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Where to spruce up during a down market
Even for die-hard DIYers,
the current economic climate can have a major impact on home improvement plans.
With so many of us trying to do more with less, big expenses and dramatic design
endeavors are often first to fall off of the priority list.
Still, there's quite a bit
you can do to snap up

Where to spruce up during a down market

Even for die-hard DIYers,

the current economic climate can have a major impact on home improvement plans.

With so many of us trying to do more with less, big expenses and dramatic design

endeavors are often first to fall off of the priority list.

Still, there's quite a bit

you can do to snap up your home during a down market. Small-scale improvements

and smart repairs will help you maintain your investment and add comfort as you

weather the coming seasons. Spend your time and money in the following categories

for great returns.

style='font-family:Arial'>Green up

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Repair that running, leaking toilet. The parts

    you’ll need cost only a few dollars, and considering that a leaking toilet

    can waste as many as 78,000 gallons of water in a year, that investment

    becomes even tinier.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Even better, replace water-wasting bathroom

    fixtures with water-wise models.

    href="http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/het.htm">High-efficiency toilets

    (HETs) use up to 60 percent less water than

    older toilets,

    href="http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/bathroom_faucets.htm">

    class=SpellE>WaterSense listed faucets trim water use by over

    30 percent without a change in your routine, and the new generation of

    efficient showerheads offer great performance on up to 40 percent less

    water than their predecessors.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Get more for your heating and cooling dollars by

    bulking up insulation, sealing leaky ductwork, and weatherstripping

    windows and doors.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Install a programmable thermostat to help

    maintain ind

    style='font-family:Arial'>oor comfort and save around $80 in annual energy

    costs.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Swap in compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) for

    your current incandescents (they’ll last 10 times longer and use about 75

    percent less energy), and consider CFL-based light fixtures and dimmer

    systems if you’re due to make updates to your lighting scheme.

style='font-family:Arial'>Spruce up

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Extend a warmer welcome with a new front door

    and upgraded lockset, and add front porch plantings including beautifully

    hardy perennials.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Add color to a wall or an entire room with the

    affordable transformation that paint provides.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Enhance your kitchen by installing new countertops

    made from such green, budget-friendly materials as stainless steel, cast

    concrete, and solid surfacing and terrazzo composites made from recycled

    materials.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Improve conditions underfoot with a

    professional, end-of-season carpet cleaning, or rent cleaning equipment

    for a do-it-yourself solution.

style='font-family:Arial'>Tune up

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Prepare for the coming months spent indoors by

    cleaning your garage and organizing with new shelving, storage and work

    surfaces.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Improve accessibility for all family members and

    visitors with such affordable additions as bathroom grab bars, lever handles

    on interior doors and clutter-free floor space for easy mobility.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Furth

    style='font-family:Arial'>er ensure dependable HVAC performance by

    changing system filters and bringing in a pro for a pre-season check and

    tune-up of critical components.

  • style='font-family:Arial'>- Keep operations efficient and safe in the

    laundry room by cleaning out your dryer exhaust duct twice annually.

Note: Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. To find a local radio station, download the show’s podcast or sign-up for Tom’s free weeklye-newsletter, visit the program’s website.


Tom's latest book,

href="http://www.myhomemymoneypit.com/">My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to

Every Home Improvement Adventure, is available in bookstores everywhere

and online.

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