New Year Home Maintenance Checklist

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Get a head start on the New Year by doing 10 simple home maintenance tasks that’ll make your home feel like new! Best of all, they’re easy to do.

Replace Smoke/CO Detector Batteries

The beginning of the year is a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s easy to remember and could save your life.

Even if the old batteries don’t expire for several years, replace them with brand-new ones. Remember: Carbon monoxide is impossible to see, taste, or smell. Having fresh batteries is much, much more valuable than saving a few cents.

You can use the older batteries in something else if you’d like, but it’s simply not worth risking your life just to squeeze the most out of a couple of batteries.

Replace Old Detectors Entirely

If your smoke detectors are 10 years or older, replace them entirely. Most detectors have a manufacture date on them, so be sure to check their age when you change the batteries.

If you use combination Smoke/CO detectors, you should replace them entirely every 5 years or so.

Again, don’t try to extend the life of these detectors. Doing so could put your life at risk, and your life is worth more than the $50 you’d save by not replacing these detectors.

Drain Your Water Heater

Draining your water heater is important for preventing sediment buildup. Sediment buildup can reduce the life of your water heater by forcing it to work harder.

Use the 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10) guide to draining your water heater to lengthen its life today!

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Unstick Door Locks With Graphite

If you have sticky door locks, use graphite to lubricate them. There are two easy ways to do this.

  1. Simply rub a pencil’s “lead” (which is really graphite) on the lock surface. Then, insert the key and turn it a few times to distribute the graphite.
  2. Purchase graphite powder spray and squirt some into the lock. Then, insert the key and turn it a few times to distribute the graphite.

One method to avoid is using WD-40 in a lock. WD-40 is great for lots of other small projects, but it’s more likely to gum up locks by collecting dust than to lubricate them.

Caulk Windows & Weather-Strip Doors

Over time, the caulking around your windows and weather-stripping under your exterior doors will degrade. When you feel drafts near a window or door, it may be time to recaulk or install new weather-stripping.

Use the comprehensive guides from Energy.gov to choose the right caulk and weather-stripping for your needs.

Clean Coils & Replace Filters

Some of your home’s most important systems and appliances need their coils and filters cleaned or replaced regularly.

Make sure you’re changing your HVAC filters according to your system’s maintenance manual (generally, every 1–3 months). Get guidance on how to change your HVAC filters here.

Your refrigerator’s condenser coils also need maintenance. Over time, dust, grime, and pet hair can accumulate on the coils, making it work harder to keep things cool. That can lead to breakdowns.

To clean the coils, take the following steps:

  1. Unplug the fridge.
  2. Locate the coils. They’ll likely be on the back of the unit or on the bottom.
  3. Vacuum the coils to remove loose debris.
  4. Use a condenser coil brush or old toothbrush to remove caked-on debris.

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Prevent Drain Clogs

There are several ways to prevent drain clogs. The most important is knowing what you should never put down a drain. Check out our guide, 10 Things to Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal, for tips on things to never put in your drain.

Here are a few other things you can do to prevent drain clogs.

  1. Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down your drain to remove debris.
  2. Clean your sink regularly.
  3. Pour hot—not boiling—water down your drain to melt congealed fats and greases.

A note on hot water: Be sure to avoid pouring boiling water down the drain, especially if you have PVC pipes. Boiling water can melt the PVC and cause problems down the line.

Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter

If your refrigerator dispenses drinking water, you should change the filter every six months. Different refrigerator models have different filters and methods for changing, so consult your model’s maintenance manual.

Check Your Washer & Dryer

There are a couple of things to check on your washer and dryer.

For your washer, make sure it’s level and balanced. Check for any damage to the hose lines, and replace as necessary.

For the dryer, clean out the duct, which is different from the lint trap. The dryer duct is usually attached to the back of the dryer. Detach it and vacuum the entry and exit points.

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Purchase or Renew Your 2-10 Home Service Plan

If you haven’t already, the New Year is a great time to purchase or renew your 2-10 Home Service Plan.

A 2-10 Home Service Plan protects your budget against unexpected breakdowns to systems and appliances caused by routine use. It also gives you access to local, trusted contractors who can help you diagnose and solve breakdowns, which provides peace of mind all year.

Protect more,
pay less with 2-10

Low-cost home service plans.

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Protect more,
pay less with 2-10

Low-cost home service plans.

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