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New Year, Old Traditions

Have you kept to your New Year's traditions this year? Did you have to pivot much to make them happen?

Red and White String tied to a apple blossom

A charming tradition from Bulgaria. The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health. They are the heralds of the coming of spring and of new life.

Even though my husband and I kept our celebrations just between us (and Billie, our new puppy, of course) this year, I still feel the desire to keep my New Year Home Maintenance tradition going!

January is the time of year I start to check off annual tasks on my home maintenance list. This year, in particular, this tradition is required. Every square foot of our house has served its purpose and then some over the last twelve months. It is time to give our haven some TLC.

Here is what we do this time of year to keep the homestead running smoothly:

  • Yard spruce up. Rake leaves, trim back overgrown bushes, ready the yard for Spring and new mulch and plantings.

  • Walk around the outside of the house. Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.

  • Check your gutters. Your gutters control the flow of rainwater on your house, protecting your roof, siding, and foundation. Clogged gutters can cause a roof to leak or water to infiltrate your home. Clean them out twice a year and check for any damage.

  • Paint. Exterior paint looks nice and protects your shingles from water damage and rot. Look for signs of peeling or chipping paint. You may need a touch-up or a fresh coat.

  • Patio or deck. You may not use your deck all winter; chances are it has a layer of winter grime across it. Sweep it clean. Inspect your deck, looking for signs of cracked wood and loose nails. Pull out any leaves or debris from between the boards.

  • HVAC systems. For homes with central heat and air, call your HVAC technician for a checkup and filter change. Your technician should check the ductwork for signs of damage and clean and service the furnace and A/C compressor. Clean the bathroom vents, too.

  • Check your plumbing. Give your pipes a good once-over, checking under sinks to ensure no signs of leaks. Look up at your ceilings, too, for water stains – a possible sign of a leak in the wall. Check faucets for drips and the flapper in your toilet tank to make sure it has not worn out.

  • Check your sump pump. Spring often brings rain. Check your sump pump to make sure it's draining correctly. You do not want to wait until a significant rainstorm to determine that the pump's motor is not working.

  • Clean your chimney. Even if you do not regularly use the fireplace, the chimney still needs a regular checkup. A chimney carries dangerous gases from your fireplace, wood stove, or furnace out of your home, helping to keep the air inside breathable. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, your chimney should be inspected annually and cleaned periodically depending on how often you use it.

  • Check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a year.

  • Start on your spring cleaning efforts. Start cleaning, purging, and organizing a room at a time. By Spring, your house will be as I like to say... tickety boo!




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