December is here and all of the hustle and bustle that comes with preparing for the holidays. From cooking, cleaning and decorating to shopping for gifts, there’s plenty to do this month. So it’s easy for your home maintenance tasks to drop to the bottom of your to-do list. But, ready or not, the cold weather (and maybe snow) will be here before we know it. Give yourself an early holiday present by doing just a few of these home maintenance tasks before winter’s chill arrives.
Prepare for winter storms. Check your snow shovels, gloves and car window scrapers, and replace as needed. Whether or not you’re expecting snow, it’s always a good idea to keep the pantry stocked with food, bottled water, candles and flashlights in case of power outages.
Disconnect garden hoses. Shut off the water supply to your outdoor faucets. You’ll then turn on the outside faucets to drain any remaining water to prevent it from freezing and turn them off after that. Roll up hoses and store indoors until spring.
Winterize yard equipment. Drain the oil in your lawn mower to increase efficiency and prolong its life. Oil left in machinery gets sludgy, causing the engine to work harder. Be sure to store the waste in a leak-proof container and dispose of it at a hazardous waste facility.
Clean humidifiers. Prevent spreading harmful bacteria and mold in the air by changing the water daily and disinfecting your humidifier at least once a week. Most filters can be cleaned with cool running water and then air-dried. If you have a central humidifier, don’t forget to turn it on.
Prevent drafts. Caulk and weather-strip your windows and doors to improve your home’s overall comfort level and energy efficiency. Check your attic insulation to see if it has deteriorated or flattened, which can reduce its efficiency and may be an indication that you need to add more.
Brighten your interior. Dirty light bulbs produce less light than clean ones. Wipe bulbs with a damp cloth dipped in a mixture of one ounce of dish soap, a quarter cup of white vinegar and three cups of water. With shorter days this month, this task will brighten up your home.
If you’ll be decorating the outside of your home for the holidays, be careful when climbing ladders and avoid using any strands of lights that are worn or frayed. Once you check these items off your list, you’ll be ready to relax and enjoy the festive season with family and friends. Happy holidays!