12. Put in a Screen Door

Why now: There's nothing lovelier than a gentle breeze wafting through the house on a balmy day. And by choosing an aluminum door with an interchangeable storm window, you can also save on heating costs come winter, especially if you have an older, uninsulated entry door.

How to do it: Measure your entry-door opening, noting which side the hinges are on, and choose a corresponding screen door. Check the fit before installing; you'll likely need a hacksaw to trim the base of the door's aluminum side pieces, called Z-bars, to match the slope of your existing sill. Secure the hinge-side bar to the screen door with the supplied screws, and steady the assembly in the opening. Push the bar against the jamb and secure with screws. Next, secure the top and latch-side bars to the jamb, and install the automatic closer and the door handle. Attach the safety chain, and seal around the screen-door frame with silicone caulk.

The Payoff Electricity-free ventilation in warm weather, plus a decrease in air leakage during cold months—up to 11 percent—when you swap the screen for a storm window.
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