Hingham Home Owner: Give your House Some January TLC

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8 Home Maintenance Tasks for January

We are more than halfway through the month of January, and it is just starting to feel like January. Although the temperatures were relatively mild, now we have some snow on the ground and winter-like temperatures.

Now that the holiday swirl is over, and winter has arrived without question, there is plenty of time to stay on top of house maintenance and some organization. Most winterizing tasks are complete, and this frees us up to tackle a wider variety of tasks.

1. The Spring Real Estate Market is Almost Here
If you are looking towards the spring real estate market as a time to put your home on the market, then now is the time to start the process. When the weather turns like it has, we can forget how close spring really is. Have you noticed that the sun is setting later? By the end of January we will have gained 48 more minutes of light each day. Now is a great time to start putting documents together for the heralded spring real estate market. Things to gather are repair documents, mortgage information, completed home improvements, and various warranties.

2. Change Your Water and Ice Making Filters
This is something that is so easy to forget about, but if you get ice and drinking water from your refrigerator, changing the filter can effect in the taste of your water and even your ice. These filters need changing at least twice per year, depending on the frequency of their use. Sometimes mold can form inside the filter and this obviously changes the taste of water.

To figure out what filter you need and how to replace it, I find that working backwards helps. Take your old filter out and bring it with you to buy the new filter. Once you remove the filter, the water will shut off automatically. It might be more economical to buy the water filter on-line, and you might as well order more than one. If you have problems locating or removing your filter, click here for some visual instructions.

3. Ponder the Possibility of Ice Dams
Believe me, now matter how glittery icicles are when the sparkle in the sun, you don’t want them hanging from your roof. After last year, most of us who live on the south shore of Boston know a lot more about ice dams than we wanted to. Ice dams and their attractive counterparts, icicles, form when your roof is covered with snow, and the attic is warmer than the outside air. The ice melts over your warm attic and refreezes when it reaches the cold overhang of the eaves. This in turn prevents the water on your roof from draining, causing icicles to form and sometimes water to freeze underneath your shingles and leak.

4. Take Your Attic’s Temperature
Your attic should not be warm and cozy, since this is part of how ice dams form. The home attic should be similar to the temperature outside. The warm air in our homes should be keeping us warm and staying on the floors below the attic, so now is the time to check your attic temperature and to make any adjustments that can keep your house safer from leaks. See if there are any air leaks up to the attic and if so, plug them with insulation. Check the attic ventilation for any blockages. You want the air to exchange with the outside.

5. Sharpen All Sharp Things
Sharpening kitchen knives is one of those things that I forget about in between the times I use them. I tell myself again and again that I have to sharpen these knives! And I don’t. Preparing food using sharpened knives is much safer and saves time. The reality is that I cannot tell you about one person I know who has ever gathered their knives and delivered them to a sharpener. That is why I think that Bobby Mac’s Mobile Sharpening Service is a great thing. He comes to your home and sharpens everything from kitchen knives, tools, and even scissors. You can call for an appointment (781) 242-9118 or check out his website first by clicking here.

6. Check Your Window Health
As the outside temperatures drop, windows can develop condensation. When the temperature of the glass in your windows goes down, any water vapor coming into contact with the cold glass causes water droplets to form. Make sure your humidity level is close to 40 percent inside of your house and that there is a way for the air to circulate. Sometimes this is easily accomplished simply by keeping bedroom doors open. If there are structural issues with windows, or poor seals, you can add some window insulation until the spring when you can better assess next steps.

7. Order More Fireplace Wood
Even if you don’t use it all this season, having some ready to go for next winter is good preparation. Make sure that you have an area set up to stack the wood where it does not come into contact with the wood on any structure. Keeping a woodpile outside is an invitation for chipmunks, mice and squirrels, among other things, but if you do keep it outside, appoint a place far from your house so that critters don’t get the wrong ideas. If you are storing wood in an out building, put a thicker tarp on the ground and make sure it is larger than the area it will take to stack your wood. Once the wood is stacked, you can pull up the sides and attach another tarp over the top.

8. Get Ready for the Super Bowl Now!
Get ready for the big game! Super Bowl Sunday falls on February 7th at 6:30 this year, so now’s the time to get ready for the ultimate game day.

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