Save Money This Winter With These Simple Home Projects
By Leslie Tayne
Winter is the perfect time to tackle important home projects. But why stop at just improving your home? There are tons of great DIY projects out there that can improve your living situation and save you serious dough. Here are some simple winter projects to help you get started.
1. Update Your Insulation
Insulation helps keep the heat you generate inside your house, allowing rooms to stay warmer for longer. If you think you're losing heat too quickly after you turn down the thermostat, you may want to inspect your insulation. Replacing old batches or adding pipe and tank insulation is a relatively easy way to help your home maintain its warmth and shorten how long you run your heater.
2. Seal Pesky Drafts
Another great way to keep heat inside (and energy costs down) is to eliminate any drafts you find in your home. Using a caulk gun to seal gaps in walls and windows can help minimize the amount of warm air escaping your house. You may also want to consider checking your doors' weatherstripping for any openings. Replacing weatherstripping is a relatively simple process and shouldn't put too much strain on your wallet.
3. Buy Energy-Smart Lightbulbs
One of the easiest home improvement projects you can tackle this winter is to swap out your old incandescent bulbs for efficient LEDs. While the initial cost may be rather steep -- LED bulbs tend to cost three times more than traditional incandescents -- the lifespan of an LED is significantly longer and the bulbs use far less energy. If you're unable to afford the initial cost of LEDs, though, you can look into Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). These offer similar energy savings to LEDs, but without the long life span and high upfront cost.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
By automatically adjusting your temperature when you're sleeping or at work, programmable thermostats can help you drastically cut down on your energy use. Models are available at a variety of price points and installation should only take a couple of minutes. Some versions even allow you to adjust your thermostat from your phone, giving you extra control over when your heater -- or air conditioner -- turns on.
While you might not see huge returns on your winter projects immediately, the savings you'll make over the years should be more than enough to make the investments worthwhile. Of course, improving your financial situation during the winter doesn't have to stop at home improvement projects. You may also want to consider making a budget, work on creating good financial habits and improving your credit score this year. (You can see where you credit stands by viewing your free credit report card on Credit.com.) No matter what you decide, making the best of your time indoors during the winter could really pay off throughout the rest of the year and beyond.