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Tips for improving your home in the new year

Several ideas for getting past those aggravations you live with day in and day out.

Have an electrician move light switches where they

Have an electrician move light switches where they make sense to you. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

It's always easy to improve your home with new appliances, furniture or paint, but what about those things around your house that annoy you, like dirty grout on the tile or that low-flow shower head that takes forever to rinse the shampoo from your head? Here are several ideas for improving your home this year and getting past those aggravations you live with day in and day out.

Better water

At the top of the list of irritations you tolerate is the low-flow showerhead. Sure, you want to save water and keep the bill low, but sometimes you need to get in and out of the shower quickly and that low flow is more like slow flow. On top of that, you'd probably like to trade that dribbling shower for a bracing one. Replace it with a water-saving showerhead will give you a power shower and help you and your shampoo get out faster. And if you're tired of scrubbing rust stains from your bathroom fixtures, have your plumber install a whole house water filter. It will help your pipes, give you cleaner water, and help reduce sediment and staining.

Another aggravation? Hot water that runs out too soon. If you have natural gas or propane lines, consider installing an on-demand hot water system. Because water isn't hot at all times like a traditional hot water heater, you'll always have enough hot water and you won't be paying for it even when you aren't using it.

Older toilets can also be frustrating. Many are rather short; for a more comfortable sit, have your plumber swap out that old bog with a new one that's a comfortable height. This is especially helpful for older people or anyone with knee problems. Lastly, consider installing new taller bathroom cabinets so you don't feel like you have to bend halfway down to the ground to brush your teeth.

Electric changes

There are common annoyances with light switches. Too often we have switches in strange places, and even after living in the house for years you can't remember which switch turns on the dining room light. It's time for that to end.

Have an electrician move the switches to where they make sense to you. If you can't remember which switch turns on the garbage disposal in the kitchen, swap to a brown switch to help you remember. This means it'll be less likely you'll chew up your spoons that fall in the disposer.

If you have a noisy or wobbly ceiling fan, it's high time for it to fly right. Have the electrician rehang it and rebalance it so that it operates smoothly; that often means less noise too.

Make this the year you swap out all your ceiling bulbs to LEDs. If you'd been reluctant to do it when they first came out, it's understandable. Maybe you didn't like that green or cool light. LED lights have come a long way and they're warmer and whiter now. Once done, you won't be on that ladder anymore replacing burned out bulbs, and your energy bill will be lower.

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