With the economic downturn, it’s become more important than ever to save money however and wherever you can. General home improvement has always been 5 Home Improvement Tips Anyone Can Doexpensive, unfortunately, even when it’s necessary – but if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, there are a few tasks that you can handle yourself.
1. Renew Old Insulation
Insulation is essential to keeping the power bill at a manageable level. Most homes have insulation in the walls, which makes it hard to access. Raised houses, however, often have insulation mounted beneath, where it is exposed to weather and destructive animals. Check for any areas where it might have come loose or gotten torn. New insulation is readily available at any home improvement store, and it’s fairly easy to mount it in the attic or basement.
2. Seal Leaky Drafts
It’s pretty common for older houses, and even some newer ones, to develop drafty spots where outside air is able to enter. The house settles, and the doors and windows might stop lining up perfectly. This makes your heater or air conditioner work extra-hard. Check for gaps in window and door frames; usually, a length of rubber or foam weatherstripping is all that’s needed. If the sealant around the individual windowpanes is old, cracked and drafty, it’s fixed easily enough. You can probably get a caulk gun and a tube of silicon sealant for under $20.
3. Plant a Garden
This one is not exactly a house improvement, but it can greatly enhance the house’s external appearance. It looks nice for you, it looks nice for your neighbors, and it also looks good to any potential buyers. It’s a win-win situation. The garden can be as large or as small as you want; just a few attractive plants will get you started. The best thing about a garden is that it can be functional and aesthetic at the same time. Rosemary and citronella, for example, help repel mosquitoes. Other flowers might attract butterflies or birds, and you can even grow some food if you’re so inclined.
4. Equip Your Bathrooms with Water-Saving Fixtures
This helps your wallet and the planet at the same time. Installing a low-flow toilet might be beyond the abilities of some casual handymen, but the faucets and shower heads are usually much simpler. Make sure to turn off the water before detaching anything, though. Most hardware stores carry a good selection of conservative shower fixtures that can reduce your water bill by a nice amount. As an added bonus, the hot water will last much longer!
5. Add Some Flair to Switches and Outlets
Most of the covers you see on switches and electrical outlets are plain plastic, usually white. That’s just a little too boring, though. Use them as decorative accents instead. There are lots of different styles available: imitation wood grain, decorative bronze designs, and even that one featuring Jesus. The more artistically inclined can also paint them, or have the kids do it to add a little personal touch to their rooms.