Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Home Improvement in the Winter

Have you started hibernating with this colder weather yet? Try one of these winter home improvement projects courtesy of msn real estate before curling up next to the fire this weekend. These small adjustments will make a huge impact on your house! Begin article below or read full article here. 

"10 great winter home projects"

By: Leah L. Culler

When it's cold and wet outside, it can be tempting to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book and a cup of cocoa. But winter is a great time to complete some indoor home projects. Some of these tasks require only a few hours — even minutes — of your time; others will need a much larger investment of time and, in some cases, money.

For most of these projects, we'll give you a rough idea of what special skills, if any, you'll need to complete them, as well as an estimate of the cost and time involved. This is not a how-to, however. You'll want to do your research before you drag out the power tools and try to make "improvements."

Easy and cheap
Let's start with a few quick, simple projects that anyone can do. Yes, even you.
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1. Change your furnace filter.

Ideally, you should have completed this task, along with a few other winter prep essentials, before the chilly weather arrived. Filters last about three months when you're using your furnace regularly, so you may need to do this more than once if it's an especially long and brutal winter.

Skills: Any homeowner can do this. You'll just need to note the size and type of filter you're replacing before you go out and buy a new one, and make sure the new one is facing in the same direction as the old.

Cost: You can find furnace filters for as little as $10. High-quality filters will catch dust mites and other allergens and are often worth the extra cost if you're prone to allergies, says David Lupberger, home-improvement expert for ServiceMagic and past president of the Master Builder Group Inc., a design/build remodeling company. (ServiceMagic is an MSN Real Estate partner.)

Time: This task should take just a few minutes once you have purchased a replacement filter.

2. Wash your windows.
Even if you're stuck indoors, that doesn't mean you can't improve your view of the winter wonderland outside. Winter's a great time to wash the inside of your home's windows. You can tackle the other side of the glass when it's bearable to step outdoors.

Skills: All you need is some basic hand/eye coordination, and possibly a decent sense of balance if you'll be cleaning tall windows using a step stool.

Cost: Most homeowners have window-cleaning supplies on hand. Use crumpled newspapers to polish your windows until they shine.

Time: Lupberger estimates you'll spend 15 to 30 minutes for an average window. Break it up into several shorter sessions if you're short on time and/or have lots of windows.


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