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6 Home Improvement Resolutions Every New Homeowner Should Make

cleaning a fireplace

Hit the gym more. Spend less time looking at your phone. Both are worthy resolutions, but what about resolutions for your new house? You know: those nagging items you or the inspector found before you bought the house but you haven’t fixed yet.

Here’s 6 home improvement resolutions that should top your to-do list this year.

1. Save your Sump Pump

Every time you hear the noisy sump pump you make a mental note to get it fixed—and never do. Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Neighborly Company, advises not waiting any longer. Most homeowners rarely think about their sump pump until it’s needed, and not working.

In addition to noise, odors near the sump pump indicate something is wrong. “Foul smells or excess humidity around the sump pump pit indicate the pump is not working properly, or has been installed incorrectly,” says James. A sump pump running non-stop—or one that is allowing rising water levels in the basement—is a clear sign that it needs to be fixed or replaced right away.

2. Plug your Pipes

 Groaning and bubbling noises from the toilet or a leaky faucet and showerhead are indicators of a problem that could escalate, causing expensive repairs or damage when they’re overlooked. “A small leak that’s not caught promptly can lead to structural damage, mold, discoloration and warping,” says James. Higher-than-usual water bills are also an indicator something is amiss. According to the EPA, fixing your leaks could save up ten percent on your water bill.

3. Save your Circuits

You jokingly said your new house was haunted when the lights flickered, but chances are it’s a problem more serious than ghosts. Keith Pinkerton, owner of Mr. Electric, a Neighborly Company in Alabama says overloaded electrical circuits have noticeable signs like sizzling and buzzing noises from receptacles, dimming lights, blown fuses and warm or discolored wall plates. And if you get a shock after touching an appliance or smell a burning odor from a receptacle, don’t ignore it, call an electrician pronto.

4. Stop your GFCI From Trippin’

 The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is an electrical safety device that trips electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. Pinkerton says when the GFCI stays on and trips off when the test button is pressed, a new one is probably needed. They protect you from deadly shock by shutting down the power to the circuit, so it’s imperative you get your GFCI fixed ASAP.

5. Clean your Chimney, Fireplace and Vents

A woodburning fireplace was on your wishlist when you searched for a new home, but the previous owners haven’t used it in years. Since it hasn’t been used much, it’s probably fine, right? Not necessarily. Robert Boudreau, InterNACHI-Certified Home Inspector, Metro-West Appraisal and Home Inspections, says a build-up of creosote could be layering the chimney and flue which can lead to chimney fires and house fires. If you didn’t have a house inspection before move-in day, get one before you strike the first match. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys, fireplaces, and vents be inspected at least once per year.

6. Show your Windows some Love

Frosty build-up on the inside of your windows and chilly drafts means it’s time to repair or replace your windows. “As structures shift and settle over time— insulation, caulking, and other protective materials slowly lose their protective powers. Older homes may leak air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter,” says Larry Patterson, franchise owner of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly Company. According to the EPA that adds up to 25 to 30 percent of heat gain and heat loss. When your windows aren’t energy efficient, money is literally going out the window.


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