5 Winter Projects to Keep You Busy

Winter Projects
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Feeling bored this winter? You’re not alone. Most Americans spend anywhere from 16 to 24 hours indoors during the coldest months of the year, and around 39% report feeling “bored,” according to a survey conducted by OnePoll from Trane Residential. In an expose on boredom in The Washington Post, experts say this feeling can be a symptom of other problems in your life, specifically a lack of engagement. So, how can you keep busy when it’s too cold to go outside? Use these five winter DIY projects to stay motivated all season long.

Rebuild/Repair a Diesel Engine

It takes around 30,000 parts to make a car with thousands of moving components that need to be serviced and replaced. Diesel engines use a complex web of systems to ignite highly pressurized air and fuel, and rebuilding one from scratch will keep you occupied for up to 60 hours, depending on how much experience you have under the hood. Most models need a rebuild every 100,000 miles. Shop for replacement diesel truck parts online for every make and model to give your old truck or van a new life.

If you have an old Ford Powerstroke lying around, you’ll likely need a new high-pressure oil pump to get the engine running again. The HPOP pressurizes the oil before sending it to the fuel injectors. Find replacement HPOPs for all engine types before changing the oil. Diesel engines run hot with extensive cooling systems to help recirculate the oil. The coolant also reduces the temperature of the recycled exhaust gas in Powerstroke engines, which reduces emissions. Learn about the different cooling systems and how they improve efficiency.  Have the engine inspected by a licensed mechanic before taking it for a ride for more peace of mind.

Insulate Your Home or Garage

Stay comfortable at home and reduce your heating bill with new insulation. CBS News reports that some 98 million homes are under-insulated, with hundreds of dollars in excess utility costs. Start by having a professional insulation contractor inspect your home. They will give you tips and point out any problem areas. You can also feel cold air around the edges of doors and windows to find where the air is escaping. You might need to rip out the worn caulking and replace it with spray foam, which should take two to five days.

If your home is sealed tight, give yourself more room to spread out by insulating your attic, basement, or garage. The latter will do wonders for your diesel truck. Protecting it from the cold will stop the fuel from gelling for faster startup times and less wear and tear.

Update Your HVAC System

Speaking of heating, your outdated furnace won’t last forever, and adding another room will only decrease its lifespan. Clogged ductwork can spread particulate matter. Swapping out your system for a sustainable heat pump will help you lower your utility bills. Don’t let the name confuse you. They ventilate and cool the air, with some using 100% renewable electricity. The Department of Energy says they can lead to 50% lower utility costs. Instead of burning fossil fuels to heat the incoming air, they recirculate the warmth using electricity and refrigerant.

If your HVAC system is up to par, give it a good cleaning to improve efficiency and air quality. Use forced air to blow out any dust or lint caught in the vents. Clean the burners and the inside of the machine when it’s not in use. Change the air filter, add lubrication, and replace any worn parts.

Build a Workbench or Bookshelf

Create an organized workspace before diving into one of these projects. Whether you’re tinkering under the hood or fixing appliances around the house, every DIYer needs a dedicated place for their tools with a clean, stable surface for cutting, trimming, scrubbing, or whatever the day calls for. Nothing will bring the fun to a halt like a missing tool. You will waste precious daylight and energy looking for what you need.

If you don’t have a workbench, you can easily build one out of wood in about four hours. Install overhead lighting to see what you’re doing. You can never have too many bookshelves if you’re an avid reader. Find wall space for all your belongings to create more floor space.

Start a Garden

You don’t have to wait until spring to grow vegetables at home. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and mustard greens can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, including ice and snow. Other hardy veggies, including English peas, kohlrabi, leeks, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, can go as low as 25° F. It’s best to get them in the ground before the worst of winter arrives. Check the forecast to see what can grow in your area.

Too cold to garden? Get a jumpstart on spring by getting your backyard into shape. Clear away any debris to let as much light in as possible. Fertilize and mow the lawn before the snow falls. With these DIY projects on your to-do list, winter won’t be a bore. Keep your mind and body active to help pass the time.

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