With the new year fully underway, you may already be thinking about spring cleaning and home projects. Once the weather improves, you’ll want to tackle some of those items on your to-do list you’ve been putting off. Well, this is your year to pull out your calendar and get them done. By this time next year, you’ll be so glad you did.

4 Home Projects to Finally Tackle This Year

1. Upgrade Your HVAC System

One of the items people tend to put off when taking care of home projects is updating their furnace and central air conditioner. It’s so easy to take heating and AC for granted, especially since they’re generally already in place when you move in. But if your furnace is more than 10 years old, it may have no better than an 80% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. You’re probably spending a lot of money to run a system that’s not nearly as efficient as it could be. Many outdated systems are burning excess fossil fuels, meaning that your pocketbook and the planet would both benefit from an upgrade.

A much more efficient option for your HVAC system may be to have a heat pump AC installed. In winter, heat pumps can redistribute heat from outside (such as warmth from the ground) to the indoors. This means you don’t need to burn fossil fuels like propane or gas to heat your home.  And the AC function works in reverse during the summer, so you can get a two-in-one system. Between the cost savings and the environmental advantages, an AC heat pump is worth looking into this year.

2. Update Your Paint

One trick that can instantly offer your house a makeover is a paint job. It’s one of those things you might not even think of over the years — if your paint’s not peeling, why bother? Then you realize it’s been a decade or more since you last painted, and the color is looking faded and shabby. While an annual power washing will keep your exterior clean, it may be time to lay down a fresh coat and update the house. Home maintenance experts advise repainting your house every five to 10 years.

You’ll want to paint the exterior of your house during more moderate months and avoid extreme cold or heat. As for the interior, the best time of year to paint is often winter, when humidity is relatively low. Pick your colors, get the gear you need —- ladders, brushes, sprayers, drop cloths —- and start now. Begin indoors, one room and one weekend at a time, and work your way outside as the weather warms up. By the time summer rolls around, you could have a house that looks brand new.

3. Work on Your Landscaping

Gardening and landscaping are projects many people love to talk about but rarely find time for. You probably have the best intentions; you may even have bought seeds for planting or new equipment for mowing and edging. But it’s tough to acquire the habit of regular landscape upkeep. Once you consider the benefits of getting outside to work on your yard, however, you may be inspired to finally do it this year. Gardening has been shown to reduce stress, improve your mood, and even inhibit dementia.

To get started, make yourself go outdoors and do a little bit every day. Whatever state your yard is in, the coming of spring is an excellent time to launch your projects. Begin pulling weeds, clearing debris, and trimming back dead branches. You can expand out to adding raised beds, building a fire pit, installing motion-sensitive lights on your garage, or just planting flowers in planters. If you’re ambitious, you may even consult with a landscaper to design an outdoor living space — the sky’s the limit.

4. Revamp Your Flooring

Finally, it may be past time to replace the flooring in your home. Especially if you have kids who have now grown up and moved out, the vinyl in the kitchen or carpeting in the living room might be wrecked. You’ve likely put off this update, because who wants to replace floors while the messes are still being made? But the scuff marks, the play dough in the carpet, and those stains that won’t come out have all had their day.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be expensive to replace your flooring. Luxury vinyl tile can run you as little as $3 per square foot and luxury vinyl planks as low as $1 per square foot. These materials are also pretty easy to install yourself if you’re relatively handy and up to the labor. Of course, if you decide you want hardwood floors or Greek marble, you’ll spend much more. Nevertheless, having new floors in your house could be just the upgrade your home needs.

In the end, you can tackle one or all of these home projects this year if you put your mind to it. The key is to schedule your tasks, figure out what supplies you need, and get help if necessary. Home projects are a labor of love that can reshape your house and the way you feel about it. Plus, you’re likely increasing the value of your home with every upgrade you make. So, really, finally getting around to those postponed improvements is a double win.

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