If you’re in the planning phase for a minor or major home remodel, don’t forget to consider upgrades and proactive maintenance that can make your home more comfortable and efficient during winter. The home improvement options available to homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient and cost-effective have become even more numerous and sophisticated in recent years.

Consider Efficient Heating Options

Home heating is an area where technology has evolved considerably in the last decade and beyond. Any homeowner with heating solutions that are 15 years old or older should seriously considering dedicating some of their home remodel budget to a new system. Solutions like radiant heating can make your family a lot more comfortable while reducing monthly energy costs and even making your applicable for various energy rebates and tax credits.

Preserve Your Heat with Energy-Efficient Windows

Another home improvement option that has become more effective and affordable is energy-efficient windows as well as doors and skylights. Not only has manufacturing gotten better, but the EPA has refined its standards as well as established specific standards for various parts of the country. This lets New York and Florida homeowners, for instance, choose windows that are best suited to their homes.

Replace Old Insulation

In addition to energy-efficient windows, the EPA urges all homeowners to invest in new insulation, and a home remodel project is a great time to do this because you can offset ancillary costs. The science behind residential insulation has evolved considerably, and the EPA estimates that many homes can reduce heating costs by as much as 40 percent by replacing old insulation as well as installing insulation in areas that were not traditionally treated 10 years or more ago.

Service Your HVAC System

A relatively inexpensive home improvement that you can make is to have your heating system inspected and serviced just prior to autumn. HVAC experts advise homeowners that this kind of minor proactive maintenance seasonally is the key to an efficient system that has a long life and doesn’t require frequent repairs and certainly not major fixes.

Clean Your Chimney and Fireplace

A fireplace—particularly an EPA-qualified fireplace—is a great way to add warmth to a living room or other area without turning up the thermostat. Of course, it is very important that you have your fireplace serviced each year. The buildup that occurs in fireplaces not only presents a fire hazard but can actually lower indoor air quality and exacerbate allergies, asthma and so forth.

Photo by Alair Homes DecaturSearch living room design ideas