Home Maintenance Tips For The New Year

As the holidays end, family and friends return home, and you start the task of putting your own home back together, now is a good time to take some steps to ensure that you and your home are prepared for the new year.  Below, we will help you navigate these preventative home maintenance areas and ensure that your home and family are starting the new year happy, healthy and safe.

Kitchen

Now that all the cookies and goodies have been made it’s time to show your kitchen a little more than the usual wipe-down. Before you declare the kitchen off limits until spring and settle on the couch with your favorite cocktail, take care of these few items.

-Range Hood

Now is a good time to clean underneath your range hood, including the filter.  Over time grease and other food particles get trapped in the filter making for a yucky mess and keeping your vent from allowing all the odors and steam to escape.  This filter can be cleaned in your dishwasher on the hottest setting (usually the pots and pans setting). If the filter is too clogged, you can purchase a new one on Amazon or at your local hardware store.

-Refrigerator

Refrigerators have a bad habit of collecting spills and odors.  Take the opportunity to clean out your fridge and disinfect the bins.  Wipe down the gaskets on the door(s). Change out the water and air filter if yours is equipped with those to keep your water and ice fresh and odors at bay. On the back of the refrigerator are coils that help to regulate the temperature.  These are dust magnets, especially if you have pets.  Unplug your fridge and use the hose extender on your vacuum to evict those dust bunnies and help your fridge be at its best.

Now that you have a clean refrigerator, take the opportunity to stock with fresh fruits and vegetables to help kick-start healthy habits.

Dishwasher-

Many people tend to overlook their dishwasher until they start to have a smell or the dishes don’t get washed properly. To avoid a dishwasher disaster, make sure to remove the filter and manually wash it.  Look for signs of tears and replace.  Inspect all hoses if you have access to them.  Inspect the arms and use a paper clip or sewing needle to loosen any debris from the water holes.  Spray a degreaser and wipe down the gasket along the door.  Finally, run an empty load with vinegar and baking soda to destroy odors. 

-Fire extinguisher

Confirm that you have a kitchen fire extinguisher and that it is still charged. The pressure gauge should have a green area.  If the needle is in this area it is good to go.  If it is in the red, toss it or have it recharged. If you don’t have one, you can buy them at Costco or on Amazon. 

Bathrooms

-Vent fans

To keep mold and mildew at bay, ensure that dust buildup is removed.  These fans help draw moisture out and keep air circulating.  Remove dust with an old toothbrush or remove the cover and wash in soapy water.

-Medical Supplies

Now is a good time to restock those first aid kits and medicine cabinets.  Throw out any expired medications and ointments and ensure you have necessities such as Benadryl, Tylenol and Motrin, band-aids, ice packs, gauze etc.

-Check Caulk

Look at areas around tubs, showers and toilets that have caulking.  Replace any cracked or missing areas.          

Bedrooms and Living Areas

 –Purge those closets

We all have those pieces of clothing that we hang on to because “I may wear it one day.”  If you haven’t worn it in the last year, toss it.  Check clothes for holes, rips, missing buttons etc.  Try to organize your closet in a system that works for you.  Some people prefer by color.  Some prefer by type of clothing. You may even put together an amazing new outfit you didn’t know you had!! For kids, toss out any toys/sports equipment that are broken, missing parts, or that they just don’t need/ touch anymore. 

Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

These are things we don’t usually pay attention to… until we really need them.  Take the time to ensure batteries are replaced and alarms are working. 

Make an inventory/update files

Now is a good time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and ensure that your coverage is up to date.  Make an inventory of items in your home, especially big-ticket items, or new items that you acquired over the holidays.  Its also a good idea to get all the owners manuals and warranty papers for items in your home and store in a safe place like a safe or home office.

-Inspect gas fireplace

Gas fireplaces are soaring in popularity.  Whether fueled by propane or natural gas, your fireplace should be inspected yearly. It is best to call a certified chimney sweep contractor to make sure that the vents are not clogged and allowing dangerous fumes to enter your home or that valves and connections aren’t leaking which can lead to explosions.

Outside

As you’re outside taking the Christmas lights down, or deflating that blow up Santa Claus, pay attention to the outside of your home and get the jump on any possible problem areas.

-Spigots and hoses

Disconnect hoses from spigots, drain water completely and put a cover on your spigot.

-Gutters

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to clean the leaves and other debris from your gutters.  This will help protect from your roof and ensure water is draining properly.  Inspect your roof and ensure there are no holes or missing shingles.

Sidewalks and patios

Sweep off these areas of leaves and debris.  Head to your local hardware store and stock up on snow shovels and ice melt to head off any slips and slides during winter weather.

-Lighting/security

Replace any broken light fixtures/burnt out bulbs.  Ensure that security cameras are placed in areas that focus on entry and exit points to your home and windows are not easily opened from the outside.

Home maintenance can seem daunting at times but remember, it doesn’t have to all be done in a day. These are just a few simple, quick things you can do that will make a big difference.

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