Winter is the time of year that everyone hunkers down. It’s also the perfect season to get some things done around your house to help save you money in the long run to protect your home. As you check off your “to-do list” each season, home maintenance will become less tedious and your home will be in tip-top shape!
- Protect Your Pipes from Freezing. Pipes closest to the outside perimeter of your home are most at risk when it comes to freezing up (i.e. pipes in an unheated garage or on an outside wall of your home). Make sure the thermostat in your home is set at a steady temperature in the winter and if you go out of town it needs to stay at a minimum of 55 degrees. On especially cold days and nights it’s best to keep the cabinet sinks open to let warm air in and keep the faucets at a drip to keep the water moving.
- Clean Your Kitchen Appliances. Focus on the appliances that you’re not cleaning on a regular basis—like the refrigerator. Empty it out, throw away anything expired and clean the shelves. Also, pull out the fridge and clean the coils every 6 months or so. When the coils get dirty with dust bunnies and grime your refrigerator will use more electricity to keep your food cold.
- Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detector. During the winter months it’s easier for carbon monoxide to build up in your home. Switch out the batteries in your alarm to make sure it’s working properly. Check your smoke detectors too while you’re at it!
- Seal Your Tile Grout. Adding a tile grout sealer to your showers is an important thing to do every 6 months. This prevents mold, mildew, stains, and bacteria. The sealant will help repel moisture and germs since it’s waterproof and helps prolong the look of your grout. If you have tiled floors and walls, you can seal those about once a year to protect the grout.
- Clean Your Kitchen Sink Disposal. You should clean your disposal every month just to avoid bacteria growth and bad smells. You can freeze vinegar into cubes and run them through the disposal (which cleans and sharpens your blades at the same time) or stick lemon or orange peels in the disposal and grind them up with some ice cubes.
- Prune Your Trees and Shrubs in Late-Winter. If your trees or shrubs don’t bloom until late spring, a winter pruning job (on a mild day so you don’t freeze) is beneficial for both your trees and your wallet. Without leaves covering branches, it’s easier to see dead branches that should be removed and to identify tree diseases caused by insects, parasites, and fungi.
- Change or Clean Furnace Filters. You’ll improve your air quality on your home and help your furnace heat more efficiently. Dirty filters can cause dust and debris to build up on your heater and you don’t need to make your heater work harder because of decreased air flow.
- Clean Your Dryer Hose. Clogged dryer hoses can be a big fire hazard. Make sure you consistently empty your filter, clean or replace your dryer duct every 6 months, and check your dryer vents and exhaust. Also look at the area behind the dryer and clean up any dirt or dust there too.
Print off this list and put it on your fridge to check off your “to-do list” while the weather is still cold, or even share it with a neighbor! Be on the lookout for a checklist each season (we’re ready for you, spring!) to make sure your home is being well maintained.