5 Home Improvement New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

Note pad with a hand writing down 2021 goals

A new year brings a fresh start, but you have to put in the work to see real changes. Your old home still needs maintenance, so if you haven’t planned your 2021 new year’s resolutions, tackle our checklist. 

1. Give Your Home a Check-Up

First, look around your house and make sure everything is operating smoothly. Top your new year’s resolutions with a check-up on the basic systems that keep you warm, comfortable and functional.

Air conditioners outside a yellow home.
Your air conditioner and furnace need annual check-ups to run at optimal efficiency. (DepositPhotos)

Keep your furnace and air conditioner in working order by hiring HVAC technicians to give them annual checkups.

In addition, remember that vents collect dust and debris over time, which makes your HVAC system work harder and reduces its efficiency. So it’s important to replace your filters to avoid any buildup.

Rustic fireplace with shiplap surround
A professional inspection is a must before you start using your fireplace.

Next, make sure your fireplace will be in top shape for the rest of winter. Hire a certified chimney sweep now to prevent big problems later. And remember: It’s important to practice fireplace safety no matter what kind of fireplace you have.

You’ll also need to check your home’s water meter for any plumbing leaks.
Here’s how to go about it:

Turn Off All Water: First, make sure there isn’t any water being used inside or outside your home. This includes lawn or garden irrigation, toilets, clothes washers, dishwashers, faucets, icemakers and automatic backflow cleaning in whole house water filters.

Check Flow Indicator: Open the cover on the water meter at the street to see if it has a flow indicator. This is a small rotating wheel on the meter that can detect even small amounts of water flow. If the flow indicator is moving, you have a leak somewhere in your house or yard.

Learn more: How to Read a Water Meter

Toilet with plant decoration on top of the tank
A leaking toilet is more than annoying. It can eventually cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Check your toilets for any leaks. There are two ways to do this:

Toilet Leak Test #1: Remove the tank lid, and pour a small amount of food coloring in the tank to color the water in the tank. If colored water appears in the bowl without flushing the toilet, you have a leak between the tank and bowl.

Toilet Leak Test #2: Turn the water to the toilet off at the shutoff valve. Remove the lid to the tank and note or mark the water level in the tank.
Wait several hours without flushing the toilet, then check the water level in the tank. If the water level is lower, there’s a leak between the tank and bowl.

2. Save Energy, Save Money

Danny Lipford with attic insulation
Danny Lipford stresses the importance of attic insulation.

Many people add “save money” to their list of new year’s resolutions. Well, there are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lower your utility bills.

Insulation: Depending on your climate and the type of insulation used, your attic should have from 12 to 16 inches of insulation (R-38 to R-49). Common types of insulation include batts, rolls or blown-in fiberglass or cellulose, as well as mineral wool and sprayed foam insulation.

Home Energy Audit: Have an energy audit conducted to identify problem areas in your home. These could include leaky ductwork, worn weather stripping around windows and doors, and lack of insulation.

Water Heater: Consider replacing your existing water heater with either a tankless, solar, heat pump or high-efficiency water heater.

Windows: Older, single-pane windows can account for up to half the heating and cooling loss in your home, so consider replacing them with insulated, glass windows with a low-E coating.


  1. We have purchased a house with a septic system. What type of maintenance is required to keep it functioning properly?
    Thanks for your guidance on this subject, and all the other issues you have addressed on your show.


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