How to Be a Mindful Homeowner

auditingenergyWhether you have recently relocated, or you have called your house a home for years—all stages of home ownership can benefit from tips and reminders on how to show homes and communities a little bit of love.

Use this checklist to make sure you’re keeping up with all home and community matters, from maintenance tips and money savers to being good to the environment and your neighbors.

Energy Savers
• Invest in a drying rack and a clothesline so you can skip the dryer year-round.
• Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120ºF, and toss a hot water heater blanket over top of it for extra insulation.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL and LED light bulbs for a 75 percent and 85 percent energy savings, respectively.
• Check the amount of insulation in your home, and install more where needed. Let the home’s design and the climate you live in be your guides for the proper amount.
• Plant mature trees on the east- and west-facing sides of your home to keep it cool in the summer and to block the cold wind in the winter.

Home Improvers
• When making home improvements, be sure to check for national and state tax benefits.
• Improve indoor air quality by maintaining your air filtration systems and decorating your home with houseplants.
• Make sure all home electronics have proper surge protection, and consider a smart power strip, which will cut the power to auxiliary electronics when not in use, for electronics such as your TV.
• Clean indoor and outdoor vents of dust and obstructions on a semi-annual basis.
• Regularly check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to see if they are in working order, and your fire extinguisher to see if it is fully charged and free of leakage, corrosion, damage, and defects.

Community Matters
• Make sure that you know and review your community and homeowner association (HOA) rules often. Rules are typically more applicable during the change in seasons.
• Set boundaries with your children and pets to make sure they have good manners. Dog owners should be especially considerate of noise levels and designated bathroom spots.
• Develop relationships with your neighbors, whether they are young, old, community locals, or new residents.
• Be good to your neighbors by reporting suspicious activity, lending a hand with weather-related problems, or offering to help with a tedious home maintenance task.
• Take pride in your community by helping to maintain the whole neighborhood, not just your own yard.

New to the neighborhood?  Download this contact sheet to organize important phone numbers for easy access.