February Home Maintenance Checklist

Amanda Oboza Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS

Winter can be extremely harsh to the health of your home.  Dropping temperatures and high winds can stress both the interior and exterior.  During these frigid days, it can be easy to find ourselves dreaming of more tepid climates.  In the meantime, while you are waiting for the warmer weather, take the next few weeks to take care of some tasks around the house.

Replace Furnace Filter
Furnaces have been working overtime with all the frigid weather this last week. To help ensure it is working to it’s maximum potential, replace the furnace filter. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to replace and can make a huge difference. 
 Clean and Vacuum Curtains or Blinds
Curtains can add a lot to the décor of your home, but they can also hold a lot of dirt and dust. It is important to regularly dust or vacuum your curtains or blinds using a feather duster, dusting cloth or damp cloth, or a smaller fabric attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If it has been a long time since you cleaned your curtains, you may want to wash them or have them dry-cleaned. 
 Check Caulking Around Showers And Bathtubs; Repair As Needed
Bathroom caulking does not last forever, and over time, it can crack and become discolored. If not repaired, it can lead to water damage. If you have old caulking in your shower or tub, you will need to remove the old caulk, clean the surface, and then apply new caulk. There are many tips and videos online to help you through the process. 
 Regularly Check for Ice Dams and Icicles
Ice dams and icicles form when water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your home’s roofline. If left unchecked, ice dams may grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. This can cause the water to potentially back up underneath roof shingles and leak into your home. To prevent ice dams, make sure to clean your gutters, ensure your downspouts are functioning properly, and keep your attic well insulated. You should also try to remove at least the lower 4 feet of snow from the roof edge immediately after every storm – a tool called a roof rake can be handy for this job.  
 Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that consumers test their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month to ensure they are properly working. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, be sure to get one. These should also be installed on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas.  
 Replace Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 
The National Fire Protection Association reports that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.  The batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be changed twice per year, so be sure to mark your calendar with the dates when you changed the batteries and when the next change is due. You can also mark the actual battery with the date you changed them out.