Well, it’s that time of year – when we set out with the best intentions to tackle our self-imposed New Year’s resolutions. Some of the most popular? Break bad habits, lose weight, reduce stress and quit smoking. But what about your house? Maybe it deserves a list of its very own. We’re here to help, with these awesome home improvement New Year’s resolutions (your house will thank you).
- Reduce energy. Sure, turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat helps. But what about your HVAC ductwork? Ducts are huge energy-wasters if they’re not cleaned and maintained, as air can leak out through gaps, holes and loose connections. You can improve the efficiency of your cooling and heating system by up to 20% just by sealing and insulating your ductwork. This can translate to over $200 worth of savings per year, according to Energy Star. And even better, your home will feel more comfortable and you’ll extend the life of your heating and air conditioning system. For additional energy-saving ideas no matter what time of year, check out this Action Air post.
- Clean up your air. Did you know that the EPA considers indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards? That’s because it can be full of contaminants, like mold spores, pollen, dust and viruses. And it gets worse during winter, when windows and doors are shut and there is no fresh air circulation. Here’s what you can do to help:
- Maintain your HVAC systemand change furnace filters regularly.
- Use low-VOC paintswhen you remodel your rooms.
- Use localized ventilation in kitchens and bathroomsto remove cooking fumes, smoke, and excess humidity.
- Make sure ventilation systems exhaust air to the outside of your home, rather than your attic crawl space or between ceiling joists.
- In fireplaces and wood stoves, burn real firewoodrather than pressed wood products that may contain formaldehyde.
- Use a portable air cleaner to help cleanse the air in single rooms. Portable air cleaner types include mechanical air filters, electrostatic precipitators, ion generators, and ultraviolet lamps.
- Create a budget. It’s easy to overspend on the home improvement projects you’ve actually planned for, let alone on those that surprise you (like a new roof or when major appliances break). Creating a yearly budget for home improvement and maintenance helps prevent overspending, and encourages you to put aside money for major replacements. But where do you begin?
Start by reviewing what you spent last year. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the average annual maintenance and home improvement expenditures are around $3,300 per household. Lending professionals recommend planning on an average cost of yearly maintenance and upkeep to be 1-3% of your home’s initial price. For example, if your home is worth $250,000, then your annual budget should be between $2,500 and $7,500.
- Is your basement still the go-to place for clutter? Are your closets stuffed with ill-fitting clothes and old accessories that nobody wears? Clean out and donate all those items you don’t need or use, and create new storage space for what you keep. Shelves, containers and organizational systems are typically on sale this time of year, so take advantage. But plan before you buy, identify what items you need to store, and where you’ll want to store them. Invest in hooks, drawer organizers, cabinets or containers – anything that can provide proper space for your stuff. The less-cluttered your surroundings, the more you’ll enjoy your home.
- Reduce water usage. Did you know that the average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day? That’s a lot of water! You can lower your usage (and your water and sewer costs) by making some simple adjustments, like:
- Switch to low-flow showerheads that reduce the amount of flow without compromising pressure.
- If your toilet was purchased before 1994, then it’s a guzzler. Invest in high-efficiency toilets that can save up to 7 gallons per flush.
- Implement water-saving rules in your house, like shorter showers, sensible lawn-watering schedules, and water-friendly cleaning practices.
Need help? Not only will we provide regular maintenance for your heating and cooling system, we can clean your ducts and help you with energy efficiency and indoor air quality. Give us a call today at (317) 585-8981.