The New Year is a time for fresh starts and exciting beginnings. You have probably already started thinking about some of the personal changes you would like to make – perhaps you would like to get in better physical shape or read more books. There are a few resolutions that, as a homeowner, you should make your top priority. Check out this list of four things you should set out to accomplish over the next 12 months.
1. Decrease energy use
Your first resolution should definitely be to cut the amount of energy your house uses for heating and cooling. HouseLogic recommends sealing your ductwork – this simple step can reduce the amount of air that leaks through small holes or insecure connections. You can do this yourself or with the help of a professional to save around $200 every year in heating and cooling costs. If you choose to take on this project yourself, the source suggests using a sealant called mastic to further patch holes, duct connections and seams. Once you have applied this, wrap the ducts in fiberglass insulation.
Another way you can reduce energy use is by employing an alternative to your home's central cooling and heating systems. Try using room fans or box fans on days when freezing cold air conditioners are not necessary. Instead of cranking the thermostat all the way up when the temperature drops, try using space heaters to warm up only the area you are spending time in – by not heating unoccupied rooms, you are saving money and cutting energy use significantly.
2. Increase your mortgage payments
Making those monthly payments a little bigger will pay off in the long run. According to Coldwell Banker, making the equivalent of one extra payment per year can take as much as five years and $31,000 in interest rates off of your overall mortgage. Spending a little extra now can save you a lot in the long run.
3. Improve air quality
HouseLogic reports that indoor air is one of the biggest environmental health hazards, mostly due to things like mold, dust, viruses and pollen. To improve the quality of your home's air, consider using air purifiers with HEPA filters. These are the most effective type of purifiers, stopping pollutants and toxic elements in their tracks.
The source also suggests improving air quality by only burning real wood in your fireplace – pressed wood products often contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. When burned, these products can release toxic chemicals into the air. Additionally, make it a priority to check your home's ventilation systems – be sure the air is being sent outdoors and not just released into your attic or ceiling joists.
4. Think ahead
Take a look at your living situation and make some goals for the future. If you want to remain in your current home for years to come, consider what needs to be done to make it comfortable for the long run. Does it need any major renovations? Have you always dreamed of building a back porch or expanding the kitchen? Look into costs and see when you could make these dreams a reality.
If you think you may want to move in the near future, now is a good time to assess your financial situation. Bankrate suggests checking your credit score – if it is less than ideal, make improving that a top priority. Figure out what basic renovations your house will need to stand out in a competitive market and make those changes now.
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