Vacation homes are a great source of income and a unique type of property to own. However, like in any business, there are additional costs such as utilities and repairs.
You also need to meet the needs of your guests, and making your property comfortable is an important component of that. A pleasant experience can lead to return guests, more reservations and referrals, and in the long run, an increase in your earnings.
Keeping your vacation home warm during the colder months of the year is an absolute must. But it’s also possible to do so while saving money. So how can you maximize both the comfort of the property and your profits at the same time?
The following six tips are designed to help enhance your property in ways that can help you save on heating bills:
Insulation is a thermal barrier that fills up cracks and cavities in your walls and ceilings, which helps stop thermal transfer. This makes your home more energy-efficient and easier to heat up. While insulation is easier to add to new construction, it’s also possible to add it to an existing room.
Every property is different, so where and how much insulation depends on several things, such as the climate, how old your property is, and how much insulation is already there. Ideally, you’ll want to add insulation to the attic and crawl space areas, and if your home is in a cold climate, add it to your walls. Fiberglass insulation is one of the most effective and healthiest options, as well as the lowest in cost. Opt for batts in the attic, and blown-in for the walls.
According to Energy.gov, most existing homes that add insulation will see improvements in both temperature and monetary savings. In fact, it’s possible to save as much as 30% just by insulating the attic. The property will be much warmer and you’ll save on heating costs at the same time.
2. Consider Alternative Heat Sources
You probably heat your vacation home with a conventional heating source such as a furnace or baseboard heating. But alternative heat sources such as pellet stoves could help you save. Pellet stoves are incredibly efficient, with an entire pallet of pellets costing only $250, which is enough to heat most homes throughout the winter.
Pellet stoves also add ambiance to your rental, making it more attractive to guests, so your vacation property will not only be warmer, it will also be more appealing.
3. Install a Gas Fireplace
Gas fireplaces are efficient, and let you lower the heat from the furnace or traditional heat source in the room while they’re in use. This can help you save money each month on heating costs, while allowing you to advertise the addition and attract new guests with the added lure of a fireplace at the same time.
If you have an existing fireplace, you can add a gas insert that will make it very efficient to heat. Otherwise, you can add in-wall gas fireplaces that are ventless and don’t require a chimney.
4. Add a Fire Pit
People are renting your home to relax and enjoy themselves, it is a vacation rental after all. By installing a fire pit, you can warm up your patio or outdoor living area. This in return makes the property have some outdoor amenities and ensures that they can use the outdoor spaces into the colder months as well.
Fire pits come in many different styles and sizes. You can even create your own, using fire-proof bricks or stones to form a ring, and lining the bottom with gravel or sand to create a unique camp-style pit. You can also purchase pits in a wide range of styles from a simple metal ring to elaborate bowls and stands. Take your property’s style into consideration when making your choice; you want the fire pit to look as though it’s part of the outdoor living area, and not simply an add on.
By providing wood or other fuel sources to burn, you’ll keep your guests warm without spending extra on heating bills.
5. Invest in Storms
Storm windows help outfit existing windows and stop air gaps, making the property warmer. Storm windows fit over your existing windows, and in many cases, you can’t even tell that they’re there. This is also cheaper than purchasing and installing replacement windows.
If you’re unsure of how many storm windows you need, you can do a quick test to see how much air is getting in around your current windows. Light a stick of incense and place it near the windows on a windy day. If the smoke blows in the wind, then storm windows are a good option.
As storms block any cold drafts from coming through, your guests will be more comfortable and you won’t need to set the heat quite as high.
6. Get Thermal Curtains
Thermal curtains are designed to help block drafts and cold air around your windows. They’re heavier than normal curtains and can be paired with other types of window treatments that you may already have in place, such as blinds or shades.
Thermal curtains tend to look better when they’re in darker colors. This is because the fabric that makes them is heavy, and lined on the back with a stiff material. Choose a color that will pick up or coordinate with an accent color already in the room, but don’t try to match major colors in the room, as this can make the space too dark.
Thermal curtains can also be light blocking, which makes them a good addition to bedrooms; they’ll help keep the bedroom warm and cozy, allowing the heat to be turned down at night, and will have the added benefit of making the rooms darker.
Warm Up Your Vacation Home
There are many ways to save money as a vacation property owner. Making the property more appealing will encourage more guests to stay. By saving money on heating bills you’ll have more income available.
These enhancements are designed to maximize your profits and your home’s potential. Invest in a warmer, more comfortable vacation property using these tips to maximize your profits this winter.
About the Author
Yuka Kato is an Industry Analyst at Fixr.com, the online provider of cost guides, comparisons, and term cheatsheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation and repair projects.