Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Handy Home Projects

It's time for a home tune-up

Before the holidays kick into high gear, get yourself revved up for a home tune-up.

Whether you are tackling a small project or a large one, here are a few ideas on how to get your home in tip-top shape for all the fun of the holidays.

  • Don't have the time to renovate the entire kitchen? Give your kitchen a quick makeover by adding new appliances (Energy Star-rated, of course!), resurfacing the cabinets, updating the hardware or recovering the floor. Any one of these will give your kitchen a new look without the high cost of a new kitchen.
  • Make your living space comfortable for family and guests by installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats cut energy costs by automatically adjusting temperature settings while you are asleep or away from home.
  • Get your furnace serviced by a qualified technician before the cold weather hits. Make sure you check the filters monthly throughout the winter and change them as needed. A furnace that is burning cleanly, whether gas or oil, will save you money on your winter heating bill.
  • If you have older windows and doors, go through the house and feel any drafts coming from them. A simple way is to hold a candle or a lighter near doors and windows and see if the flame flickers. Pick up caulking or weather-stripping to fix the problem. Outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will stand up better to freezing and thawing. Also check your electrical outlets for air leaks. Foam insulation made for outlet and switch placement is inexpensive, quick to install, and effective.
  • This is the perfect time of year to check the operation of your home's smoke detectors. Change the batteries and push the "test" button. With all the holiday lights aglow and seasonal candles flickering, it is important that smoke alarms are in top working condition. Consider buying new detectors if the ones you have are more than 10 years old.

And while you are sprucing up your home for the holidays, it's a perfect time to do a review of your insurance coverage. Whether you are making little improvements or have done a complete reno in the past year, it is important to make sure your coverage reflects those changes. So talk to your insurance broker to go over the details while your home is on your mind. You will relax and enjoy the season more, knowing your investment is covered.



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