The Man’s Kitchen

House To Home Improvement in Livermore, CA Photos Reviews 39 building permits for $229,000. Make achieving thermal comfort with the lowest ongoing operating cost central to your decision making at every stage. Passive heating and cooling is free to operate but upgrading a home to achieve better thermal comfort (more stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS)) does cost money but rewards with lower energy bills — particularly in climates with high auxiliary heating or cooling needs (see Design for climate).

Improvements in the U.S. economy post the recession translated into recovery in the housing market as well. Both pent-up demand and demand driven by higher economic growth contributed to price increases in the housing market. In 2013, house prices witnessed a 10.3% increase followed by a 6.4% increase in 2014. Although at a slower rate, the NAR expects prices to continue increasing in 2015 at 5%. The appreciation in home prices is expected to drive sales for Home Depot and Lowe’s as customers continue investing in their homes. Moreover, according to the NAR, new house sales are expected to increase by 30-40% in 2015. The huge increase in sales is also expected to bring in considerable business to the home improvement industry going forward.

Why it pays off: Adding central air to an average 2,400-square-foot house could cost upward of $10,000 and boost your home’s value by 10 to 20 percent, says appraiser Leslie Sellers. And central air-conditioning is energy-efficient too. Centralized units have an average energy-efficiency rating (EER) of 11.5, compared with an 8.5 EER in single-window models, making them less expensive to run. What’s more, central air won’t block the view the way a window unit does.

Why it pays off: If you’re experiencing cool and blustery weather…in your living room, it’s time to buy new panes, pronto. Not only are you losing precious heat but your utility bill could also be skyrocketing. Energy-efficient windows eliminate drafts, so your home feels warmer,” says Sellers. Last year home owners who spent $11,400 on 10 three-by-five-foot insulated vinyl or aluminum-clad windows got an 81 percent ($9,240) return.

Kate Riley loves a good bargain, hence the name of her blog: Centsational Girl Riley shows her readers how to create amazing spaces by sticking to a budget—or what she calls creating diamond style on a dime.” She also uses her platform to cover home improvement trends, detail her travels, link to her own favorite design blogs and even share recipes. Riley’s been writing about home improvement techniques since 2009, and has contributed to several home improvement websites and companies. In 2015, she was named one of Better Homes and Gardens’ top favorite bloggers.