New Year’s is a time of making resolutions and looking towards the future. Some of these goals are personal, like becoming more physically fit through diet and exercise, and others are more global, such as going green by installing LED home lights. The beginning of a new year is also an excellent opportunity to take care of some regular home maintenance issues that can become neglected or forgotten. Whenever you choose to take care of these simple but essential tasks, you will be benefiting your home and family.
1. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. While there is a fire safety prevention week, most people do not think to change the batteries in their fire and carbon monoxide detectors until that annoying warning signal is blaring through their home. Once a year, you should replace the batteries and make sure your alarms are functional. Be sure to dispose of batteries safely by taking them to you city’s hazardous waste disposal center. If you have an older version of a fire alarm that does not detect carbon monoxide, take the opportunity to upgrade to a newer model. In fact, it is recommended that smoke alarms be replaced every 10 years.
2. Replace bulbs throughout your home. First and foremost, any non-functional light bulb should be replaced and provides an excellent opportunity to switch over to LED home lights. This would also be a good time to go green and replace your incandescent and CFL light bulbs with LEDs. Since LED light bulbs provide over 50,000 hours of light, depending on usage, it should be 10 years or more before you have to think about replacing your light bulbs again.
3. Examine your door and window locks. Whether it is a broken window lock in your basement or a sticky door lock in need of some graphite, check each of your doors and windows to make sure they are secure and properly functioning. Replace broken locks, apply graphite powder to sticky ones, and if you notice any air leaks, eliminate those costly drafts with weather stripping, caulking, or foam.
4. Inspect your faucets and toilets. Leaky faucets and running toilets are wasteful and costly. You may not realize how much you are paying for incremental, unnecessary water usage. Usually, these require a simple and quick fix that you can do yourself with the right supplies from the hardware store. Do your research before making the repairs, and once your faucets and toilets are no longer wasting water, you will see a significant decrease in your water bill.
5. Sort through your household cleaners. While most of us discard and replace expired food, oftentimes we forget to check our household cleaning supplies. If they look discolored, murky, or smell funny, it is time to eliminate them from your household. Dispose of any toxic substances safely by taking them to your city’s waste disposal center instead of throwing them in the trash. When replacing them, look for environmentally friendly, non-toxic replacements. There are several household cleaners on the market that are green and as effective, if not more so, than their more chemically hazardous counterparts.