Five Winter Home Improvement Projects For Around $1,000 (That Will Save You More!)

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Today, we have a special guest article from our friends at HowMuch.net with advice on how to winterize your home for less!

There’s no doubt about it; winter is coming and according to predictions by Weather.com, the winter of 2015 – 2016 is going to be highly variable and unpredictable with areas seeing below average temperatures and above average precipitation. With all that cold and snow, you’re likely going to find yourself indoors more often than not. So make sure you’re prepared for the coming winter by tackling these five home improvement projects:  

I. Windows

Did you know that windows lose up to 10 times the amount of energy that you use to heat your home compared to the same stretch of wall? Old windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss in your home. Installing new, energy efficient windows can help lower your energy bills.

Install Energy-Saving Vinyl Casement Windows

According to the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, double and triple-glazed windows are the most energy-efficient that you can buy for your home. With a very low U-factor, as well as Low-E coating on the glass, these windows can stop a lot of heat transfer to the outside. Vinyl frames are also a good consideration; they’re inexpensive, low maintenance, and can provide a good fit to help stop air gaps. Look for casement windows, which provide the best ventilation when opened.

Average Cost:

The average cost of vinyl casement window replacement is about $943

Prices range from:

$ 691 – vinyl casement window replacement – DIY

$1,290 – vinyl casement window replacement – upgraded

Tips:

While casement windows do provide the best ventilation, they may also obstruct walkways outdoors because of the way they extend.

Your actual cost of installation will be determined by the material, finish, size, and any special needs your structure may have, as well as the current labor rate in your area if you use an installer.

The prices listed above are for services immediately near the provider – taxes and other fees not included.

When your home is inspected, your contractor may inform you of other costs or repairs necessary to adapt the new windows to fit your home.

Purchasing and installing more than two windows at a time may provide you with a discount per unit.

Some national or local subsidies may be available for energy efficient improvements like window replacement.

II. Doors

Wood doors have a beautiful appearance, as well as a blend of elegance and strength that make them very attractive to most homeowners. Unfortunately, wood doors need to be treated regularly to help protect them from the winter elements. Neglecting this maintenance can cause the wood to soften and rot over time, which makes a fiberglass or steel door a more practical choice.

Installing a Fiberglass or Steel Exterior Door

Both fiberglass and steel are energy-efficient and low-maintenance options for your exterior door.

Average Cost:

The average exterior door costs range from:

  1. For Fiberglass Doors:

The average cost of fiberglass doors is about $679

Prices range from:

$ 463 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – DIY

$1,537 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – upgraded

  1. For Steel Doors:

The average cost of steel doors is about $613

Prices range from:

$  397 – exterior steel door replacement – DIY

$  871 – exterior steel door replacement – upgraded

Tips:

The final cost of installing your new door will depend on the material, finish, size, special needs of your home, as well as the current labor rate in your area.

The prices listed above are for services in the area directly surrounding the provider and do not include taxes or fees.

When the contractor inspects your home, he may inform you about any additional costs to repair or adapt the new door to your home.

A project involving more than two doors may entitle you to a discount per unit.

There may be national or local subsidies available for energy efficient home improvements

III. Heating

A properly heated home provides a first line of defense against winter’s cold. Having an updated heating system can not only ensure you stay comfortable this winter, it can also help lower your energy bills. One of the best ways you can do this is by replacing your hot water heater.

Water Heater Replacement

Water heaters are fairly simple, straightforward appliances. They’re easy to maintain, and they last for around 10 years when properly taken care of. Sooner or later, though, you will eventually have to replace it, especially if it’s older, because it could be heating your water inefficiently and wasting energy at the same time. If it begins to stop working properly, or springs a leak, the time has come to replace it – and fast.

Average Cost:

The average cost of water heater is about $826 – gas water heater with 50 gallon tank, typically used in a 5 person home, including vent and pipe

Prices range from:

$ 639 – electric water heater with 40 gallon tank, typically used in a 4 person home       

$1,077 – gas tankless water heater, 6.4 GPM for 2 baths, including vent and pipe

Tips:

There are two main types of hot water heater – the standard tank, and newer tankless varieties. Both can use either gas or electricity to heat your water. A typical standard tank-style hot water heater will range in size from between 30 to 50 gallons. They are usually installed somewhere in your utility area or near your furnace, and will need sufficient floor space. Tankless units mount inside your walls, so they don’t require as much space, and they’re sized in gallons per minute (GPM) rather than overall size. This rate can range from between 2 to 10 GPM.

IV. Electricians

The winter months typically bring higher electric bills with them as well. This is often influenced by several different factors, such as:

  • Lights being left on for longer periods due to the shorter days and longer nights
  • More hot water being used in baths and showers
  • People spending more time indoors and using more electronic devices such as TVs and computers
  • Using the clothes dryer more often, rather than drying clothes out of doors

Electric Circuit Install

Due to the reasons mentioned above, you need a more efficient electrical system during winter.

Average Cost:

  1.     For Electric Range Circuit

The average cost of electric range circuit is about $202 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

$ 76 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY

$393 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor conduit upgrade

  1.     For Electric Outlet Circuit

The average cost of electric outlet circuit is about $153 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

$ 27 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY

$292 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

  1.     For Electric Dryer Circuit

The average cost of electric dryer circuit is about $179 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

$ 53 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY

$333 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

Tips:

Be aware that the electric range circuits, which bring power to your home are subject to compliance codes and professional practices to help reduce the risk of fire.

The costs of installing things like range circuits, outlet circuits, or dryer circuits may depend on power rating, circuit lengths, special requirements your home may need, and the current labor rate in your area.

  1.          Bathroom

How old is your bathtub? Think about it now. The hard to reach, and hard to clean surfaces of that old bathtub you have can also be the breeding ground of bacteria, viruses and fungi. The super cold winter weather would have you running for a nice hot soak in your bathtub after a full day of work. However, it also makes you more susceptible to infections.

Bathtub Replacement

In order to make sure that soaking in the bathtub would not be hazardous for your health this winter, it would be a great idea to replace your bathtub now. A nice, new bathtub to soak in for the winter would be a great gift for yourself this holiday season.

Average Cost:

The average cost of bathtub replacement is about $1,006 – standard fiberglass tub-shower with new accessories

Prices range from:

$143bathtub only – DIY

$1,857 high-grade cast-iron bathtub and new accessories and surrounding

Tips:

These prices are for service in the immediate service area of the provider. You should check with your local service provider to get the most accurate pricing for your bathtub replacement.

Job minimum charges may increase the cost. There might also be minimum charges for labor which might increase your costs.

Taxes and permit fees are not included in the estimates.

Home improvement projects may be costly if you are not well­ informed. If you want to make sure your money is spent wisely on your home improvement projects, without having to sacrifice quality, check out the cost guides available at howmuch.net home improvement cost estimating section.