Winter Home Maintenance Projects You Need To Know
During this holiday season, you've likely been busy getting ready for all the parties, activities and family moments ahead. To make sure your home is as prepared as you are, here are six home maintenance projects suited to the colder months of the year:
1. Replace Your Windows
Energy Star estimates that you can save between $130 and $470 a year on your energy bills by replacing your single-pane windows with double-paned windows. If you don't have the money to replace your existing windows -- they can cost at minimum $1,000 -- repairing them is a cost-effective alternative. (For related reading, see: Ways To Slash Your Home Energy Bill.)
2. Repair Your Roof
Another area for maintenance is your roof. If it snows, you may find yourself with a moisture problem in your attic, which can lead to mold and mildew. This is one project you'll want to have done before it gets too cold, as it could prevent shingle cracking and breakage. Hire a roofer to inspect your roof as soon as possible this winter to ensure it's in good condition.
Financially speaking, winter can be one of the best times to have your roof repaired or re-roofed, since it is the off season and you may be able to get a discount. If you only need a partial re-roofing, it's probably more cost-effective to have your entire roof repaired. That way, you'll pay for labor just once instead of paying again when other parts of your roof start to fail. (For related reading, see: Home Improvements That Really Pay Off.)
Roof image courtesy of Clear Choice Roofing
3. Update Your Floors
If your carpets are starting to thin out, or if your hardwood floors feel like an ice rink in the morning, it's probably time for you to give your floors an upgrade. Save money by buying flooring from an independent retailer rather than a large company. Independent retailers usually build 5 to 10 percent of bargaining room into their prices, so don't be afraid to negotiate. Another advantage of upgrading your floors is that it can increase the value of your home.
4. Maintain Your HVAC System
Maintaining your HVAC system can prolong its life and save you money on avoidable repairs. In fact, simply switching out your air filter can lower your system's energy consumption anywhere from 5 to 15 percent. You can also install a programmable thermostat, which can save you roughly $200 every year when used properly. Considering your heating and cooling costs make up as much as half of your home's energy consumption, any time and money spent on keeping your HVAC system in good condition is a sound investment.
5. Remodel Your Kitchen
Winter is one of the best times to invest in a kitchen remodel -- a project that generally offers a large return on investment. Remodelers usually see a decrease in demand during this time of year, so they might charge less for their services than during seasons like spring and summer. A minor kitchen remodel can yield returns as high as 88 percent, and a major kitchen remodel can yield returns around 71 percent. New countertops and appliances, as well as a spacious and sensible kitchen layout, can significantly increase the value of your home. Plus, you'll get to enjoy your new kitchen as long as you live in the house. (See: Will Your Home Remodel Pay Off?)
Contemporary Kitchen courtesy of William Shaw & Associates
6. Insulate Your Pipes
A burst pipe is the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with. By insulating your pipes, you can raise your water temperature from two to four degrees, which means you don't have to set your water temperature as high -- in turn saving you a little bit of money. This project is easy to do yourself, and it's inexpensive too -- about $2 per every six feet of insulation. An added benefit is that your water will stay hotter longer and you won't have to hear the sound of your pipes contracting and expanding due to the loss in heat. You'll want to pay close attention to pipes in:
- Crawl spaces
- Outer walls
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