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7 Tips New Homeowners Need To Know Before Moving In

7 Tips New Homeowners Need To Know Before Moving In

If you’re in the process of buying your first home, you most likely have a ton of questions regarding basic maintenance and upkeep—stuff that you used to let the landlord take care of. While there is definitely a lot to know, you shouldn’t get overwhelmed in the process of becoming homeowners. If you keep up with this routine maintenance throughout the years, you’ll find the little things much easier to deal with than if you were to ignore them and let the problems build up. Before you even start moving in your furniture, all new homeowners:

1. Check the insulation

Insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter months and out during the summer ones. Check the attic to see if there are any patches missing, or if the insulation is growing thin in some areas. Proper insulation should be about 6 inches thick throughout the entire area. If any area is missing or has been damaged, don’t ignore it. You’ll end up letting some much needed warm air out during the winter months, and your heating bill will show it.

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2. Lower the hot water heater temperature

Your hot water heater should be set no higher than 120°F—that is, unless you like making coffee straight from the tap. All joking aside, you most likely won’t have any use for water over 100°F anyway, so setting your heater for higher than 120° only wastes energy. While you’re at it, throw an old blanket over your hot water heater. Even if it’s more modern, you won’t run the risk of losing heat and expending excess energy over time.

3. Wrap pipes with insulation

You’ll likely have at least a couple feet of visible piping throughout your house. Invest in a good insulator for them to avoid losing heat as the water travels from the heater to its destination. Again, a loss of heat causes the heater to work harder, causing more and more energy to be expended. Losing one or two degrees from the heater to the shower might not seem much, but over time your wallet will end up feeling it.

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4. Replace air filters and check the vents

Even if they look clean enough, replace the air filters for your furnace and air conditioning units. Remove any blockages to improve air flow and overall effectiveness of your HVAC units. Depending on the system’s condition, however, you may need to refer to a furnace or AC repair company, especially if there’s a problem with the central unit.

5. Check plumbing for leaks

Your plumbing system has the potential to lead to disaster if not maintained properly. First of all, even the smallest drip or a toilet that won’t stop running could end up costing you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Second of all, any excess leakage could damage your interior and foundation, and lead to mold and other issues that simply will not be easy (or cheap) to fix.

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6. Replace light bulbs

It might be a little time consuming, but you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run if you replace all the light bulbs in the house with LED bulbs. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they last much longer than standard bulbs. This will save you not only time and money, but it will also save you from the aggravation of having to run to the store in a few weeks to pick up even more bulbs.

7. Secure the perimeter

If you do nothing else on this list, at the very least change the locks on all of your doors. Ensure that all openings to the outside of your home, no matter how high up, have secure locks on them. If necessary, install a security system and camera that will monitor any outdoor movement throughout the overnight hours. While ignoring all other items on this list may cost you in money and time, an unsecured home may cost you much, much more.

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Featured photo credit: house for sale by owner / Images Money via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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