January Home Maintenance: 10 Tips to Start the Year Right

By Travis Triplett

Home improvement is not just a seasonal commitment. As a homeowner, you likely know that, but it always helps to save certain indoor tasks for the colder winter months. With that in mind and January upon us, we have 10 tips for you to start the year out right with January home maintenance and improvement.

None of these are all that sexy, but they will leave you with a gratifying sense of satisfaction that you’re doing right by your home, your wallet, and your time:

  1. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Are your emergency devices still working and fully charged? Do they need a new battery? Check this at the beginning of the year in January and it’s easy to remember that you did so.
  2. Change the air filter. New Year, new you. Keep your HVAC, home and yourself happy this year and change this every three months, at least. It’s easy to forget, so pick up a subscription to FilterSnap to make your life more convenient – they’ll deliver to your door at regular intervals so you don’t have to remember.
  3. Change the water filter in your fridge (if you have a refrigerator that dispenses water). You’ll be surprised how stopped up it can get; the water will flow faster after changing it.
  4. Unclog any drains in the house. There are multiple ways people do this, ranging from snakes to Drano. I prefer the Zip-It. Admittedly, the pictures you’ll find on the website of what comes out of drains are pretty gross, but the thing flat works. I’ve used it successfully many times. The best part about it is how cheap it is. Well…I guess the unclogged drains are nice, too.
  5. Refrigerator maintenance. Vacuum the coils of the fridge condenser to ensure it’s operating at maximum efficiency. While you’re doing that, you might as well check the seals on the doors as well. If you close the fridge/freezer door so a dollar bill is stuck in it, you shouldn’t be able to pull it out easily. If you can, tighten up those screws and fix the seal (varies on each fridge).
  6. Tighten all loose knobs, pulls and hinges. These irritate me all year round, and I never seem to find the time to permanently fix them. However, January is the perfect month to do this. Start the year off on the right track while also getting rid of those nagging loose handles and hinges.
  7. Turn off the exterior water valve if you live in a region that sees subfreezing temperatures for extended periods of time. Easy enough. Video tutorial here.
  8. Lubricate squeaky hinges and sticky door locks. I always used to use WD-40 for every squeak in the house. However, I’ve learned that squeaky hinges and door locks are best loosened up with silicone spray lubricant, which you can find at any hardware store.
  9. Buy some de-ice melt or road salt. Make sure you’re not caught with your pants down when the snow and ice hit this year. Buy the salt before you need it. I need to heed my own thoughts here, because I always forget.
  10. Restock on firewood as necessary. Look, this is easy…except when it’s not. You never remember until it’s already freezing. Not this year. I’ve already stocked up for the forthcoming cold(er) weather.

There are a countless number of other home chores you could put on this list – such as backing up your digital files – but I’ve tried to stick to the hands-on tasks that are oftentimes put off until later. Well…now is later, and later is now. Let’s get started.

Hopefully these 10 tips for January home improvement can help you start the year off on a positive, productive note. I’m looking forward to it myself.

Travis Triplett is a freelance inbound marketer and content developer for Filtersnap living in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and new puppy. He’s just finished resurrecting a house from the dead, and he’s passionate about keeping it that way. Home maintenance is both a hobby and a way of life for him.

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