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5 Winter Home Improvement Projects for Less Than $1,000

howmuchContributed by Howmuch.net

It’s important to prepare a home for the cold weather ahead. And, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. Following are winter home improvement projects that home owners can do for less than $1,000:

#1 HEATING

It’s that time of the year again. Your home has to be properly heated in preparation for the low temperatures this season. Proper heating not only makes your home more comfortable to stay in during winter, it can also help you save on energy bills. For this article however, we will focus on your water heater.

Simple Water Heater Installation

A water heater is a simple device. It is not difficult to maintain and they usually last from seven to 15 years. However, even with proper maintenance, sooner or later, you will replace your water heater. If your water heater starts to leak or if it isn’t heating, you have to replace it fast.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $826 – gas water heater with 50 gallon tank, typically used in a 5 person home, including vent and pipe
.

Prices range from:

  • 
$639 – electric water heater with 40 gallon tank, typically used in a four-person home
  • $1,077 – gas tankless water heater, 6.4 GPM for 2 baths, including vent and pipe

Tips:

A domestic water heater may be tank­type or a tankless type, and can use either gas or electricity as its heat source. Typical domestic tank­type water heaters range from 30 to 50 gallons and they require floor space to be installed. Tankless units are rated in gallons per minute (GPM) and range from 2 to 10 GPM. They can be wall mounted and located in reduced spaces.

DIY Consideration:

  • In the very best of cases this installation may be suitable for the able DIY person, but home insurance or local codes may require a licensed or certified installer.
  • In cases where issues can arise, it is best left to professionals to resolve on the spot.
  • A fairly complete plumbing tool set will be required, perhaps including a torch.

 

#2 FLOORING

During winter, people come in and out of your home tracking in all types of debris — which can do a lot of damage to your hardwood floors. Snow and water in particular, can be absorbed by wood.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors in Preparation for Winter

Hardwood floors not only make your house look beautiful, it also adds warmth to your home interior. Wood floors become extremely cold during winter. However, when heating a home interior with hardwood floors, the increase in temperature should be balanced with a gradual decrease in humidity levels. Otherwise, you risk warping the wood. That being said, you need to refinish your hardwood floors before winter sets in as this will provide extra protection to your wood floors.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $2.8 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers

Prices range from:

  • $2.50 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers
  • $3.50 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers

Tips:

Hardwood floors should be refinished regularly to extend its lifetime. The cost of refinishing hardwood floors varies greatly from region to region.

DIY Consideration:

This may be suitable for the able DIY person.

 

#3 WINDOW INSTALLATIONS

Keeping your home warmer during winter entails high energy consumption. However, if you have energy­efficient windows you can reduce your energy consumption.

Energy­ saving Vinyl Casement Window Installations

When choosing the best windows for your home, there is no one­size­fits­all standard. But according to House­Energy, when it comes to choosing the best windows for cold climates, the most energy­efficient are double­glazed and triple­glazed windows. These windows have a very low U­factor and relatively high solar­gain (SHGC) coefficient. This type of window in vinyl frame would work best. Vinyl is inexpensive and does not need to be painted or stained. Casement windows also provide the best ventilation when opened.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $943 – vinyl casement window replacement

Prices range from:

  • $691 – vinyl casement window replacement – DIY
  • $1,290 – vinyl casement window replacement – upgraded

Tips:

Casement windows extend to the exterior of the house and may obstruct walkways.
The actual cost of installation will depend on material and finish grade, size, structural preparation, special needs and the current labor rate – when using an installer.
These prices are for service in the immediate area of the provider. Taxes and permit fees are not included.
During contractor inspection, the homeowner should be informed about the cost of any repairs needed as well as the cost of adapting the new window with the current opening.
A project involving more than two windows may earn the homeowner a unit price discount
Local or national subsidy may be provided for energy efficiency improvements.

DIY Consideration:

● This project is not highly suitable for DIY with precise carpentry and a critical closure deadline.

● Partial DIY of removal and disposal tasks are possible for the prepared DIY.

 

#4 ELECTRIC

As winter approaches, your electric bill rises. This is due to several factors:

● Lights stay on longer because of shorter days and longer nights;

● Extra hot water is used for warm baths and showers;

● Because people stay indoors longer during winter, electric equipment such as computers, TVs, DVD 
players and gaming consoles are used more often;

● The clothes dryer is used more often.

Electric Circuit Install

Due to the reasons mentioned above, you need a more efficient electrical system during winter.

Average Cost:

1. For Electric Range Circuit

Typical cost is about: $202 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $ 76 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $393 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor conduit upgrade

2. For Electric Outlet Circuit

Typical cost is about: $153 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $27 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $292 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

3. For Electric Dryer Circuit

Typical cost is about: $179 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $53 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $333 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

Tips:

Electric range circuits bring power to electrical equipment inside your home. These are subject to compliance codes and professional practices designed to reduce fire risk.
The cost to install an average electric range circuit, electric outlet circuit or electric dryer circuit depends upon the power rating, circuit lengths, preparation and special requirements, and the current labor rate.

DIY Consideration

● IMPORTANT: Whenever you are going to work with electricity, you need to turn off the circuit breaker first. Double check, using a non­contact voltage tester to make certain that there is no current before you start working.

● This project is somewhat suitable for DIY with good electrical skills and tools.

● Electrical circuits and installations must comply with codes to reduce fire risk.

#5 DOORS

Most home owners choose wood doors for its aesthetics. It provides a good blend of elegance and strength and they can be very affordable depending on the type and quality of wood. However, wood needs to be treated regularly with paint or varnish so that it will be protected from wind, rain and snow. Neglecting to do so would cause rotting. For most people, the most practical choice for the winter season would be a fiberglass or steel door.

Installation of Fiberglass/Steel Door

Fiberglass and Steel are energy­efficient and common low­maintenance choices for exterior door material.

Average Cost:

The average exterior door costs range from:

1. For Fiberglass Doors:
Typical cost is about: $679 – exterior fiberglass door replacement

Prices range from:

  • $463 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – DIY
  • $1,537 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – upgraded

2. For Steel Doors:

Typical cost is about: $ 613 – exterior steel door replacement

  • $397 – exterior steel door replacement – DIY
  • $871 – exterior steel door replacement – upgraded

Tips:

The cost of installing average exterior fiberglass and steel doors depends on the type of material and finish grade, size, structural preparation and special needs, and the current labor rate.
These prices are for service in the immediate area of the provider. Taxes and permit fees are not included.
During contractor inspection, the home owner should be informed about the cost of any repairs needed as well as the cost of adapting the new window with the current opening.

A project involving more than two windows may earn the homeowner a unit price discount Local or national subsidy may be provided for energy efficiency improvements.

DIY Consideration

● This project may suitable for DIY with carpentry skills, unless of a critical deadline.

● Partial DIY of removal and disposal tasks are possible for the prepared DIY.

Home improvement projects may be costly if you are not well­informed. If you want to make sure your money is spent wisely on your home improvement projects, without having to sacrifice quality, visit howmuch.net for more information.

Blog Contributor

This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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Comments
  1. I think this is a great article and I am going to send it to all of my friends and family.
    It is not only clear and concise; however, it also makes great sense to pay attention
    and to utilize what could be money saving in your home!

  2. I found your information about preparing your home for winter very comprehensive. I don’t believe you missed anything. . I have been real estate for 48 years.
    I found many of the tips you offered as new to me.

  3. I really liked your article and the way you share the different winter home improvement methods. It is really amazing how you can improve your home within a budget. I am going to share this article with all my friends.

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