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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here Are My Favorite Easy Improvements When Moving Into a New Home

[Published May 31, 2012, in the Denver Post]

I recently moved into a wonderful new (actually 10-year old) home in Stonebridge at Eagle Ridge.  It backs to Lookout Mountain open space, and Rita and I both love it.

Of course, a home is never perfect, so I undertook a number of quick, relatively easy improvements that I’d like to share with you.

First and favorite was to have my plumber install a hot water recirculation line so that I would have instant hot water at the farthest (kitchen) faucet and every faucet between it and the water heater. Now, when I turn on the kitchen hot water, it’s hot after drawing 1/2 cup water. In the master bathroom, I have to draw a bit more before it’s hot.  Cost: $500.

While the plumber was here I had him install a hot and cold water faucet in the garage.  $200.

I installed a photocell on my porch light so that my porch and driveway are always lit up when it’s dark.  $10 (part cost only).

I ordered a 9.75 kW solar system, as described in last week’s column. $11,000 upon installation to get free electricity forever.

My furnace needed replacing anyway, so I bought a Carrier Lightspeed air-source heat pump with matching gas furnace which will only fire up when it’s below 20 degrees outside. This way I’ll heat my home with my free electricity except on really cold days.  Not cheap, but a great investment: $15,000.

My driveway has that terrible “mountable curb” which is so typical of subdivisions. For $2,400 it will be removed and a smooth driveway entry will be installed.

My garage has no natural light, so I’m having a Solatube installed there and in a dark interior hallway. $500 each, including installation.

What are YOUR favorite home improvements?

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