3 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

As we approach the New Year, many Redwood City residents as well as those all around the Silicon Valley will be making personal resolutions to drop a few pounds, eat healthier, learn a new skill or hobby, or save money. This secular goal-setting tradition is one that can also benefit your Redwood City home and your family.

3 recommended resolutions for your home:

1. Streamline the stuff

Clearing out clutter is hands-down one of the best and least expensive ways to improve your living space.

Over time, we tend to acquire ‘stuff’. Drawers, cabinets, and closets can quickly become disorderly, making it difficult to locate important items. Periodic purging of the unwanted and unneeded saves time and energy as well as keeps your home looking clean and crisp.

Make a resolution to go room-by-room, clearing out clothing that you never wear and things that are unused or non-functioning. It’s the perfect time to donate and take advantage of the tax write-off. Make an on-going habit of seriously considering what you bring into your home. Do you really need it? Do you have something similar already? How often will it be used? This will help keep your stuff streamlined year-round.

2. Resolve to be safe and sound

There are a number of things that homeowner should do to ensure that they’re not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk.

– Check for Radon Gas

Radon gas is emitted from the earth as uranium in rocks and soil naturally decompose. When it seeps inside via cracks in foundations and other entry points and remains trapped indoors, radon becomes a serious health concern. On average, one in every fifteen homes has elevated levels of radon, the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers (#2 among those who do smoke). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 deaths annually as a result of inhaled radioactive particles. Test kits cost as little as $20 and are available online and at local hardware stores. More information about radon testing and resolution is available on the EPA website.

– Install CO2 Detectors

In addition to smoke detectors, it is crucial to install carbon monoxide sensors on every floor of your home, especially near bedrooms. Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous vapor that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide detectors sound an alert before CO2 reaches an unsafe level. Like a radon test, detectors are a small investment for such a vital precaution.

– Remove Lint from Vents and Ducts

We know you clean the lint trap inside the dryer door, but most people are unaware that vents and ducts behind the dryer also collect lint and build up significantly over time. Lint may seem innocuous, but it’s highly combustible. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, dryer lint accounts for more than 15,000 building fires a year.

– Properly Ventilate

Make sure your house is properly vented as mold thrives in damp environments. Often, bathrooms and attics aren’t externally vented (or the vents have been covered by shingles). Assess areas in your house that have or need venting to ensure moisture is able to escape.

– Test for Lead & Asbestos

If your home was built or remodeled before 1978, consider testing for lead paint and asbestos. Lead-based paint that is peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp is dangerous and requires urgent attention.

The mere presence of asbestos isn’t hazardous, but, like lead paint, as materials containing the compound degrade or are damaged over time, they release fibers that are a definite health hazard. Both asbestos and lead will have to properly handled during removal, or particles can be released into the air.

3. Use Less Energy

You don’t need to invest in a hybrid car or solar panels to get on the green bandwagon. Instead, implement a few of the suggestions for reducing your energy consumption and saving a few dollars.

  • Switch off lights when leaving a room (or install motion sensors)
  • Turn off your air conditioner and heater when you leave the house and turn central heating to 55 degrees while sleeping.
  • Install compact fluorescent or LED bulbs and low-flow shower heads.
  • Dry clothing on a line when possible.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full.
  • Set home computers to revert to sleep mode when not being used.
  • Water your yard less. Replace thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping. Install a targeted drip irrigation system rather than using typical sprinklers.

Implementing these three resolutions will make your home more organized, safe, and help reduce your carbon footprint.