to do is spend too much time outside. It’s hard to imagine a chilly DCL winter as the perfect time to spruce up your home. We have found that while summer provides the perfect climate for exterior additions and changes, winter provides an oppurtunity to stay inside and tackle improvements to your home’s interior.
When you spend too much time in your home, you are bound to find a home improvement project or two that can keep you busy. And that’s usually what happens during the winter, when long hours inside give you time to wonder why you decided to paint the walls avocado green.
Spike Carlsen, former executive editor of Family Handyman magazine and the author of “Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual” and, most recently, “A Splintered History of Wood,” said it makes sense that people focus on interior home improvements during the winter.
“Especially right before the holidays, people want their houses to look their best,” he said. “And any indoor project that doesn’t require windows to be open or walls to be taken down are good ones to think about.”
And while doors and floors fit that category, Carlsen does warn that “any door that’s hung in the winter might be a bit of a tight fit in the summer,” when humidity can expand the wood. “So you need to take some care with wood projects.”
There are plenty of other home improvement projects that can keep you busy during the winter months. Here are Carlsen’s top five suggestions for home improvement projects in winter:
1. Install a programmable thermostat
It’s always a bit of a shock when you get that first utility bill in the colder months. And if you haven’t already taken steps to save energy, an easy project, according to Carlsen, is installing a thermostat that allows you to automatically set the temperature for different times of the day. By having the heat programmed to go on when you get up in the morning, then off when you leave for the day, then back on when you arrive home, you can keep the temperature of your home constant. Carlsen says this type of project is an easy do-it-yourself project. “It’s just a couple of low-voltage wires, so it’s really something anyone can handle,” he said. “And some of them cost as low as $25. It can pay for itself in a month or two.”
2. Insulate the water heater
Another way to save energy is to lower the temperature of your water heater, and insulate it. “The ideal temperature is 120 degrees. It doesn’t cost you anything to turn it down,” said Carlsen. And by wrapping it in insulation, you can ensure that the water stays hot when it is not being used. You can buy insulation kits at your local hardware store.
3. Paint a room
“This is the greatest winter project,” says Carlsen. “It’s a great cure for the midwinter blues. And a $50 investment in paint can dramatically transform a room. When you are spending more time inside, you have more time to look at what needs to be refreshed. This is a quick, do-it-yourself project and a small investment can make a big difference.
4. Refinish the basement
Need a contractor for a project? Do it in the winter, advises Carlsen. “Contractors are slower in the winter, and one project that’s especially popular is refinishing the basement — you can often find someone to take this on,” he says. Of course, the ever-popular bathroom and kitchen remodels, which Carlsen calls “seasonless, and sometimes endless,” can also be started in winter (as long as a wall doesn’t need to be knocked out).
5. Get organized
So many people resolve to get organized at the New Year and winter is a great time to actually take action on that resolution. “There are so many great modular closet-organizing systems,” said Carlsen, who said a project like this is a great antidote to cabin fever. “You can clear up the clutter in a room or a closet, and make it look like you have twice the space you did to begin with.”
If like many DCL part-time residents, your home is a vacation oasis, or you need a little bit extra help tackling these improvement projects, feel free to call DCL HomeWorks, (301) 533-0111, and we can provide a break-down on the scope of work, analysis and free cost estimate.