Save Money With These Seven Home Improvements

Everybody wants their home to be in the best condition as you will want to live a comfortable life. You will always have a long list of renovations in your mind. Upgrading the house can be a little expensive, and you may not have enough budget for the renovations. You can save a lot of money if you are careful with your improvement plans. Prioritizing your repairs is important. Try to focus on the ones which are a high priority. Focus on improvements which are going to save money in the long run as well.

Here are some of the improvements that are useful in saving money:

Getting Rid of Drafts:

Experts mostly recommend that insulation is an excellent choice when it comes to preparing for winters. But sealing doors and windows is an always a good choice no matter when you do it. The seals always pay off so you can either invest in real seals or replace them with better-insulated ones. You should look to add insulation in the major areas such as the attic. Insulating the attic not only helps in keeping the house warm in winter but it is also helpful in keeping the house cold in summers. Seal all the air leaks like the outlets and switches. It will not just bring comfort to your life and will result in money-saving improvement.

Adding the insulation on just the doors and replacing the windows you will see improvement in the appearance of the house and also see energy improvements. You can also recoup most of the cost if you look to selling the house.

Adding Low Flow Fixtures:

Low fixtures are an excellent home improvement because it will help in decreasing the water wastage. It will assist in saving a lot of money as well. With low fixtures, you can also reduce about fifty percent of water consumption. It is important to look for improvements that help in energy efficiency because it is not just good for the environment but is also cost-effective.

Replacing Regular Bulbs:

The regular light bulbs are high consumers of energy. You can save some money by replacing them with fluorescent bulbs. They have a longer lifespan as compared to the regular bulbs although they might cost more initially. The high initial cost can make up for a low running cost. These bulbs also assist in lowering the energy bills.

Updating High Energy Appliances:

You can reap a lot of benefits from improvements if you upgrade your appliances which are inefficient. Most of the power is consumed by large systems such as the heating system, heaters, air conditioning, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers. You can adjust the energy consumption of the appliances like installing a thermostat that is programmable and running during night hours. You can repair the already existing systems or replace them with the new and better models.

Dishwashers:

It is important to replace the old dishwasher with a new one because they use just an average of 5.8 gallons of water in each cycle. The other dishwashers can cause a lot of water wastage because they used as much as ten gallons in each cycle. If you upgrade your dishwasher, you can save a lot in when it comes to energy costs and save plenty of water as well.

Cleaning the Gutter and Dealing With Structural Problems:

Water is mostly the culprit behind the most expensive home repairs. If there are any leaks, you should deal with them and make sure you control the water around your house. Gutters are the first line of defense against any water problems in your basement, rotten wood fascia, leaking roofs and other serious problems. Firstly you should clean the gutters and install gutter guards because it helps in preventing any future damage from water.

You should look for foundation cracks, mildew or mold in a basement area, roof issues, and loose shingles or any other possible signs of water damage and a sign of pests. Water repairs are costly, but you can lower the cost by doing prevention and maintenance by yourself. You can maintain the gutter and water leaks by regular inspections and upkeep.

Programmable Thermostat:

They have gained popularity because they have many energy and money saving advantages. If you know how to use the device correctly, you will be able to use a lot of money. It is mostly more accurate than the conventional thermostat. It is efficient and cost-effective device and an excellent choice for improving your home.

These are some of the home improvements which will not just make your house more comfortable but will also help in saving some money.

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How to Refurbish Your Stairs on a Budget

We all want to be proud of our home and make a good first impression on visitors. The staircase is often the first thing people see when they step through the door, so if yours looks worn or outdated it will reflect badly on the whole property. In fact, stairs are such a central feature that a shabby staircase could even lower your home’s resale value.

Here are five simple ways to revamp your stairs that won’t cost a fortune:

1. Replace the balustrade

Swapping dated balusters, or spindles, for more contemporary ones can make a big difference to the look of your stairs. There are many styles to choose from, ranging from sleek stop-chamfered wooden spindles to modern metal balusters in a variety of designs. You can complete the transformation with fresh newel caps and a new handrail. If you want to make a statement, consider using glass panels instead of spindles for a touch of contemporary glamour.

2. Chuck out the carpet

The current interior design trend for using natural wood has encouraged many people to take up their stair carpet to expose the timber treads beneath. Wood is a warm, timeless material that looks good with contemporary and traditional d├ęcor alike, and will not easily fall out of fashion.

3. Stain the stairs

You can give your staircase a new lease of life by using wood stain to bring out the full beauty of the timber. This will nourish and protect the stairs as well as improving their appearance. Many different colours are available. It’s a good idea to finish with at least one top coat of polyurethane varnish, to seal in the wood stain and protect the surface.

4. Paint the stairs

Painting your staircase is a great way to add individuality and really make your home stand out. You may decide to paint only the steps, or just the balustrade – or take the plunge and decorate the whole lot for a complete transformation.

You will need to sand down the stairs beforehand, apply a stain-blocking primer then finish off with at least two coats of gloss or semi-gloss paint to achieve a professional-looking result.

5. Lay new stair carpet

Fresh carpet can brighten up a tired staircase – in fact, if your stairs are made of concrete, plywood or MDF it is usually the only option.

If you are fortunate enough to own a timber staircase in good condition there is no need to carpet the steps completely, unless you prefer the look. Instead, you could install a runner – a narrow strip of carpet – down the middle of the stairs and paint or varnish the exposed sections of tread on each side.

Select a durable carpet designed for stairs, preferably with a ratio of 80% wool to 20% nylon. Choose thick underlay and fit the carpet so that the direction of the pile runs down the stairs.

To help your budget stretch that bit further, you could try piecing together several carpet remnants. These will be much cheaper than a full roll, and you might be able to afford a better specification – particularly useful for such a high-traffic part of the house.

9 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Winter

Now that fall is officially come and gone, it’s time to prepare your home for cold weather. Preparing your home for a long, cold winter is something every homeowner should consider before the season really takes hold. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. The fan will produce an updraft and push down the heated air into the room from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises). This is especially useful in rooms with high ceilings, and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

Clear Your Eaves
This is not a complicated task, but it’s an important job nonetheless. Clogged eavestroughs can lead to the formation of ice dams, which can tear off gutters, loosen shingles and leave your roof vulnerable to leaks. Simply climb to the edge of your roof and carefully dig out the debris. It’s not necessary to remove every small stone. The main purpose is to make sure nothing restricts the flow of water, and that no stagnant water remains in the gutters.

Prevent Ice Dams
If your home had lots of icicles last winter, or worse, ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into your house, take steps to prevent potential damage this year. Get the assistance of a home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor. Have them fix the air leaks or inadequate insulation in your attic.

Check Your Roof
If you can’t get access to your roof, or prefer not to go on the roof, use binoculars to inspect the shingles. Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow.

Caulk Windows and Doors
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.

Shut Off Exterior Faucets
Cold winter temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze and burst inside your home, which can result in major water damage. Locate and close any shut-off valves that lead to outside faucets, and drain any excess water inside the lines. It’s also a good idea to also drain any interior pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as your attic.

Stow Your Mower
As the mower sits through the winter, fuel remaining in its engine will decompose, “varnishing” the carburetor and causing difficulty when you try to start the engine in the spring. wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel.

Call a Chimney Sweep
Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home. If you have a wood-burning heating appliance or fireplace, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney inspector to reduce your risk of a fire.

Test Smoke and CO2 Detectors
Regardless of the time of year, it’s always a good idea to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure the batteries are still functioning. Remember that these detectors lose their effectiveness over time, so replace old and outdated products after five years of use.

What else do you do every year to prepare for the Winter season?