With 2019 almost upon us, our Marin home builders are excited to welcome a new year in beautiful Northern California. With the beginning of each year, we are encouraged to reflect on the last, learn the lessons it taught, and implement positive change in our lives and homes. While change can take place on many levels, we personally have a passion for change that, quite literally, takes place close to home, where the most living, loving, and memories occur. Improve the quality of your own home this year by implementing some of these practical steps.
- Cut energy use – Start by having your HVAC ductwork checked for air leakage through holes or loose connections. Simply by resealing and insulating your ductwork you can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by up to 20% every year, not to mention extending the life of your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump. Seal seams, holes, and connections with duct sealant or metal-backed tape, paying extra attention to vents and floor registers where leaks are most likely to occur. After sealing ducts, wrap them securely with fiberglass insulation.
- Purify indoor air – Listed as one of the top environmental health hazards by the EPA, indoor air exposes us to levels of lead, formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, and volatile chemicals used in conventional cleaners. In addition, you’ll commonly find dust mites, mold, and pet dander irritants. Limit these airborne pollutants by changing your furnace filters regularly, using localized ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms, painting with low-VOC paints, and burning real firewood—rather than pressed wood products—in fireplaces and wood stoves. Clean your floors regularly and thoroughly, preferably with a vacuum that contains an HEPA filter, strong suction, and rotating brushes. Keep large mats by every door, and use microfiber mops to pick up any dust left behind from vacuuming. To discourage mites and mold, keep humidity levels relatively low by (1) using an exhaust fan or opening a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing, (2) avoiding overwatering plants, (3) venting the clothes dryer to the outdoors, (4) fixing leaky plumbing, (5) emptying drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier, and (6) by purchasing an air dehumidifier.
- Update home safety features – Once you’ve taken steps to limit the amount of pollutants and chemicals in your home, make you’ve installed safety features that alert you of dangerous levels. First, test your home’s radon levels. Colorless, odorless, and deadly, radon gas causes up to 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year and is present in elevated levels in one out of every fifteen homes. Plan on purchasing a testing kit from your local hardware store. Equally as important, make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector, as well as a fire detector, on every bedroom floor. Even more deadly than radon, carbon monoxide is undetectable and can lead to death or permanent health damage. Limit your risk by having furnaces and water heaters checked for leaks, and by having your chimney regularly swept.
- Reduce water use – It’s no secret that California’s water supply has drastically fluctuated in recent years. With a limited supply and a greater demand due to the unprecedented incidence of wildfire, Californians are more aware of water consumption than ever before. With each household consuming an average of 400 gallons of water each day, it’s clear that conservation must begin in our own homes. Consider limiting your usage this new year by installing low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, and a more efficient clothes washer. Try re-using greywater from the laundry or conserved dishwater on your garden, and consider re-plumbing your toilet to use rainwater for flushing. Carefully check water taps, sprinklers, and hoses for leaks and promptly address any you find.
Interested in improving your home through a remodel, or ready to start construction on your custom dream home? Browse through our recent projects and see some of the beautiful custom homes we have developed in Northern California, or contact us today to learn more about our fine home building process at Annadel Builders, Inc.