5 home improvements that boost safety, comfort and the value of your home

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Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 3:32 am, Wed Jun 25, 2014.

(BPT) - Home improvement season is in full swing, and homeowners across the country are deciding which projects to tackle this year. By taking a strategic approach to selecting home improvements, you can go beyond adding value to your property – you can also boost your comfort and safety as well.

“Many homeowners select stylistic updates when deciding which projects [they want] for their house, but some of the most valuable home improvements aren’t visual,” says Ed Del Grande, home improvement expert, author, TV host and spokesperson for Kohler. “Things that add comfort and safety to a home typically have the best return on investment, as well as the most pull with today’s savvy homebuyers come resale time.”

Del Grande recommends five home improvements to enhance the value, safety and comfort of your home:

1) Standby Home Generator

A standby generator is installed outside your house (like a central air-conditioning unit) and comes on automatically within seconds of a utility power outage to keep your property up-and-running whether you’re home or away. Standby generators are connected to existing gas lines in your home (propane or natural gas), so there’s no refueling necessary. A standby generator like those from Kohler can power critical appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators/freezers, sump pumps, security systems, office equipment and sophisticated electronics. Adding a standby generator not only increases your comfort and safety, it’s a sound investment. In addition to preventing losses due to power outages, a backup power generator recoups 67.5 percent of its cost at resale, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. To learn more, visit www.kohlergenerators.com for educational videos, sizing calculators and more.

2) Lighting

Updating lighting can have a dramatic effect on a home’s aesthetic, but beauty is just one benefit of redoing light fixtures inside and out. Lights highlight architectural features plus add a safety element to the property. Properly lit paths, stairs and entranceways make it easy to navigate throughout the home. Use solar light to brighten pathways, stair lights to illuminate steps, wall sconces to light functional areas within the living room or bathroom, and under-cabinet lighting to illuminate kitchen surfaces for safer cooking.

3) Front door

In addition to properly lighting your entrance, there is another simple and affordable update you can make to boost curb appeal and home security: a new steel front door. Doors that feature decorative glass might look nice, but they make it easy for criminals to break into your home. Give your home’s facade a facelift and added security by replacing your entry door with a steel option. With a 96.6 percent recouped cost, it is the number one remodeling project for resale value, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Plus, steel front doors can be purchased in a variety of colors or easily painted to match your home’s existing color palette.

4) Security system

A security system assures owners that their family and property are secure day and night. Whether you hire a company to install it or you go the DIY route, there are numerous options. Smart security systems go beyond cameras, fire alarms and motion detectors; they allow homeowners to monitor their homes online so they can see when children come home, packages are delivered, or whether they forgot to shut the garage door. Adjustments to locks, lighting and temperature can all be made remotely. Plus, adding a security system often qualifies for a discount on homeowner’s insurance, so ask your agent.

5) Sump pump

With the recent storms in the Northeast and across the country, flooding has become a major concern. If your home has a basement, it should have a functioning sump pump. Often located under stairways or in basement utility spaces, a sump pump is a special pump that is only activated when water reaches a certain level in a basin that collects water and enables proper drainage around the home. Sump pumps are critical to prevent basement flooding, and they reduce dampness around a home’s foundation. The upfront cost of a sump pump is easily justified when you think about the thousands of dollars in damages it prevents: the average cost of a flooded basement is $21,000 according to FloodSmart.gov (2-inch flood in 2,000 square-foot home).

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