New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home
It’s that time of year again – time to make your New Year’s resolutions. While New Year’s resolutions usually focus on self-improvement, there’s nothing saying that your resolutions can’t be about home improvement and money-saving as well. In fact, it’s the perfect time to put together that to-do list of things that you’ve been meaning to get to. Here are some suggestions for New Year’s home resolutions:
Go green – This year’s colour is green. For a greener lifestyle, separate your garbage and recycle whenever you can. If you can, invest in a composter and a rain barrel. Instead of throwing out unwanted items, why not sell them or donate them to a charitable organization for reuse.
Check your smoke detectors – Most homes have smoke alarms, but a lot of them are not in working order. When was the last time your checked yours? According to a poll conducted for the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, 55% of Canadians have tampered with their smoke detectors, or removed the batteries altogether. Even worse, 51% have forgotten to put them back. A surprising 40% didn’t realize that smoke detectors don’t last forever and that they should be replaced every 10 years. A smoke detector could be the difference between life and death.
Install a home security system – It’s a fact, home break-ins occur every 90 seconds in Canada, and the police’s average response time is 1 to 4 hours. This leaves the burglar with plenty of time to clear out the house – especially if you don’t have a security system. Earlier this year, we took a closer look at home security systems and found that the alarm itself wasn’t a deterrent; the threat of the alarm was. We concluded that it didn’t really matter how much you spent on your alarm system, as long as you have one. It is important, however, that you choose a company that is recognizable.
Make those home improvements – Most of us have one hanging on the fridge; that home improvement to-do list that just seems to get longer and longer every year. Make this year’s goal to scratch most of that list off, especially the ones that raise the value of your home while cutting back on monthly costs.
Plan ahead, that way you’ll be one step ahead of seasonal prices, and potentially save a bundle. For example, why not buy energy efficient windows in the offseason, rather than right before cold of winter sets in? According to Natural Resources Canada, Energy Star-qualified windows and doors can save you up to 12% on heating and cooling bills. They say that heating and cooling your home accounts for about 60% (approximately $1203) of your energy costs. A 12% savings means another $129.84 in the bank each year.
Switch to high-efficiency appliances and systems – Those old appliances are sucking up a lot of energy, and draining your wallet in the process. According to Scotiabank’s Ecoliving site, here’s what you could save by upgrading to energy efficient appliances and systems.
- Tankless water heaters use 30% less energy for an average annual savings of $120.30.
- DWHR (drain water heat recovery) systems save 30-40% of water heating costs for an average savings of $160.40 each year.
- A greywater system saves you 33% (toilets use 33% of a home’s water) for a savings of $83.58 per year.
- Water efficient toilets can save you anywhere between $68.16-$83.15 per year, depending on the number of liters used per flush.
- Air sealing can save 20% on heating and cooling bills, or an average of $240.60 annually.
- Upgrade your insulation and you could save 10% of your total energy costs for an average of $200.50 per year.
- With an upgraded thermostat you could save an additional 10-15%, or $108.20 per year.
- An ETS, or electric thermal storage system, could save you 30% on your heating costs. A 30% savings amounts to $324.60.
- An Energy Star air conditioner is 20% more efficient than most standard models. Installing one could save you $24 per year.
- On average, old furnaces are 70% efficient. A unit that is 94% efficient consumes about $896 worth of fuel. The newer model saves you $307 annually.
And that’s just water and heat. Find out how much you could be saving by upgrading your major appliances and changing your landscaping on the Natural Resource Canada site.
Practice being energy efficient – Why not practice being more energy efficient and cut costs further, especially now that you have all those new energy efficient appliances? Make it your resolution to turn off unnecessary lights, close open windows and shut down computers and televisions when they aren’t in use. For more ideas, see Natural Resource Canada’s tips on saving energy in your home.
Keep up with maintenance and repairs – Finally, make it your resolution to keep your home in good shape. It is likely, after all, your biggest investment. Make sure not to neglect regular maintenance and repairs. It could cost you more in the long run.
Good luck with this year’s resolutions, and Happy New Year!