Winter has finally shown its snowy bluster to us here in the Sheboygan area. If you’re like me and the cold and snow makes you want to climb under the covers and hibernate indoors until the spring comes, you may find the following list of interior home maintenance projects for January helpful to keep you productive.
There’s more to maintaining your water system in winter than just making sure the pipes don’t freeze.
Here are several water maintenance tasks you can take on in January.
Make Sure Pipes Don’t Freeze
As the temperatures get colder, it’s important to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Exposed pipes are at risk – invest in insulation to help keep your water running. You can also help make sure that the heat in your house can get to the pipes by opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. And one of the best tips when it gets cold is to let the water drip from your faucets. Running water is less likely to freeze – even at a trickle. Yes, that will mean your water bill will go up, but the cost of the extra water is sure to be less than the cost to repair a burst pipe, should it freeze. For more tips, check out this article from Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/home-garden/home-maintenance-repairs/how-to-keep-pipes-from-freezing-a2277945570/
Water In: Check Your Water Filters
If you have a water filtration system, January is a good time to check the filters. If you don’t have a water filtration system – January could be a good month to install one. There are many options: pitchers that you fill and they filter the water while it chills in the fridge, faucet mounted filters, under-sink mounted filters, whole house filters, and filters for your refrigerator. Updating your filters (or installing some new ones) will help ensure your water quality.
Water In: Check Your Fixtures
January is a great time to go through your house and check each faucet to make sure it’s working and looking the way that it should. Is there lime build up on your showerhead? This article from The Spruce will show you how to clean it. https://www.thespruce.com/clean-a-shower-head-4580837/
Do your faucets leak anywhere? Turn each one on then off and inspect to see if there’s any leakage after you turn them off. If there are, try adjusting the fittings. If that doesn’t help, you might need to replace some components of the faucet like worn out washers. You can get some tips on this here. https://www.thespruce.com/checking-for-faucet-leaks-2718844
Water Out: Clean Your Drains
Your water system is not just water in – you have to make sure the drains work properly. January is a great time to go through the house and check each drain to see how the water is flowing. If you hear gurgling or the water drainage is slow, we suggest you clean your drains. There are many ways to go about it. This article from the Family Handyman has lots of great tips. https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/signs-you-should-clean-your-drains/
They say “if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” Well, now that it’s cold, why not get in there and take on all the maintenance tasks?
Clean Your Range Hood, Exhaust Fan, and Filter
Its where all the particles in the steam collect. Grease. I mean grease. It can be stubborn to remove, and any time I’ve tried to do it in the summer – standing on a stool where heat rises – I tend to get overheated. Winter is a great time to take it on.
Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
So. Many. Dust bunnies. They all gather on the coils. Get out your vacuum and rags and clean them off. It will help extend the life of your refrigerator and make it run better, too.
Check Your Tile Grout
Does it need cleaning? Are there any work spots that need repair? Now’s a great time to take that on.
Clean Your Garbage Disposal
It’s something you should do regularly – so why not do a January cleaning.
Need tips on how? This Better Homes & Gardens article may help. https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/how-to-clean-garbage-disposal/
So many of the bathroom maintenance tasks mirror those of the kitchen, so you can take those on, too.
Clean Your Exhaust Fan
When windows can’t be opened, the exhaust fan in the bathroom becomes even more important. Trust me. The next time you go into the bathroom after another family member, you’ll be glad you did.
Check Your Tile Grout
There’s probably even more of it here than in your kitchen. January is a great time to clean and repair it all.
Clean Your Medicine Cabinet
Wipe down all the shelves. If it’s mirrored, give it a shine. Pull out expired medicines and other products and dispose of them. You can check with your local pharmacy or police station for appropriate and legal disposal.
It’s the new year, and that’s a great time to get safety minded for the year. Here are some tasks to help keep your family safe.
Check Your Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you’re on a battery replacement schedule that follows the daylight savings time format, January is about the midway mark. Perfect time to run another test. Press that little button and make sure everything’s working as it should.
Do a Walk-Through for Tripping Hazards
Throw rugs should be used only if they lie flat and don’t bunch up. If you have carpeting on your stairs, make sure it’s all secured.
Do you have cable management systems for your cables and cords? If not, now’s a good time to get some. A good system will not only help reduce tripping hazards, it will help you to keep them organized and prevent tangling.
The new year is a great time to Marie Kondo your space. Get rid of what you don’t need – toss, donate, or recycle. I put this in safety because decluttering can be viewed as improving safety, depending on how much stuff you actually have. This is especially true if you have stuff on your stairs. (Clean it up and clear it out!) The clean, open space you get after decluttering can also be great for your mental health.
Check All Your Hardware
I’m talking about doorknobs and hinges and the hardware on your stair handrails. Tighten them up so that they’re secure and will function as they should.
Replace Light Bulbs
Check all your lights and make sure you have good, working bulbs. Sure the days are starting to get longer now, but January still can seem awfully dark. Having good, working lights will help keep you safe. You may also want to look into getting a SAD light to help combat your Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’ve got mine on order and I know my coworkers are looking forward to the happier me to come.
That’s our list for January. There are probably other items you can think of. If so, please comment and share.
Happy New Year!