As the winter vacations approach, it's time to switch gears from your autumnal home maintenance routine to your winter one. There is so much Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Festivus happiness to display and consume that completing regular housework might seem like a damper on the celebration. But because December is a time of celebration and getting ready for the new, you can give yourself a head start on the holidays by doing a few maintenance jobs before the cold weather.
We've made a list of all the house maintenance activities this month, along with some suggestions for getting them done more quickly and easily. To ensure your family's safety during winter, use the tips and reminders in our December home maintenance and safety checklist.
1. Get a new air filter for the furnace.
Every 1-3 months, you should change the air filter in your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. The most effective method of removing mold spores, pollen, and other airborne allergens is to use a high-quality air filter. The filter is often hidden behind the air return grate, which may be installed on the wall or floor. If you're having trouble finding an air filter, see our guide on where to look for one. It is necessary to turn off the heating system and wait until it has stopped functioning to change the air filter.
2. Get your attic insulation checked.
It's essential to monitor the level of insulation in your attic when the temperature outside drops and to add more if necessary. Damaged or moldy insulation has to be removed and replaced immediately. Batts or rolls of insulation may be easily installed by the do-it-yourselfer in the spaces between the ceiling joists. Since the insulation may cause irritation to the eyes, lungs, and skin, it is vital to wear goggles and other protective clothing.
3. Attic stairs that retract into the ceiling should be insulated.
Because they allow warm air to escape into the attic, drop-down attic stairs are a significant energy drain. You may insulate your attic stairs in a few different ways: Put in weatherstripping, caulk the crevices, and construct a cover for the steps. Some versions of stair coverings for the attic may be secured to the floor, opened, and closed with a zipper. Some are put over the attic hole to keep out the air, while others are removed when access is required.
4. Turn off the water and drain the garden hoses.
When the temperature drops below freezing, it's time to empty the garden hoses. If you leave a hose connected and full of water, the water might freeze and burst the hose, rendering it useless. First, take off the spray heads and unhook the hoses. To keep the hoses safe until spring, drain the water and put them away in a shed or garage. Any water left in the sprayer must be removed or opened so the water may expand and freeze without bursting the hose. If you only require a hose occasionally, empty it thoroughly after each use.
5. Preserve external water faucets for the winter
Drain and cover any exterior hose faucets to protect the pipes and spigots from freezing. Have a plumber take a look if you are unsure whether or not your faucet is frost-free. If you want to prevent the water in your pipes from freezing as the temperature lowers, your best choice is to place an insulating foam cover on the exterior of the faucet and tighten it securely against the house with a foam seal.
6. Water pipes that are exposed should be insulated.
It is wise to insulate water lines strategically to avoid the disaster of a pipe bursting from freezing temperatures. Pick up foam pipe insulation with a diameter just right for the water lines. Cut a length of insulation to fit your needs using a box cutter or scissors. To ensure the foam insulation doesn't break apart when the water pipes freeze, tape it together where it meets. If you insulate the lines, use foam the same size as the pipes. The insulation must be taped along the cut edge surrounding the pipe.
7. Fix and re-display the holiday designs.
Replace incandescent bulbs with safer, more efficient LED bulbs if you still use them. LED lights are more durable, produce less heat, and provide less fire risk than traditional bulbs. Consider using permanent hangers to save time every year while hanging the same decorations. Hammer in tiny light hangers or cable hooks, or use self-adhesive bases and cable ties.
Traveling around the holidays may be hazardous, so taking additional precautions is essential. Lighting the area surrounding your home, locking doors and windows, and cutting back plants are all easy things you can do to increase the security of your property.
Unfortunately, most individuals put off doing this until there's an issue at home before taking action. If you take good care of your house, you'll increase the likelihood of getting a reasonable price when you sell it. Until you wake up to a broken water heater, for example, you may not appreciate the financial impact of these preventative maintenance services. The price of repairs is minimal compared to the expense of a new water heater. The key to domestic bliss is consistent upkeep.