Whether you're trying to sell your home this year or you just want to make a few upgrades, there are a few essential home improvement options that can put you on the path to success. Now, more than ever, homeowners hope to incorporate environmental responsibility and personal health into every aspect of their home. Here are some of the best home improvements to make this year when you want to live a healthier life. Make the necessary repairs Before you start browsing home remodeling sites online, start your renovation project by fixing what's already broken. This isn't particularly exciting, but repairs can actually cost less than replacing expensive items. Not only will this improve the efficiency of your home, but you might also see a decline in your monthly bills. Prevent your house from draining more resources than necessary by insulating your attic or plugging up leaks in your basement. If you're trying to sell your home, your potential buyers won't care about your new shower head if the toilet is falling off its base. Above all else, they want a home that's functional. In fact, the Nation Association of Realtors' annual survey revealed that 71% of realtors plan to promote energy efficiency and sustainability when they showcase homes to potential buyers. An efficient home will simply look better compared to other options on the market. Look around your home or contact a home inspector to identify any areas of improvement. For example, butterfly valves on your HVAC unit have been in use since the 1930s, but your home should have newer features than that -- at least, we hope it does. It isn't glamorous, but fixing what's broken is essential. Once you've made the necessary repairs, you can truly dive into your home renovation project. Install the proper home monitoring systems Creating a healthy home means more than just buying a few houseplants. When you truly want a safe, healthy environment, be sure to test your home for potentially hazardous substances. Here are some of the most common tests you should perform to ensure your family's health is secure this year: Test for leads and other metals in your plumbingTest for carbon monoxide levelsTest for radon levels in your home and in your basementTest for molds These tests should be performed at regular intervals to ensure your home is a safe place for everyone who resides inside. In fact, it's recommended that you test your home for radon every two to five years. Once you know the health of your home, be sure to choose the best mitigation systems available. Luckily, passive mitigation systems have been proven to reduce the indoor levels of harmful radon by more than 50%. Build with recycled steel If you plan on adding any home additions or structures to your living space, using recycled steel is the best way to promote sustainability in the construction market. The steel market has developed new ways to reuse scrap steel products, encouraging more people to invest in this waste-reducing procedure. This has become a huge selling point among potential homeowners, but it also offers peace of mind if you're looking to perform your own home upgrades. In fact, creating a backyard studio or garage with panels can reduce installation time by more than one-third, making a reused steel purchase more lucrative than ever. But recycled steel can do more than build structures. After all, you use steel in almost every aspect of your home; from your kitchen knives to your jewelry to your lockpicking tools, steel has become an essential home item. As steel processing has evolved from the carbon steel of the 1980s to more sustainable, long-lasting options, you can put more trust in this recycled product. Try investing in these sound options when you want to improve the integrity and longevity of your home. Whether you're trying to get your home off the market or enjoy it for many years to come, these upgrades and fixes will help assure that you're leading healthy, sustainable lives.