Homeowners in the United States spent 353 billion on home improvements and repairs in the first quarter of 2021 alone. This is according to data provided by the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University. The report further forecasts that in the first quarter of 2022, homeowners’ expenditure to sustain and increase the quality and value of their homes will reach 370 billion. The report covers structural changes, additions, remodeling, repairs, and routine maintenance work.
Ensuring Healthful Conditions at Home
The pandemic has turned people’s attention to health needs. As the LIRA report pointed out, repairs and routine maintenance work are part of home improvement. Most of the time, these are necessary to ensure that the home is a healthy space.
For instance, lack of plumbing maintenance can result in cracked or broken sewer pipes that cause flooding in bathrooms and sinks or ponding in yards. Sewage water has a noxious smell and is a disease carrier. Such instances require emergency attention from professional sewer repair services. Homeowners should arrange for regular maintenance to prevent such occurrences.
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system also needs regular maintenance from a certified service provider. The system can develop fungi and mold that will permeate the air and cause health issues. The regular replacement of UV filters can prevent this. Proper maintenance will also ensure that the air conditioner does not break down in summer and the heater does not break down in winter when needed most.
Gas furnaces and gas-fed appliances such as boilers, gas ovens, gas stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers likewise require regular maintenance by certified professionals. If flues or pipes have blockages or leaks, these can result in dangerous carbon dioxide emissions. The CDC reports that an estimated 400 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is odorless, but some warning signs include the presence of soot on fuel-burning appliances and the fireplace, as well as discolored bricks at the chimney top. Homeowners must check flue pipes and appliance jacks for rust. Yellow or orange flame instead of blue flame from combustion appliances is also a danger sign. High condensation and moisture on cold surfaces, windows, and walls are alarming too.
Homeowners must install a carbon monoxide detector with a loud alarm that is enough to wake residents even in a deep sleep. This is because immediate evacuation is vital in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.
Home maintenance is a necessary expense for all homeowners to make the house safely livable. This must be a part of the regular budget, and an emergency fund must be set aside for repairs and replacements. Neglecting this is faulty cost-cutting because it will result in even greater expenditure in the long run. It can also cause both immediate and long-term health problems in residents.
Remodeling for Health and Safety
The best types of home improvements focus not only on aesthetics but mainly on function and health considerations. Among these are ease of cleaning and disinfection. The CDC emphasizes that homeowners must regularly clean and disinfect surfaces often touched, such as tabletops, countertops, handles, doorknobs, and light switches. When homeowners remodel, it will be better to choose materials that are non-porous and will not be damaged by cleaning products.
Among the materials that meet these criteria for countertops and tabletops are stainless steel, porcelain, glass, Corian, and engineered quartz. Porcelain is also used as sinks and bathtubs and comes in tiles of various sizes that can be used for backsplashes, floors, and walls, both indoors and outdoors.
Homeowners must also consider age-proofing the home to meet the needs of elderly people. This means that there must be no steps at the entrance and on the entire ground floor to prevent tripping or falls. There must also be a full toilet and bath on the same floor. If there is a possibility of an older adult or couple living in the house, there must be a bedroom on the ground floor near the toilet and bath. Doorways must be wide enough to accommodate mobility equipment such as walkers or a wheelchair.
A Healthy Home Is a Worthy Investment
Investing in home improvement to make it a healthy space for everyone is a sound financial decision. The family’s health and wellness are invaluable. Health problems, both acute and chronic, can be expensive, as well.
This is also a wealth-creating investment because it makes the house more valuable. It is a win-win situation because the family gets to enjoy the investment while it continues to appreciate.