January Home-Maintenance Checklist: DON’T SKIP THESE!

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 12/13/23 •  8 min read

The dead of winter is the time for the greatest vigilance in your home maintenance routine. The most important job this month is to head off damage to your home from water and dampness, which can come from various sources. From groundwater seepage to the dangers of frozen pipes, this checklist is designed to guide you through each crucial step.

I will also give you a few quick-and-easy home maintenance tasks for January that are focused just on making sure your home continues to run smoothly.

Keep reading to ensure your home remains safe, warm, and efficient throughout the cold season. Whether it’s checking for exterior storm damage, insulating vulnerable pipes, or keeping pests at bay, each task is vital for maintaining your home’s integrity during these colder months.

Preventing Water Damage in Winter: Essential Checklist Items

Post-Storm Exterior Checks

After a winter storm, get outside as soon as you can. Walk around the house, checking for damage from wind and broken tree limbs. User binoculars if you can’t see your entire roof. Scan for loose or missing shingles.

Give special attention to vulnerable pipes — indoors and out — that are exposed to the cold, including hose bibs, pipes in outside walls, garden sprinkler lines, swimming pool pipes and pipes in unheated attics, basements and garages. A frozen pipe needs only a one-eighth-inch crack to leak as much as 250 gallons a day, according to State Farm Insurance.

Take these steps to safeguard against damage from frozen and bursting pipes:

  1. If practical, insulate any pipes exposed to the cold. Ask the folks at your local hardware store for the best materials for your specific job.
  2. Seal any leaks that are letting cold air in, especially around dryer vents and pipes and where electrical wiring enters the house.
  3. Search for uninsulated water supply lines in the attic, garage, basement, and crawl spaces and bathroom and kitchen cabinets adjacent to outside walls. During any bad cold spells, open your cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathroom so the home’s heat can reach them. (Reminder: Put harmful household cleaners out of the reach of children.) Keep doors shut tight in the garage and outside closets and cupboards during freezing weather.
  4. When temperatures drop below zero, open both hot and cold faucets a trickle to relieve pressure in the pipes.
  5. Locate your home’s water shut-off valve; learn how to turn off the water quickly in case a pipe bursts.
  6. If you’ll be gone in freezing weather, even overnight, ask a friend or neighbor to check on your house for broken or leaking pipes. Show him or her how to shut off the water.
  7. Keep temperatures inside the house at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above, night and day, even when you’re gone.
  8. Promise yourself that when the weather improves you will add to the installation in the basement or crawl space and attic.

Snow Removal: Protecting Your Roof and Other Structures

In areas experiencing heavy snowfall, it’s essential to keep an eye on the amount of snow accumulating on your roof and other structures. While buildings are designed to handle some snow, too much can pose a risk.

When to Worry About Snow Load:

Tips for Safe Snow Removal:

Leak Prevention and Detection

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02/28/2024 09:04 pm GMT

Pest Control in Cold Weather: Effective Solutions

Cold weather drives mice and insects into the walls of your home. Even unheated parts of the house invite these pests. Insects need only a crack to enter, and mice can get in through a dime-sized hole. Houseflies, particularly, pose a health risk because they can transmit disease.

Make a Home Inventory

While you are putting away holiday gifts, seize the opportunity to make a quick home inventory.

An inventory is a record of your home’s features, conditions, furnishings, and valuable possessions. If your home is damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, mudslide, or other disaster, you can use the inventory to substantiate your insurance claim to get the maximum replacement value for what was lost.

Your inventory doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get started and add to it later. Supplement your record with photos or video if you have very high-ticket items.

Home Inventory Tips:

Quick-And-Easy Home Maintenance Tasks for January

Here are a few more winter tasks that aren’t centered around preventing disaster but just making sure everything in your home runs smoothly:

  1. Check the labels on the switches in your electrical circuit-breaker panel and make new labels if necessary.
  2. Check your furnace filter monthly in the winter to see if it needs replacing.
  3. Use a vacuum-cleaner tool or a long-handled brush to clean under and behind the refrigerator, including the coils.
  4. Clean lint from under laundry appliances, especially the dryer, and carefully work the cleaning tool down into the lint filter; outdoors, clean the dryer vent outlet, reaching as far as possible into the pipe.
  5. Gather product documents and warranties into a folder. Go through the contents and discard outdated materials.
  6. Walk around inside the house with a screwdriver, pencil, and paper. Tighten any loose knobs and attachments and list repairs to tackle later.
  7. Examine the ducts of your forced-air furnace and seal any leaks with duct tape.

Looking Ahead: Get Ready for February

Don’t stop now! Each month brings its own maintenance tasks and challenges. Jump to our February home-maintenance checklist to continue keeping your home in top shape. From preparing for the last stretch of winter to early spring planning, we’ve got practical tips and essential tasks lined up for you. Stay ahead of the game and ensure your home stays safe, efficient, and well-maintained year-round.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.