5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your New Home
Congrats, you made it to 2017! That means it’s a new year for a new you. And whether you’re moving into a new home or you just want to make the old one feel new again, these 5 resolutions will help get your home in shape – no matter what the future may bring.
#1) Make Your Home Smarter
Every day, our devices are getting smarter. And the communication of information via the “Internet of Things” (IoT) creates opportunities for us, as humans, to integrate more directly with the computer-based systems in our homes. This results in a whole host of benefits by automating and streamlining our everyday activities, such as simpler living and lower living expenses.
“45% of Americans who installed smart products in their homes averaged savings of over $1,100 a year.”
According to a 2015 survey conducted by CNET and Coldwell Banker, 45% of Americans who have installed smart products in their homes – such as a Nest thermostat, an August lock, or a Lutron lighting kit – averaged a savings of over $1,100 a year on their bills. Plus, after the initial investment, you’ll save that much money every single year for the entire life of the smart device. And with the popularity and usefulness of smart devices ever increasing, experts estimate that the IoT will continually expand to consist of almost 50 billion smart products by 2020.
One of the most well-known smart devices on the market today is the smart thermostat, and it serves as a great example of all the ways that smart devices can enhance your home.
- It lowers your energy bill effortlessly.
- A smart thermostat can cut your energy bill down drastically by adjusting itself when you’re away or sleeping.
- It lets you control your comfort from anywhere.
- Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can change the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world, making saving even smarter and more convenient.
- It learns your preferences automatically.
- Smart thermostats gradually learn what temperatures you like and begin to build climate control schedules around your preferences, adapting to your life and the changing seasons.
- It senses (and predicts) every change in climate.
- Since they’re connected to the Internet, smart thermostats monitor the weather and know what changes in humidity, temperature, and precipitation are to come. And then they adjust accordingly.
#2) Shrink Your Energy Consumption
According to the Alliance to Save Energy, for every 1 degree you lower the thermostat, you save about 3% on heating and cooling costs. And considering that heating and cooling your home makes up more than 25% of its entire electricity consumption, this single and simple change can save you hundreds of dollars every year. So be wiser about keeping your house at a moderate temperature, especially when you’re away.
And to keep those monthly energy bills even more in check, a good place to start is with your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy wasters, leaking your heated and cooled air through holes and loose connections in your home. In fact, sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20% according to Energy Star, saving you $200 or more per year. On top of that, change your A/C and furnace filters regularly, even every month during peak heating and cooling seasons.
Beyond the HVAC system, you can also upgrade your light bulbs. Humans have since figured out how to be brighter about artificial lights than the incandescent lightbulb of old. And today, you have two better options: CFLs and LEDs. Compared to incandescent bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs use about 75% less energy and last about ten times longer. Meanwhile, Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs cut energy use by more than 80% and last more than 25 times longer. And while they do cost more upfront (between $8-$40 per bulb), you end up saving far more than that in the long run.
And, lastly, you can also be wiser about your water usage. The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, spending almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products – such as low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets – could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. And the installations are often DIY jobs that take only a few minutes.
#3) Keep a Cleaner House
One of the best ways to begin any new year is to declutter and get organized. Each year, most of us acquire a mountain of stuff, and without some regular purging, our cabinets and drawers are already jam-packed. This makes it hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. So, gather unused appliances, clothes, furniture, and other items from your home and host a yard sale.
And once you’re done, give everything that’s left an assigned home within your home and make sure it gets there every night. As time goes on, refuse to buy anything unless you have a specific need or place for it. All of the decluttering in the world can’t make up for simply bringing less stuff into your house. So choose to start a new habit of spending more mindfully this year.
When it comes to cleaning your home, experts advise cleaning from high (light fixtures) to low (floors) and focusing on one task at a time (washing windows, then wiping counters, then mopping). Three big areas to keep in mind that many folks neglect are their ceiling fans, their carpets, and their own air.
- Dust Your Ceiling Fans
- Chances are really good that you’ve got a bunch of disgusting dust built up on the edges of each fan blade. And if your fan is right above your kitchen table, think about how tasty it’d be to have that fall right atop your spaghetti. (Yum!) As you’re cleaning it, just be sure to trap the dust and other grossness so you don’t breathe it in and kick start that winter cold.
- Steam Clean Your Carpets
- It’s time to finally be rid of that big ole stain you covered up with a coffee table months ago. You can hire a company to come in and handle the whole thing, or you can rent a steam cleaner for an afternoon from your nearby grocery or home improvement store. They’re easy to use, and you’ll be surprised by how gross and dingy your carpets have grown from just regular, everyday use.
- Purify Your Indoor Air
- Indoor air pollutants have been ranked as one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health. That’s because our stagnant indoor environments allow these pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than humans should ever be breathing in. One great way to be rid of them is to use air purifiers with HEPA filters. Another one is to use indoor plants to your advantage. Certain plants – like the Garden Mum, Ficus, Fern, and Bamboo – are naturally great at filtering out indoor air. They remove nasty, disease-causing chemicals and pollutants – such as formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia – from your home’s air.
#4) Update Your Internet and TV Plans
You want to watch all your favorite shows. The TV networks want you to watch all your favorite shows. The TV provider companies want to provide you with all those shows and keep everyone happy. And, hypothetically, anyone who has digital TV can get (nearly) every TV channel ever – if they’re willing to pay for it.
But, since most folks don’t want every TV channel ever – nor will they ever even attempt to watch them all – TV providers offer their customers various TV packages that are more economical. And to deliver the TV signal directly to you, your TV provider of choice filters certain digital channels and features into your home for your enjoyment, all based upon the TV package you choose and pay for. So, for you to get the best deal possible on TV, it’s a good idea to let our experts help you make sense of the countless options available to you.
On top of your TV service, do you ever feel like your Internet service isn’t keeping pace with the speed of your life? With nearly everything moving online these days, more and more folks are finding that their current Internet speed just isn’t enough. And right after they realize this, the question then quickly becomes, “well, then how fast should my Internet be?”
If you’ve got a lot to do online, then the last thing you need is a connection that can’t handle the demand of all your clicks. But, on the flipside, you don’t want to be shelling out hundreds of dollars a month either for home utilities you rarely use. So, let Allconnect can help you get all the Internet speed you really need, for a deal that’s right for your wallet.
#5) Be Sure It’s All Secure
According to the latest crime statistics from the FBI, 1 in 6 American homes have been burglarized. In fact, a burglar commits a break-in every 12 seconds in the United States, and those homes without alarm systems are nearly 3 times more likely to become targets.
One great way to prevent this is by using a smart lock to upgrade your home’s security. And these smart devices become even better when used in tandem with a monitored home security system. These keep a kind eye out for potential burglaries, as well as home fires – using smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors to keep you and your family safe. These inexpensive fire-prevention devices have saved countless lives since their inventions, and as they grow smarter – and more self-reliant – they provide our homes even greater benefits and security.
So this New Year, make a few new resolutions on behalf of your home. Implement any of the 5 resolutions above to make your life easier, your home healthier, and your family happier. Soon, you’ll have the house running efficiently – saving yourself time, energy, and money – so you can get back to what’s really important – spending time this year with the friends and family you love.