If you haven't finished winterizing your home, now is the time. Keep the warm air in and cold air out by sealing gaps around door and window frames and installing weatherstripping. By stopping up the gaps, you'll save energy and money on your next electricity bill.
Know Your Firewood
Gathering the family around the fireplace is a hallmark of the season. But before your light the fire, get familiar with your firewood. Choose woods that give a good flame and won't smoke up your house, like maple and ash, but stay away from smokey spruce or willow branches.
Ready the Guest Room
If you'll be playing host to friends and family this season, now's the time to ready the guest bedroom. A fresh coat of paint or new bedding can make the space inviting. Don't have a spare bedroom? Consider buying or DIYing a murphy bed to quickly turn any room into a bedroom.
Install a Bird Feeder
Many birds migrate to warmer climates this time of year, but you can welcome the few breeds that remain like cardinals with the addition of a feeder. Plus, watching the colorful birds gather allows you to enjoy your backyard from the comforts of indoors. There are plenty of bird feeders available to buy, or you can make your own.
Organize the Garage
Ice and snow is on the way, so it's important to park your car in a garage, if you can. Not only does this protect your car from damage, but it makes starting the engine each morning an easier task. So clear out the garage clutter now: Throw away or donate old stuff, and then buy or DIY a storage solution for what's left.
Install a Thermostat
Consider a new way to heat the home—via a programmable thermostat. Lots. Many can sense when someone's home, raising the temperature for optimum comfort when you're around and lowering it when everyone leaves. This system saves you money in heating costs without you ever needing to think about adjusting the dial.
Gather Snow Removal Equipment
You never know when a sudden snow storm will catch you off guard. Be prepared with rock salt, sand, or fresh kitty litter to make icy steps safe, and stock up on shovels (even snow blowers) now—before a snowy weekend forecast sends other homeowners to the hardware store in droves.
Insulate Water Heater
Chances are your water heater is installed in an unheated environment, like a basement or a garage. That makes insulating your appliance an absolute must-do to prevent the loss of heat. Choose an insulation blanket that's right for the size of your tank, and follow the instructions to install. This quick project could save you 4 to 9% in water heating costs, paying for itself in about a year.
Fix Cracks in Concrete
For most regions, now's your last chance to fix cracks in your concrete before the real cold weather sets in. Pick up a concrete repair mix, and prep the area before you patch the hole. Just be sure to get your work done before temperatures drop below 45 degrees for lasting results.
With your kitchen in overdrive for the Thanksgiving holiday, make sure your stovetops are clean and clear to minimize the risk of grease fires. Go ahead and clean the oven, too, with a non-toxic, fume-free mix of baking soda, water, and vinegar. But don't use the self-clean function on your oven right before the big day. Self-cleaning puts strain on your appliance and could result in a maintenance call—or worse.