There’s no better time than the new year to improve yourself and in this article we give you the top SIX resolutions you can make for your home in 2016.
6. Cut energy use
Save the planet and save your bills by cutting down on your HVAC home energy use. You could save $200 or more per year by ensuring that your ductwork is properly sealed and insulated. Because ducts can be hidden inside crawl spaces, walls, ceilings and attics, it could be a time-consuming job, so if you can’t reach all ducts, focus on the ones that are most accessible. Insulating your ductwork might qualify for a rebate from your state or local government – you can check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
5. Purify indoor air
Poor indoor air quality is one of the biggest environmental health hazards, according to the EPA. Indoor air is full of contaminants, such as dust, mold spores, pollen, and viruses. The problem is at its worst during the winter, when door and windows stay shut.
Be sure to change your air filters regularly – certain filters need more frequent changing than others so be sure to consult with your HVAC specialist. In fireplaces and wood stoves, do not burn pressed wood products that contain formaldehyde – instead use real firewood.
4. Budget for improvements
Making sure that you create an annual budget for home maintenance and improvement will help prevent overspending and encourage you to set aside money for major replacements like appliances or roofing, that come up every few years.
The US Census Bureau estimates that home maintenance costs average about $3,300 a year per household so ensuring that you set aside money on either a monthly or annual basis is important for those more costly upkeep and replacement items that may appear down the road.
3. Get educated on home finances
Learning how to improve your insurance score can help you keep your home insurance premiums from getting to high. Making sure that credit card debt doesn’t get out of control will lower your credit history and appear as an indicator that you’re likely to file an insurance claim – making you appear as a higher risk. Keep payments up-to-date on loans – if you miss payment deadlines, notify your lender that your payment is forthcoming.
2. Get organized – de-clutter!
Stop making excuses! That clutter has got to go!
Start by creating more storage space so you can stash stuff easily. Out of ideas for storage space? You probably have storage solutions hidden in front of you. 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 room for storage. Shoe organizers ($20) do more than hold shoes – use them to store keys, notepads, and cell phones. At about $300 per drawer, have a cabinetmaker install drawers in the toe kicks of your kitchen cabinets for napkins, cookie sheets, and appliance manuals.
1. Curb home water use
The average home 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. 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.