When outdoor temps drop, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa. Between winter sports, work, and the holidays, who has the time or energy to tackle their to-do list? Winter is the best time to schedule certain home maintenance and improvement projects, and if you’re planning for a home sale during the summer or spring, it’s good to be prepared.
According to a recent survey, over 90% of real estate agents believe contractors and builders, including the team at rooftecco.com, are extremely busy during the summer and spring, while only about 8% say that winter is their busiest season. Furthermore, approximately two-thirds of agents say that labor and materials for renovations are at their lowest cost between March and October.
While certain upgrades are great ways to pass the time, others are better to do during the off season simply because they cost less. Here are a few top picks for winter home renovation projects that allow homeowners to take advantage of seasonal savings and give potential buyers that fresh and new feeling.
Fill In the Gaps Around the House
According to the EPA, it’s best to think of the home’s windows, doors, and other openings like an envelope. Air flows in and out constantly, but adding insulation and sealing leaks can help homeowners save roughly 15% on their cooling and heating bills, or about 10% on total energy spending. Meanwhile, sealing cracks in the foundation, around doors and windows, and inside the attic can cut air leakage by 25%.
Saving on heating and cooling will help keep cash in your bank account, and it’s an appealing prospect for eco-friendly buyers. Millennials now make up nearly 40% of home buyers, and their desire for green homes has affected the nation’s construction industry.
While you’re filling in the gaps, a home energy audit will evaluate the family’s room-by-room energy usage and find ways to make the house more efficient. Though energy audits come with an upfront cost, homeowners can do their own with some easy tips from the Department of Energy.
Beyond feeling cold drafts, a reliable way to check for air leaks is to turn on a few lights, step outside after dark, and look for gaps around doors and windows. Seal these cracks with spray-in foam insulation, which keeps out moisture and drafts, cures to a white color, and isn’t as messy as caulk.
Insulate the Foundation, Ducts, and Attic
Those living in cold climates have likely done this, but if the home’s attic isn’t properly insulated, it’s guaranteed to lose heat and air. The Department of Energy suggests air sealing crucial areas before adding insulation. An insulation contractor or roofer can determine what type of insulation the home needs. Generally, the higher the insulation’s thermal resistance or R-value, the more effective it is.
Maintain and Upgrade the Heating System
Home heating systems need some winter TLC, even under the best circumstances. Monitor the boiler’s water level to ensure that it doesn’t get too low and change the heating system’s filters regularly. Most furnace and HVAC filters need to be changed every three months, or sooner if you:
· Have pets
· Are living with someone who has asthma, allergies, or another respiratory problem
· A smoker
· Live in an area prone to high winds
· Use a fireplace regularly
· Live with a large family
· Run the HVAC unit year-round
Along with help from a local roofing contractor, regular HVAC maintenance will help you enjoy a more comfortable winter. Contact us to find out how we can help your family stay warm this season.
Bonus Tip #1: Give Cabinetry and Walls a New Coat of Paint
Paint is a cost-effective upgrade for most homeowners. It’s versatile enough to cover paneling, old tile, cabinets, and other surfaces, and manufacturers typically offer great deals during late fall and early winter.
During the season, painting companies take on fewer clients, which translates to much lower prices. Additionally, there’s less airborne humidity during winter, which allows paint to adhere better and dry faster. You won’t have to open the windows, either, thanks to low-VOC paint options.
Bonus Tip #2: Remove Dying and Dead Trees
If there’s a bothersome tree in the yard, removing it during the winter is a cost-efficient idea. Tree trimmers are quite busy during the summer and spring, when storms and high winds bring more calls for emergency tree service. As the ground gets colder, tree removal becomes easier. Frozen soil keeps vegetation in one place, making removal a less disruptive process. Get several bids from local tree removal companies and be wary of extremely low estimates.
Bonus Tip #3: Make the Switch to LED Lighting
Home LED light bulbs use about 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than conventional incandescent bulbs, which boosts a home’s energy efficiency and appeal to potential buyers. The qualities of LED lighting make homes look cleaner and more modern, which makes them show better in person.
One thing to keep in mind about LED lighting is that, like other artificial lighting types, it may turn the home’s colors blue or yellow in a real estate agent’s listing photo. If possible, choose natural lighting for daytime photo shoots.
Bonus Tip #4: Replace Cabinet and Door Hardware
Replacing door handles, locksets, hinges, and cabinet pulls is another easy wintertime home renovation project. While local big-box stores are great sources of inspiration, homeowners can often save money by buying these items in bulk from online vendors. It’s an easy indoor project that can be done in stages, it’s somewhat inexpensive, and it makes a significant difference in a home’s overall appearance.
Make the Home Look and Feel Better This Winter
In tackling one or more of these winter home improvement projects, you may lose a bit of downtime—but the family will gain so much more. Not only will summer’s to-do list be shorter, but the home will look better, feel fresher, and leave everyone feeling warm, cozy, and content.