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6 Simple Home Improvement Ideas for the Winter Months

It’s that time again.  The winter months are rolling in.  Temperatures are dropping and the leaves are falling.  More time is spent indoors where you can escape from the cold.  Most people think that the time for home improvements is on hold.  But, while the winter months are not the greatest time for gutter guard installation, there are plenty of things that can be done to improve your home in the months ahead.

Let’s look into some of the simplest and most inexpensive ideas for increasing property value, reducing utility bills, and making the most of the coldest months of the year.

1. Insulate the Attic

Ok, so we’re not beginning with the most glamorous home improvement you could imagine, but this is one of the greatest value options on the table.  Heating costs increase during the winter months, so one of the best ways to cut your monthly expenses is to make sure you’re losing as little heat as possible.  Heat rises.  By adding another layer of insulation in the attic, you significantly cut utility costs.

One of the best things about this is that you won’t need a contractor.  Head up into the attic and check out the floor joists.  If you can see them, then you need another layer of insulation.  Roll it out and tack it down.  Voila!

After you do the deed, your utility bill will drop anywhere from 5-10%.  And, since it will cost only about $400 for most homes, you’ll see a more than 100% return on investment (116.9, according to recent reports).  Do the same for basements and crawlspaces, if you have them, and you can see even more savings.  Plus, you may be able to get a tax credit for the work.

2. Install a Programmable Thermostat

This is another extremely inexpensive option and it can bring in even more savings than insulation.  A programmable thermostat is a great new option made available by new technologies.  It allows a homeowner to customise the heating and cooling of your home to meet your needs.  By automatically regulating the temperature, these thermostats help homeowners to accrue an average of 10-12% savings on heating, and even more (15%) on cooling costs.  This translates to savings from $10 to $20 per month.

Plus, there are a wide range of programming options available and some will even allow you to change the settings remotely.  It’s a great way to save money and enhance quality of life at the same time.  With costs that run anywhere between $20-$300 a month, you’ll be paid back before you know it.

3. Seal Air Leaks and Openings

When you have air leaks and unsealed openings, you’re literally letting money pour out the cracks.  The good news it, it’s an easy fix, and the least expensive or time consuming project you can undertake.  Plus, you’ll get a host of other benefits as well.  A quick sealing job can help improve humidity control, lessen the amount of pollen, dusts, and insects that enter your home, reduce outside noise penetration, and, if you’re in a snowy climate, lower the chance of ice dams forming on eves and roofs.

The job is simple.  Weatherstripping, waterproof sealant, or caulk can be used to seal the seams around windows and doors.  And that’s it.  Remember to seal around pipes and vents as well, if you want to be thorough.  Depending on the method you choose, this can cost anywhere between $3 and $30.  It’s a super simple, low cost, and quick job that improves the quality of your home.

4. Interior Painting

Any painting job is a bit more time intensive, but it can dramatically improve the appeal of your home in a short time.  And, when you’re spending so much time in the home anyway, it’s great to have a splash of colour to liven things up and lift the mood of the room.  Fresh paint significantly increases the value of your home, and, at around $30 a gallon, it stands out as one of the highest ROI options available.  In addition to walls, consider repainting the doors as well.  Refurbishing the doors is quick and easy, and the doors have a strong visual impact on the look of your home.

A few tips:  Remember to reduce fumes by cracking the windows while you work.  Alternately, you can opt for an eco-friendly, low-VOC paint and avoid the issue altogether.  Also, if you’re planning to put your home on the market in the months ahead, it might be best to stick with white.  It may not be the most fun, but it will take the fewest coats and leave new homeowners with a blank canvas they can fill to their liking.

5. Spruce up the Kitchen and Bathroom

There’s loads that can be done in these areas, some extremely simple tasks, and a few more time consuming.  First stop: the faucets.  This is one of the central features of both kitchen and bathroom.  A sparkly new faucet can boost the appeal of your watery areas in less than an hour.  And, it’s a relatively easy job.  Unlike most plumbing jobs, so long as you can follow instructions, you won’t need to bring in a professional for this one.  Just remember to shut of the water from the vales before you start disassembly, and you won’t run into any trouble.  Oh, and remember to choose a faucet with the same number of mounting holes as your sink.

Next, you can add a backsplash if needed.  This takes a bit more expertise, but it can make a big difference for such a small detail.  Choose the style and colour of the tile to accessorise the room, and you can add plenty of personality in a short time.  And these are just a few small details.  You can replace the bathroom vanity mirror, repaint, or add storage space to the vertical sides of cabinets with pegboards.  Get creative and these central portions of the home can come alive.

6. Clear up the Clutter

Last but not least, and best of all, absolutely free.  After all, why wait to spend the lovely spring weather on spring cleaning?  If you’re cooped up inside anyway, might as well make the most of it.  Take it one small step at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed.  Take a day to sort out the desk.  Go through a single shelf.  Just one little bit at a time, in between things, and you’d be surprised how much the house will open up.

So, even if you can’t do the big outside jobs during the winter months, even if that new leaf guard might have to wait, there’s still plenty you can do to make the home more comfortable and save work later on.  Take a peek around the home and see what new projects are calling out to you.  Get excited.  If you can visualise the home with these improvements, you can see how much nicer the winter can be.

If you’d like to get some tips about the best home improvements for your home, feel free to contact us.  At MKG, we’re dedicated to helping you get the most out of your home, from gutter leaf protection to all of the knowledge you need to make your home amazing.

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