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Kitchen Renovation

Do you want to improve your quality of life, while putting cash back in your wallet? A home improvement may be just the answer for comfort today and resale value tomorrow. A recent poll commissioned by American Standard, a company that specializes in bath, kitchen and central heating and cooling systems, shows that kitchen renovations top the list.

One in four (26 percent) chose a kitchen renovation, a central heating and cooling system upgrade was close behind with 20 percent. Next was building a deck with 15 percent, followed by a bathroom renovation (9 percent), master bedroom expansion (9 percent) and last, creating a wine cellar (2 percent). Nineteen percent have other home renovations in mind.

"Kitchen remodeling is a top design choice of consumers," says ASID President H. Don Bowden. "The reason is the kitchen is a very important part of the home. The kitchen has evolved into more than a place to cook and eat-it is now the social gathering area in the home."

According to the National Association of Home Builders, an average of 46.9 percent of the population had made minor home renovations ($25,000 or less) and 42.4 percent had major renovations ($25,000 or more) in the first quarter of 2003. With more than half of the respondents (55 percent) choosing a kitchen, bathroom or central heating and cooling upgrade as their first choice to increase their home comfort level, these survey results show that American Standard has a unique opportunity to set new standards for comfortable living.

While many people are aware of the new, trendy styles in faucet, fixture, appliance and countertop designs, the most surprising advancement may be in the technology of central heating and cooling systems, which provides higher efficiency, increases humidity control and lowers noise level creating superior comfort. Many people may remodel their kitchens or bathrooms several times within five years, but if taken care of properly, a central heating and cooling system can last as long as 12 years.

"A new, high-efficiency central heating and cooling system with a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) of 12 or higher is enticing for both homeowners and home buyers," says Paul Trotter, national sales manager for American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning. "New heating and air conditioning technologies allow homeowners to control the temperature and humidity throughout their homes and save on energy bills throughout the year."

Kitchen Renovation: Home-cooking seems to be a shared responsibility with only slightly more women (29 percent) choosing a kitchen renovation than men (23 percent).

Central Heating and Cooling: A central heating and cooling upgrade offers comfort for less, which is most appealing to those with incomes under $50,000 compared with those over $50,000 or more by a margin of 27 percent to 15 percent.

Kitchen Update: A kitchen update was most popular with adults ages 55-64, with one-third (32 percent) choosing this as their top home renovation.

Temperature Matters: In the Northeast, temperature matters. A central heating and cooling upgrade is their top choice (27 percent) for ultimate comfort.

Better Bathroom: Not a first choice for most but nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would choose it as one of their top three preferences for a home improvement.

Relaxing Outside: A deck provides ultimate comfort to young adults, 18-24 years old, with 26 percent choosing a deck addition as their top choice.