Crisp fall weather signals the start of the holiday season and the need to finish up your fall home improvement ideas. It’s almost time for plump pumpkins, turkey dinners, and twinkling lights. Make sure your visitors are warm and cozy with these three essential fall home improvement ideas.
Installing Storm Windows and Doors
It’s surprising but installing storm windows and doors can boost your home’s energy efficiency by a whopping 45 percent! Storm doors and windows seal out the flow of chilly air and wind drafts which makes your guests more comfortable.
You may be able to receive a federal tax credit as well. When shopping for storm windows and doors look for the Energy Star label to ensure your product is eligible for a tax credit.
Install Window Film
For drafty windows purchase a window insulation kit at your local hardware or home improvement store. Window film is a transparent, plastic material that adds an extra layer of protection against cold incoming air. Window film is transparent when installed correctly, so you’ll still be able to see outside.
The film is applied to the window and then set in place with a heat source. (A hair blow dryer works well.) The applied film seals off open spaces and cracks where the cold air can get in. Plus, it’s an economical choice when compared to the cost of storm windows.
To install window film, you’ll need:
- Window insulation kit
- Tape measure, and
Follow the instructions provided with the window insulation kit.
Another cost-saving choice is to hire a window professional to install “low-E” film directly to the window glass.
Make or Buy a Door Draft Stopper
Another simple fall home improvement idea is a door draft stopper. Sometimes called a draft snake, a draft stopper is designed to stop the cold air from entering underneath your door or window. Just place it along the bottom of your door or sill. Furthermore, under door draft stoppers are available online or at home improvement stores.
If you’re crafty, sew your own with mid-weight fabric. To determine the correct length, measure the width of your door or window. Cut the fabric to make a long tube, and sew. Fill it with sand, buckwheat hulls, or kitty litter for weight. Add cedar shavings for a fresh, natural scent.
Or, an easy DIY solution is to roll up a bath towel, widthwise, and place it at the bottom of the door. Secure the towel ends with rubber bands to make a neat roll.
Check and Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney
A cozy, crackling fire and a cup of hot cocoa is a fun part of holiday celebrations. Plus the heat from the fire helps keep guests warm. Before you light up your fireplace, be sure to have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned and inspected. Here are a few fireplace fall home improvement ideas-
Find a Qualified Chimney Sweep
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned yearly. To find a CSIA Certified professional in your area, visit http://www.csia.org. Also make sure your chimney professional carries the proper business liability insurance. This insurance protects you in case of an accident. Here are a few questions to ask a chimney professional before you decide to hire:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Can you provide references from other customers?
- Does your company carry business liability insurance to protect my home against accidents?
- Is your company CSIA Certified? If so, will you make sure to have a CSIA Certified professional do the work or supervising workers at all times?
Check the Better Business Bureau website to see if there are any customer complaints about the business.
A Few Fireplace Safety Tips:
- Prune tree branches that overhang your chimney. A fallen tree branch can damage your chimney.
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Fresh wood will create smoke as the moisture is released. And smoke creates excess creosote.
- Never burn treated wood as dangerous chemicals can be released into the air.
- For safety, store a fire extinguisher near the fireplace
- Close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. The closed flute stops warm air from escaping up the chimney.
- Always keep the mesh screen closed with a lit fireplace. The screen prevents stray embers from flying into the room.
- Don’t leave the fireplace unattended. Wait until the fire has completely gone out.
For more fireplace maintenance hints and tips, click here.
Installing window film, using draft stoppers, and having your chimney professionally inspected are three excellent fall home improvement ideas to ensure your family and friends are comfortable and safe this holiday season.