January 5, 2018 | Danielle Py-Salas

It’s that time of year again – New Year’s Resolutions…  “I am going to be better;” or “It’s going to be different.” We have all uttered these words each January 1 of each new year.  With a brand-new year, brimming with possibilities, let’s make these New Year’s Resolutions the ones that make it.  Here are a few home management goals for 2018.

1. Lose weight (cut energy use)
Why not gain some control by trimming energy use? Ducts and windows/doors are notorious energy-wasters, leaking your heating and cooling air through cracks, holes and loose connections.    Sealing and insulating your windows, doors and ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, according to Energy Star. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.

2. Quit smoking (purify indoor air)
The EPA lists indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards. That’s because indoor air is full of potential contaminants, such as dust, mold spores, pollen, and viruses. The problem is at its worst during winter, when windows and doors are shut tight.  You can eliminate these nasty irritants by regularly changing the filter on your heater (especially in the cold months); using low-VOC paints in your home; using localized ventilation systems in kitchens/bathrooms (make sure they exhaust air outside); burning real firewood in your fireplace, rather than pressed wood products that may have nasty toxins; and using a portable air purifier.

3. Get out of debt (budget for improvements)
Creating a yearly budget for home improvement and maintenance helps prevent overspending, and encourages you to put aside money for major replacements — such as new roofing or a kitchen appliance — that come up every few years.  Data from the U.S. Census Bureau says that average maintenance and home improvement expenditures are about $3,300 per household per year. However, other leading lending institutes suggests that one should anticipate upkeep to be about 1-3% of your home’s initial price.  Those dollars can add up, so make sure you set them aside now.

4. Drink less (curb home water use)
Did you know that the average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day?  Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products, could trim your annual water bill by hundreds of dollars. Some other helpful techniques include using Low-flow showerheads (they reduce the amount of flow yet keeps pressure up and cost anywhere from $10-$150 that you can install yourself); or you can replace your toilet with a low-flow toilet (high-efficiency or “HE” toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water, whereas older models required up to 8 gallons of water to flush).

5. Get fit (exercise your DIY skills)
Looking to trim a little of the old spare tire? Routine home maintenance and repair is a double win — you’ll burn calories while keeping your house in tip-top shape. Try these essential fix-ups and improvements and Get Fit:
•           Building a fence: 340 calories per hour
•           Caulking windows and doors: 280 calories per hour
•           Cleaning rain gutters: 272 calories per hour
•           Installing ceramic tile: 238 calories per hour
•           Interior painting: 136 calories per hour
•           Chopping firewood: 340 calories per hour
•           Mowing the lawn: 306 calories per hour
•           Planting shrubs: 238 calories per hour
•           General gardening: 204 calories per hour


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