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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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