Since most people enjoy staying inside during the frigid winter months, it’s the perfect time to catch up on your home makeover checklist. Here are seven important tasks that will help reduce your energy costs, improve your comfort and make your home a healthier place for you and your family.
As a side note, most home improvement contractors have less work during the first few months of the year, according to Abbe Will, a research analyst for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. However, you may find that you’ll save a lot of money by performing these simple home improvement tasks yourself.
Money Saving Upgrades
If you have an open firebox, you probably know that it’s quite inefficient. Solve the problem and add a safety feature simultaneously by installing glass doors, which cost between $200 and $800. They look attractive and greatly improve heat efficiency, too.
Another way to save money is to install smart meters. These programmable thermostats, such as those made by Nest for $249, can save you approximately $180 in energy costs annually, according to Energy Star. Opt for a smart water meter also, such as those produced by Fluid for $259, which helps reduce your water usage and alerts you to burst or leaking pipes.
Maintenance and Repairs
One of the best ways to invest in your home is to install fiberglass insulation to your home’s attic. While this job may cost you about $1,268, you could see a 117 percent return, according to Remodeling magazine. Be sure to seal any attic air leaks, too, which can shave up to 15 percent of the total of your annual heating bill and deter repairs down the road. For instance, most significant roof damage originates when ice forms and creates dams, which occur when attics are insufficiently insulated.
Moreover, you can save money by hiring a handyman to take care of all the small projects, such as paint touch-ups, cracked plaster and leaky faucets. According to Faith Teel of the Handyman Plan, a home repair company in Asheville, NC, the start of the year is a slower time for handymen, as well as for general contractors. Handyman services listed on Angie’s List typically cost from $50 to $100.
Safety and Health
Since the busy holidays are past, now is a great time to check off those tasks in your home makeover checklist by vacuuming your kitchen and dryer vents. These jobs will not only reduce the chances of a fire, it will also reduce your energy costs by helping your appliances to operate more efficiently. You can do the project yourself or hire a professional to do a more thorough job for about $100 to $150.
Be sure to change your furnace filters, too, and replace them every few months with high-efficiency pleated filters, such as Filtrete by 3M for $20. They trap pet dander, mold spores and various allergens.
Lastly, consider upgrading your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with combination units for about $40. For more security, opt for interconnected wireless systems, which will sound off together and cost about $30 to $80 per unit.