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Archive for Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Year’s resolutions focus on the home

December 18, 2007

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Unlike traditional New Year's resolutions that are typically started cold turkey on Jan. 1, the following goals for your home can consist of a doable list that you will work to accomplish throughout the year.

They consist of five general tasks - in order of importance - that we believe apply to most homes and that you should consider before starting your dream bath or gourmet kitchen.

Safety

The best "home" resolution that you can make in the New Year is to make your home safer for yourself and your family. Check to make sure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and in good working order. Test them regularly. Check major appliances for proper operation. Fuel-burning appliances should be properly vented to the exterior and gas connections should be checked for leaks. Make sure that your electrical system is safe and in good working order. Flickering lights, burned fuses and popping breakers are signs of a problem.

Preventive maintenance

One of the best things that you can do for your budget in the New Year is to prevent small maintenance projects from becoming BIG repair nightmares with bills to match. Repairing a leaking roof, sealing gaps in siding, painting bare wood, replacing damaged decking, patching cracks in concrete, caulking around sinks, tubs and showers and other preventive maintenance tasks will keep your home in tip top shape and save you lots of money in the long run.

Conserve energy

Whether you're worried about utility bills or the environment, this is a resolution for everyone's list. Some energy conserving upgrades to consider: install a programmable thermostat; replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting; prevent drafts with weather stripping around doors and windows; install low-flow shower heads and aerators; fix leaking faucets; install Energy Star appliances; install energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment; upgrade insulation, and install replacement windows.

Go green

It's never been easier to be green when it comes to your home. Environmentally friendly building products and materials are available for virtually every category - windows, doors, siding, decking, fencing, roofing, lumber, flooring and insulation, to name a few. Think "green" the next time you make a home improvement purchase. Chances are the material will last longer.

Improve comfort

Your home should be a refuge from the stress of work and the world. We suggest that you resolve to make your home as comfortable as you can for you and your family. This can include adding comfy couches and seating; using a splash of color here and there with paint, fabric or flooring; getting rid of clutter and opening up the space in your home; allowing in more natural light with updated window treatments; and organizing closets and storage.

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