By Ashley Carter

Home maintenance is one of those to-dos that everyone is aware of but that we’re often too busy for. It’s easy to shirk your responsibilities or opt for the easiest path when it comes to home improvement and upkeep. Taking a mindful approach to home maintenance will increase the value of your property as well as the comfort and health of those living inside. With the right strategies, you can even make your home a little greener with every maintenance job that you tackle.

Weatherize the Windows

Leaky windows allow heating and cooling to escape, so you’re using more energy than necessary to keep your home comfortable. Keep your air inside, where it belongs, by properly sealing your windows. Caulk any cracks around the window frame. Install weather stripping along the bottom to create a good seal around the opening. Check your windows at least twice a year, and be sure to repeat all these tasks as necessary.

Touch Up With Eco-Friendly Paint

Over time, your walls fade, accumulate scuffs and stains, and generally start looking dingy. Keep your home fresh and clean by touching up the paint every few years. The frequency of this task will depend on the traffic and indoor air quality in your house. If you have children and pets, plan for more frequent painting parties. Keep your home green by shopping for low-VOC paints. These options release fewer harmful gases as they dry.

Take Care of Your Fans

Ceiling fans can ease the strain on your HVAC unit and minimize energy use when employed correctly. Set your fan to rotate counterclockwise in summer to push cool air down. In winter, reverse the setting so that the blades move clockwise, pulling cool air upward and pushing warm air into your living space. Dust your fan blades at least once a month so that they’re not spreading dust, dander, and allergens with each rotation.

Change Your Air Filter

The air filter is an essential component of your HVAC system. Although a complete tune-up requires the seasoned hand of a professional, filter changes are something that you can easily tackle on your own. Check your air filter once a month, and change it when you begin to see dust and dirt accumulating. This will ease the strain on your HVAC system so that you’re using less energy to maintain a comfortable home. If your system can accommodate a reusable filter, then you can go even greener by washing instead of replacing this component.

Clean Green

Approach all your cleaning tasks with the environment in mind, making sure to choose only products that are safe for your home, your family, and the earth. Avoid commercial cleaners with potentially harmful chemicals. Opt for eco-friendly alternatives that have natural ingredients. If you really want to stay vigilant about what’s in your cleansers, you can even make your own. Ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemons, and borax are all you need for many effective recipes.

By taking an environmentally friendly approach to home maintenance, you can create a space that’s clean, healthy, and easy on the environment.