By Bill Primavera – The beginning of a new year is the very best time to make resolutions for improvements around the house. To our aid comes House Logic, the online communications arm of the National Association of Realtors, which has done something really cute by relating the most popular personal resolutions to home-related issues.
I present a selected list of them here, followed by my recommendations of suppliers I’ve called upon for many years when I couldn’t do certain jobs by myself.
Here’s hoping 2017 will be your most productive year around the house ever! Are any of the following resolutions on your list of to-dos?
- Lose weight! (In house talk, cut energy use) A good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy wasters, leaking heating and cooling air through holes and loose connections.
Sealing and insulating ductwork can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems by as much as 20 percent, according to Energy Star. Not only will a home be more comfortable, but a more efficient system extends the life of a furnace, air conditioner or heat pump.
- Quit smoking. (Purify indoor air) The EPA lists indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards. Indoor air is full of potential contaminants, such as dust, mold spores, pollen and viruses, and the problem is at its worst during winter when windows and doors are shut tight. You can help eliminate harmful lung irritants in the home by maintaining your HVAC system and changing furnace filters regularly.
- Get out of debt. (Budget for improvements) Creating an annual budget for home improvement and maintenance helps prevent overspending and encourages the creation of a fund for major replacements, such as new roofing.
- Learn something new. (Educate yourself on home finances) Learning how to improve your insurance score can help keep your home insurance premiums from escalating. Letting credit card debt build up is a black mark on a homeowner’s credit history and an indicator that an insurance claim is likely to be filed. The more claims, the lower the insurance score, which means higher rates for home insurance.
- Get organized. (De-clutter!) There’s no better time than the new year to pare down and create more storage space creatively, such as under stair spaces and even between wall studs.
- Drink less. (Curb home water use) The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day. Making a few simple changes could trim your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could be increased significantly.
Low-flow showerheads include technology that reduces the amount of flow yet keeps pressure up, resulting in shower streams that are powerful and satisfying. High efficiency toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than one gallon of water; older models required up to eight gallons.
- Get fit. (Exercise your DIY skills) Routine home maintenance burns calories while keeping your house in tip-top shape.
- Be less stressed. (Use maintenance-free materials) Install low-maintenance materials and products inside and out, designed for durability and long, trouble-free service. Vinyl or fiberboard siding on the outside and LED bulbs on the inside go a long way to easing maintenance stress.
When it comes time to rely on resources other than your own in meeting your home’s New Year’s resolutions, here is a list of suppliers I have used for many years and recommend highly in their respective fields.
Architect: David Tetro, 914-962-3113.
Cabinetry and Woodworking: Woodtronics, 914-962-5205.
Contractor: Franzoso Contracting, 914-271-4572.
Electrician: P and K, Electrical Contractors (Peter and Kenneth Simone), 914-962-3581.
Fencing: Campanella Fencing (Tony Campanella), 845-628-2200.
Flooring: The Flooring Girl (Debbie Gartner), 914-937-2950.
Interior Designer/Stager: Susan Atwell, 914-525-0454.
Landscaper/Snow Removal: Fitz’s Landscaping (John Fitzpatrick), 914-618-1549.
Mover: Advantage Movers, 800-444-0104.
Painter: Joe Pascarelli, 914-330-3889.
Plumber: Goldberg Plumbing, 914-962-3498.
Rug Cleaning: Spotless Cleaning Systems, 845-225-6449.
Here’s wishing you a happy New Year, full of satisfying projects to keep your home in top and welcoming shape.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.