January is a time for new resolutions and new routines. Starting a routine at the beginning of the year can help with developing a proper maintenance schedule for your home. Checking and maintaining these few simple things around the house can help minimize damage and loss, and help preserve the value of your home
Cleaning the coils on your refrigerator helps with energy efficiency and maintaining your refrigerator’s ability to chill to proper temperatures. . Be sure before you begin this maintenance, that you unplug the refrigerator first, for safety.
Cleaning your stove vent/hood can help prevent it from getting clogged or damaged. Make sure to also clean or replace the filter as well. This allows the vent to function better, circulating the air more efficiently. When the filter becomes clogged with grease, dust, and other debris, it can also create a fire hazard.
Change water filters on your refrigerator or sink. Making sure the filter is clean will keep your water flowing quickly and the pressure good. A clogged filter, especially in the refrigerator, can cause the water inside the filter to freeze. Not only can this damage the filter, but it can also cause damage to the water system itself.
Clean and clear your garbage disposal. Regular cleaning will keep unpleasant germs and odors away. Again, though, safety first: use a flashlight to see into the disposal before checking for larger objects that need to be removed. The disposal blades are sharp and, there could also be glass or metal fragments that have fallen into the disposal.
The bathroom is one room of the home that really tends to fill up over the year. Taking a few minutes to inventory and organize can help keep that accumulation under control.
Inventory and restock medical cabinet supplies including Bandaids, ointments, hand sanitizer, q-tips, and gauze.
Clean out and properly dispose of old medications. Check for medications you no longer take or those that have expired. Check with a local pharmacy or police department regarding proper methods of disposal.
Prep for flu season – you know it’s coming! Make sure you have the supplies on hand that you will need. Stock up on cold and flu medicines, cough drops, tissues, thermometer (maybe now is the time to invest in a touch-free thermometer?), and hand soap.
One area often overlooked is your cosmetic and hygiene supplies. Clear out any old make-up and brushes, nail polish that has thickened, Check old bottles of moisturizers, bath oils, body lotions – these can turn rancid over time, and you certainly don’t want that smell on your skin.
Check toilets for leaks and/or running water. And, commonly in smaller bathrooms, condensation can accumulate on the outside of the toilet tank, especially near the bottom, as colder water flows into the tank in a room that is typically warmer. This condensation can drip onto the floor causing mold and mildew.
Organize and pack away any holiday decorations. Organizing everything now as you are putting it away for the year will make for an easier transition to the next season.
Bring extra blankets out of storage to help with the colder temperatures. Wash and dry them so they are fresh and welcoming.
Check for any leaks around windows and doors, inside and out. Replace any needed caulking on windows or weather stripping around doors. This can help prevent loss of heat and an increase in your electric bill. If everything looks good, but you can still feel the cold through the window, you can also purchase and easily install shrink plastic over the window to keep the cold out for the season. Then, in the Spring or Fall, you should consider replacing those windows with more energy-efficient ones.
Check under the house for leaky pipes, wet spots, or standing water. Left unattended with the cold, these can lead to frozen, burst pipes and mold.
Check and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries – or the detectors themselves – if needed.
Update house files for the new year, storing any that are not needed for taxes. This includes insurance documents, banking records, etc.
Check fire extinguishers and recharge or replace, if needed
Replace outside lightbulbs.
Clear out the dryer vent hose Cleaning the dryer vent hose(the silver tube that leads from your dryer to the outside) can help prevent buildup and a possible fire. This should be done at least once a year.
Clear gutters for proper drainage. Gutters that are left uncleaned can result in moldy walls, leaking, and can even cause foundation issues.
When the weather is icy, check your roof for ice dams. Ice dams are a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of your roof. An ice dam can keep melting snow from flowing off the roof. This can cause damage to your insulation, cause mold in your walls, and can lead to a leaky roof.
Make sure outside hoses are disconnected and covered. This will help prevent frozen pipes and leaking. Be sure to locate your water shut-off valve in case of burst pipes.
Review your current electronic devices removing any that are no longer active.
Update your home inventory for your homeowners’ insurance.
Reset your wifi password for safety.
Check security system settings and reset the password, if needed.
Make sure your chimney is cleaned and cleared. An unmaintained chimney can lead to a house fire.
With the Winter season comes snowstorms, ice, and possible electrical outages. A good way to be prepared is to prep a storm essentials kit. Extra batteries, flashlights, bottled water(in case of the pipes freezing), and an additional first aid kit, which can help should your home be without electricity in a storm.
Battery-powered lanterns with a USB- charger can be helpful to charge your phone in an emergency outage as well.
Winter can also bring unwanted guests inside the house. Small animals like mice, raccoons, and other small animals can get inside any small cracks. Frequently emptying outside garbage and compost heaps, and sealing any holes and cracks in the foundation and attic, can help keep unwanted guests out of your home.
January is a great time for developing these new home maintenance habits. Adding these small maintenance checks and routines to the beginning of your year can help maintain the efficiency and safety of your home.