Home improvement projects can be an exciting time for homeowners. The idea of changing your home to be as unique and personal as you is enjoyable. Take a moment to look around your home and imagine any changes you might want or need to do around your home. There are many different types of home improvement projects to do around your home. You can pick a room and do a total makeover by room. You can also pick an area like a section of flooring or maybe some windows and replace them. You can do an interior or exterior remodel. The options are really endless. You just have to decide what is most important for you to change and how much you can afford to change. Here are the top items people are looking to improve in their homes for 2015.

Let us start with everyone’s favorite room to remodel and customize. The kitchen! For most homeowners, it is typical to spend many hours in the kitchen cooking and entertaining. That is why it is such a common place to want customized to your personal style and needs. Here are three main items that people are updating often:

  • Counter tops: Having custom counter tops can help you add style and durability to your kitchen. There are many different colors and materials to use for counter tops.

  • Back splash: Changing the back splash in your kitchen is a fun place to add color, pattern and style. Your back splash can be as unique as you are.

  • Cabinets: Custom cabinets are a great way to add storage and functionality to your kitchen. There are many different colors and styles to choose from. This is a great way to update your kitchen and really make it your own.

Now let us talk about a few items that you can replace and update throughout your home for an overall improvement to your home. These items are a great way to really update and refresh your whole home by picking one item to work on throughout.

  • Efficient Lighting: Looking around your home at night, are there any places that you could use more lighting? This is a great way to add warmth and comfort to your home. This is also a great time to make your lighting more energy efficient.

  • Flooring: Adding new flooring throughout your home is a great way to add style and color to the interior of your home. There are many options and types of texture to choose from. This is a great way to personalize your home.

  • Painting: Painting a room can make a complete difference to your home. It can make a room cozy and warm or add a pop of color and interest. Painting is an easy way to change and update your home.

No matter what part of your home you choose to remodel or how you choose to remodel it, make sure you take your time and enjoy the process. This is your chance to make your home uniquely yours. Love it!

The floors creak, the dishwasher leaks and the roof could use replacing. As a homeowner, you’ll run into a number of home improvement tasks—no matter what type of home you live in. While some jobs are too tough to tackle on your own, you don’t need a handyman for every home maintenance task. You can easily handle these five projects yourself.

1.       Read your electricity meter. Although your utility is responsible for reading your electricity meter, it’s important for you to know how to do the job too. Monitoring your energy consumption each month can give you an idea of what your electricity bill will cost and perhaps even motivate you to save energy.

Some utilities can’t make it out to every home to read every meter each month. Instead, they estimate your energy consumption and bill you accordingly. Later, when a meter reader has a chance to record your actual energy consumption, the utility will make adjustments to your bill to ensure you’re not paying too little or too much for your energy. However, if you want to make sure your energy expense is accurate, the best thing to do is to read your meter each month. Not sure what to do? Check out this short video to learn how to read your meter.

 2.       Fix a leaky toilet. A toilet that leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of water and increase your water bill. It’s important to stop the leak as soon as possible, however, there’s no need to call a plumber. Most toilet leaks are a quick fix. One of the most common problems is the toilet chain. If it’s too short it can keep the flapper, or stopper valve, from closing completely and allow water to leak. On the other hand, if the chain is too long, it can get caught underneath the flapper, causing a small leak. Alternatively, you may just have a dirty flapper that needs to be cleaned or replaced. If those quick fixes don’t work, here’s a simple guide to help you repair a larger problem.

 3.       Maintain your air conditioner. Heating and cooling represent more than 50 percent of the average home’s electricity bill. If you’re looking to save on air conditioning costs, its import to maintain your AC so it stays efficient. You should replace the air filters in your home regularly—every three months or sooner. Keeping the filter clean helps keep your ducts clean and ensures the unit works efficiently. It’s also important to clean the actual air conditioner. At least once a year, clean off any leaves, dirt or other debris that has built up on the unit.

 4.       Caulk around windows. Even when your air conditioner is working as efficiently as possible, there could be air leaks around your windows that waste your expensive cooling efforts. A quick and inexpensive solution is to caulk these problem areas. Examine the window frames for areas where caulk has dried and cracked. Fill these areas in with new caulk to prevent air leaks.

While caulking is an excellent short-term solution to energy waste, you might want to consider replacing your windows for more energy efficient options. ENERGY STAR-labeled windows are twice as efficient as windows manufactured 10 years ago.

 5.       Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is the ultimate energy-saving gadget. By replacing your outdated thermostat with a programmable version, you’ll be able to program heating and cooling to fit your schedule and save the most money. More advanced models can even learn your heating and cooling habits and adjust automatically to optimize for energy savings. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, a programmable thermostat could save you more than $180 a year. Installing one is easy, just follow these steps

This article was written by SaveOnEnergy.com.