Home improvements for under $100

It seems that a lot of the big gains to be made in improving warmth, comfort and efficiency, come with a big price tag. But what about some of the small stuff?

There are a whole bunch of really cost effective ways to improve the performance of any home.
The other day, I picked up the following items from my local hardware shop:

  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are a no-brainer these days. At $3.58, sure they’re still more than old style incandescent lights, but being about 80% more efficient and lasting a whole lot longer, they’ll pay for themselves very quickly.
  • Rubber draught strips. I’ve got some pretty wide gaps in some wooden door and window frames. Draught seal is super cheap and a must for any old home that leaks warm air out and lets cold draughts in.
  • ‘V-Seal’. This is great product for draught proofing and I’ve used it a lot in various homes. It’s long strip of plastic with fold along the centre. It has a strip of adhesive on one side. The main benefit is that if compresses into a very narrow space (about 1 mm), yet still springs out to reduce a draught of up to 5 or 8 mm. This overcomes of the issues with rubber draughts strips which often prevent a door or window from closing at all once its installed because the material cant squash enough.
  • A length of clothes line. Most houses have a place somewhere, like under a carport, in a garage or even under a north facing eave, where you could string up a spare washing line. Most importantly, the chosen spot should be outside of the living space. Always avoid drying clothes in the same room that you’re trying to heat.
  • Clothes pegs. I grabbed another set because I hate not having enough near to where the line is.
  • Curtain hooks. We’ve got some legacy old curtain rails in the house we’ve moved into. We’ve also got a few curtains we brought with us from our previous home. Most hardware stores, or specialist curtain shops have a whole range of hooks, runnings and other fittings that can make mis-matched drapes and rails all work again. Windows (even the good ones) are essentially a big thermal hole in your wall, so having good thermal curtains in place is a must for a well performing home.