Winter is no excuse to leave home repairs unfinished. Nobody's telling you to tackle difficult DIY tasks like reshingling a roof, but if you wanted to, say, get your chimney swept or paint that guest room a trendy new color you might as well work on those tasks while you're stuck inside. With help from experts, we found a few projects you could knock out for $1,000 or less.
INSTALL A NEW WATER HEATER
The average tank-equipped water heater only lasts about 12 years. If yours is getting around that age, it's better to address it now than to do so when it leaks, bursts, andfloods a portion of your house. The average cost of a 50-gallon tank water heater's replacement with installation can range from $795 to $2,800according to Angie’s List. However, if you want to switch to a tankless system that heats water on an as-needed basis, the cost of installation could be as high as $3,000, but the system can last 20 years or more.
REFINISH YOUR FLOORS
INSTALL VINYL WINDOWS
UPGRADE ELECTRIC CIRCUITS
Winter boosts your electric bill for many reasons. Shorter days leave lights on longer and put people indoors for longer periods of time, giving computers, TVs, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles more use. More electricity is used to heat hot water, and snow and rain keep the clothes dryer spinning. Newer, more efficient circuits for electric ranges, outlets, and dryers are available, and you can sneak a lot of work in for less than $1,000 if you pick one small job at a time.
FERTILIZE THE LANDSCAPE
While nobody would recommend a winter round of cutting or pruning, adding fertilizer to trees, shrubs and grass for the winter will help keep your landscape lively until spring arrives. You can do this yourself pretty easily for between $25 and $50, but the average cost of having a professional do it will cost about $225, on average.
PAINT THE INTERIOR
SEAL OPENINGS AND AIR LEAKS
If you go after seams around windows and doors with caulk, waterproof sealant or weatherstripping, it can improve your energy consumption and lower utility bills. Sealing up openings and leaks can also reduce outside noise, control humidity, keep out dust and insects, and reduce the risks of ice dams on the roof and eaves in snowy climates. This will not only cost you less than $1,000, it shouldn't cost you $100 to complete.
INSTALL A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Nest Labs, which has skin in the game as a home automation producer, noted in 2015 that homeowners saved 10 to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling by upgrading to a programmable thermostat. By only activating heating and cooling when needed, programmable thermostats are far more efficient than their manual counterparts — if used effectively — while costing between $25 and $150.
UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN TILE
No, you won't be able to tile entire floors and counters for less than $1,000, nor would you want to. But adding a colorful backsplash can be inexpensive and not terribly difficult, depending on the size of the area. You'll have to be patient and take your time, but a simple tile backsplash can cost as little as $592, while having one professionally installed average out to roughly $950.
PUT IN CROWN MOLDING
At $3 to $8 per square foot, crown molding isn't as out-of-reach as homeowners might think. If you have a table saw or have a Home Depot or Lowe's nearby that can rent you one, you can knock it out for less than $300. In fact, Home Depot has a tutorial explaining just how to do it. However, even if you do need a professional to make it happen, the average price for a room hovers around $1,000.
Insulation gives a homeowner easily the best bang for their buck. Remodeling notes that attic insulation offers a 108-percent return on investment while cutting the overall cost of home energy use. While the cost of fiberglass batts, spray-foam insulation, and blown-in insulation varies, you can spend well below the $1,400 average cost of insulating an attic by doing the job yourself. The average person who installs batted installation on their own, for example, spends just $145 to $200 per 500 square feet.
Remodel Magazine notes that replacing a front door with a new fiberglass or steel model can will add 78 percent to 90 percent of that door's value to the cost of the house. Now, you could simply paint a door for very little, but door installation costs less than $1,000 on average, and can cost even less if you buy and install a steel or fiberglass door yourself. You'll not only be adding value, but making your home more energy-efficient while improving its security.
MIND YOUR GUTTERS
Even if it’s late in the season for some winter repairs, you might be able to prevent ice dams and snow backups in your gutters. You don't need to replace gutters completely, but installing gutter guards can help break up the snow and ice and keep your gutters and roofline clear. While the average cost of installation is little more than $1,000, doing it yourself can keep the price tag beneath $500.
INSULATE PLUMBING AND PIPES
All this requires is wrapping exterior pipes and spigots in foam insulation whenever temperatures are expected to drop below freezing. Granted, you could just shut them off for the season, but exposed metal and copper in basements, attics, and crawl spaces may get cold enough to freeze. Rather than dealing with leaks and flooding later, getting some foam tubing now is a far less costly option.
START FINISHING THE BASEMENT
No, you won't be able to finish the whole thing for $1,000 unless your basement is tiny or your needs are minimal. However, you can start framing out a basement for $1,000 a square foot. Even better, you can start drawing up plans and pulling $50 permits for work you'll do at a later date. Meanwhile, any work you do will add 70 percent of its value to the cost of your home.
START FINISHING THE ATTIC
If you're insulating the attic anyway, checking into the cost of conversion first. If you already have stairs into your attic, widows, and an easy means of running heat up there (ductwork or piping), you may be on your way. You can at least start talking to an architect or engineer ($50 to $150), run ductwork (about $1,000), or begin installing lighting ($50 to $200 per light).
BUILD SOME BUILT-INS
While September and October are when manufacturers bring in the new year's inventory, January is when much of the previous year's inventory gets priced at its lowest. Will you be able to get a high-end refrigerator or stove for less than $1,000? Perhaps not, but it may be a good time to replace that dishwasher, washer, or dryer.
START REMODELING THE KITCHEN
SMARTEN UP THE HOUSE
A smart, connected thermostat goes for $200 to $300, but can yield significant long-term savings. However, you can install smart interior and exterior lighting, alarm and security systems, smoke detectors, cameras, door and window locks, yard irrigation, window treatments, and other items for an average of roughly $1,000. Granted, none of this includes monthly fees for some services, but each passing holiday season makes automating a home a winter tradition.