Kickstart your 2015 with these five New Year’s resolutions to improve the health of your home.
The start of a new year always comes abound with promises and resolutions. And as you may know from firsthand experience, only about 8% of people who make annual promises actually achieve their January 1st goals and objectives. However, if you’re a homeowner, there may be some simple, yet invaluable DIY home improvement resolutions that you may have been neglecting.
Cut energy use
Ducts are notorious for consuming too much energy, so a good place to start cutting energy use is your HVAC ductwork.
According to Energy Star, insulating and sealing your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by 20%, saving you hundreds of dollars per year. Not only will this result in a more efficient system, insulating and sealing your ductwork will also make your home more comfortable and extend the life of your HVAC system.
As an added bonus, check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to see if you qualify for a rebate from your state or local municipality.
Purify indoor air
Did you know the EPA lists indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards? That’s right, folks! Indoor air is commonly polluted with dust, mold spores, pollen, viruses, and other potential contaminants.
And the indoor air quality is at its worst during the winter months, when windows and doors are shut tight. Eliminate lung irritants and harmful pollutants in your home by simply changing your air filters every month during peak heating and cooling seasons with only the best air filters.
Budget for improvements
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans households spend an average of $3,300 on maintenance and home improvement. Prevent overspending on your next home improvement projects by creating a 2015 budget for your DIY projects. Budgeting will also encourage you to set dollars aside for any unforeseen issues that arise during major projects.
Leading lending institutions place an average cost of annual home improvement projects at 1-3% of your home’s initial price. That means if your home was priced at $250,000, you should consider a budget between $2,500 to $7,500 each year for upkeep and replacements. Have some extra cash at the end of the year? Save it for more costly projects and items down the road — you’ll probably need it then.
Are you at your wit’s end looking for new storage solutions? Well, you probably have space that you didn’t even know you had! Put up a high shelf between the walls of a narrow hallway, and tuck storage in out-of-the-way nooks, such as under-stairs spaces and between wall studs.
If your small home is pinched for space, don’t despair – there’s still hope for you, yet. There are some pretty inventive and out-of-the-box solutions storage solutions. Shoe organizers can hold more than just shoes — store keys, notepads, or even use them for supplementary bathroom storage.
Curb home water use
Our houses are thirsty. The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products, could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could reach $300 or more per year.
Low-flow showerheads include technology that reduces the amount of flow yet keeps pressure up, resulting in shower streams that are powerful and satisfying. They cost from $10 to $150, and installation is an easy DIY job that takes only minutes.
Replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow toilet prevents $90 worth of water costs from being flushed away. HE (high-efficiency) toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water; older models required up to 8 gallons.
Of course, water leaks can be a huge source of waste! Consider installing a Wally sensor near appliances that hook up to your plumbing to catch leaks before they waste water and damage your property.