iStock_000016692061XSmallIt’s hard to believe that 2013 will soon be a thing of the past. Winter is in full swing, and soon, even cooler weather will set in for the duration of the winter. While the weather is still favorable, home owners can get ready for winter with these home improvement projects, some of which don’t require any money at all!

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan: First up, a completely free project that can help you save money on your heating and air conditioning bills each month! Reversing your ceiling fan is a quick and gratis project that will only require about five minutes of your time. Look for a switch on the base of your fan, and change it so the fan is operating in a clockwise motion during the winter months. This will help push warm air back down to where your family is. In warmer weather, simply flip the switch the other way.

Hire a Chimney Sweep: There’s something about a chilly winter evening that makes having a fire a perfect idea. If you have a wood-burning fireplace in your home, it’s important to properly prepare it for future use. Dangerous creosote can build up in your chimney, and if not removed, could lead to a chimney fire. That’s why it’s important to hire a chimney sweep who can tackle any creosote problems and also inspect your chimney for any cracks.

Keep the Warm Air In: Properly sealed windows are one of the best ways to keep the warm air in. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that most home owners lose about 10 percent of their air through leaky windows. Inspect your window frames and doors for signs of air leakage, and repair them with caulking or weatherstripping. And add the money you save to your holiday shopping budget!

Clean Out Gutters: With a ladder and a garden hose, you can clean out your gutters for free to make sure they’re in proper working order. This is important during the winter when it tends to rain more! All of that water will quickly rush away from your home if your downspouts are able to expel it, so make sure your gutters are free of leaves and other fallen debris.

Window Washing: Washing windows is a tedious task, but if you set aside a day to do it in both the fall and spring, you’ll be rewarded with pristine views for the rest of the year. Additionally, window washing gives you the chance to inspect your windows for any cracks and damage that might warrant attention before colder weather arrives.

 

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