New Year’s resolutions may not last past the first month of the new year, but there are some resolutions for your home that will improve your livelihood throughout the year. Here are five easy steps you can take to make your home a healthier environment and reduce your energy costs.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air is one of the top health hazards. Smoking tobacco is an obvious contributor, but not the only one by far. Dirty carpets, water damage and clogged HVAC filters all add allergens, mold spores and dust to the indoor air. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are also released into the air from furniture glue, paint and other things. All together, these can cause headaches, respiratory diseases, asthma and even cancer. You can make a resolution to clean your carpets and HVAC filters regularly, have any damp areas cleaned by a professional, use only environmentally friendly paints and, if possible, quit smoking.
Seal the Leaks
A lot of warm or cool air leaks away through holes and loose connections in HVAC ductwork. These ducts are usually in hard to access places, but worth the effort to seal the leaks. You will find them inside walls, above the ceiling and in crawl spaces. If you plan to do the job yourself, be sure to use duct sealant tape or mastic tape and not duct tape, which isn’t strong enough to last very long.
Use Less Water
You can save a lot on energy bills by reducing the amount of water you use. You can make a regular toilet into a low-flow toilet by adding a brick or water bottle filled with sand with the top replaced in the tank. When you shower, turn off the water while you soap up and turn it back on when you are ready to rinse. This alone will save gallons per day.
Remove Useless Items
If you haven’t used or needed something in the past year that you have stored away, there is a good possibility you can get rid of it. Why be squeezed for space while you hang on to useless items. Either give them to someone who can use them, give them for recycling or throw them away. You won’t believe how nice the extra space will feel.
Spend on Your Home
Make a resolution to upgrade any areas in your home that need it. Regular maintenance takes initial expense, but this can be minimized if you DIY. You can also use maintenance-free materials such as fiber-cement siding, LED bulbs and ceramic tiles that will help reduce the amount of time you spend on upkeep. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, the money spent contributes to the resale value of your home. If you never plan to move, it makes your house look beautiful.
When you give a little attention to your home, you are rewarded in many ways. Not only can your energy bills be reduced, but your house will look more attractive and be more inviting to friends and family.