Whether you're an experienced DIY enthusiast or simply aiming to enhance the comfort of your living space, contemplate incorporating these home improvement tasks into your January to-do list.

January presents a valuable chance to finally tackle those lingering home maintenance chores that have been on your agenda. By working your way through this checklist, you’re not only beginning the new year with a feeling of accomplishment but also guaranteeing that your home is functioning efficiently to meet your requirements. Whether you’re an experienced DIY enthusiast or simply aiming to enhance the comfort of your living space, contemplate incorporating these home improvement tasks into your January to-do list.

Change Water and Icemaker Filters

Take advantage of the cold weather outside as a reminder to establish a routine for replacing water filters in your kitchen sink or refrigerator ice maker. It is recommended to replace these filters every six months, so by doing it in January, you will be on track to repeat the process in June, just in time for the rising summer temperatures. Here’s a general guide: Shut off the water supply, remove the old filter, install the new one, reset the water filter sensor, and finally, run water through the filter to cleanse it before utilizing the filtered water. Keep in mind that the specific amount of water to be run through may vary depending on the manufacturer.

Clean your garbage disposal

The garbage disposal is just as important as the dishwasher when it comes to convenient kitchen appliances. It helps us clean up after meals quickly and easily, eliminating the need to scrape food waste into a trash can. However, it is essential to learn how to properly maintain and clean the garbage disposal, especially if you heavily rely on it. If you let it accumulate grime and dirt, it can negatively impact its functionality and result in unpleasant smells lingering in your kitchen.

  • First, switch off the garbage disposal and then unplug it from the electrical outlet. If needed, deactivate the circuit breaker linked to that section of the kitchen. Verify the power switch to ensure that the garbage disposal is completely without power. 
  • Add two cups of ice and one cup of kosher or rock salt to the garbage disposal. Activate the disposal and simultaneously open the cold-water faucet, ensuring a continuous flow of water as the ice and salt are being crushed.
  • Add half a cup of baking soda to the garbage disposal opening. Pour a cup of white vinegar and leave it for 10 minutes. Activate the garbage disposal and let hot water flush out the baking soda mixture.
  • Instead of using baking soda and vinegar, try using diced citrus peels. Take a small amount of peelings from a lemon, lime, orange, or any other citrus fruit. Grind the peels in a grinder, adding a few strips at a time, while the cold-water tap is running.

Check the roof

Take a good look at the roof from the ground, or use a ladder to get a better look. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Loose shingles-Shingles that are cracked or peeling are highly susceptible to tearing off when wind speeds surpass 60 miles per hour. While roofing companies provide warranty coverage for strong winds, the projected wind speed a roof can withstand is determined by its initial condition and regular upkeep.
  • Flashing-Examine the flashing surrounding chimneys, vents, and skylights to prevent potential leaks caused by damaged or poorly sealed flashing.
  • Gutters and Downspouts-blocked gutters and downspouts can lead to significant problems. This includes the formation of ice dams during snow and ice storms, as well as the accumulation of water and debris on your roof. If you prefer to clean your gutters and downspouts yourself, you have the option of using a leaf blower, hose, or scooping tool.
  • Vents-inspect all the vents in your house, which typically include those in your bathrooms, kitchen hood, and dryer. Ensure that these vents are in good condition and do not have any damage that could lead to water entering your home or obstruct proper ventilation. It is highly recommended to also examine the vents in your attic, if you have one, especially if you are experiencing any leakage problems. Occasionally, the vent may be disconnected or damaged between the roof and its intended venting location.

Clean Your Dryer’s Exhaust Vent

Obstructed or filthy dryer vents and ducts not only decrease the efficiency of your dryer, but they also pose a risk of fire due to the build-up of heat, lint, and dust. In reality, clogged dryer vents are responsible for numerous fires annually in the United States.

  • To begin cleaning a dryer vent, disconnect the dryer by unplugging it. In the case of a gas dryer, ensure to shut off the supply valve prior to cleaning.
  • Pull the dryer away from the wall about a foot to begin cleaning your dryer vent.
  • Disconnect the dryer duct from the back of the dryer. You may need to use a screwdriver to disconnect the vent clamp.
  • Clear the lint from the duct manually and then use a vacuum to clean the interior. If possible, utilize hose extensions to thoroughly vacuum the entire length of the duct.
  • Go outside the house and remove the exterior vent cover.
  • Clean out the dryer vent from the outside using a vacuum.
  • After completing the cleaning process, examine the ducts thoroughly to ensure they remain intact and comply with safety regulations. If necessary, replace the ducts.
  • Reattach ductwork and vent cover

Clean That Oven

The oven is a significant investment and a highly efficient appliance in your household. Maintaining its cleanliness can result in improved cooking performance and increased lifespan. While cleaning the oven may not be a task that excites many, it is actually much simpler than anticipated.

It can be challenging to remove stubborn grease and dirt that have been baked onto an oven, even if it has a self-cleaning function. If you require stronger cleaning capabilities or if you don’t have a self-cleaning appliance, here is a guide on how to clean your oven using three common ingredients found in the kitchen: baking soda, water, and vinegar.

  • Combine approximately 1/2 cup of baking soda with a sufficient amount of water to create a paste that can be easily spread. Gradually incorporate warm water into the baking soda until you achieve the desired thickness.
  • Apply the paste inside the oven using a regular clean paintbrush
  • Mix vinegar and water in equal amounts and put it in a spray bottle. Use this mixture to clean the inside of your oven. The vinegar will make the baking soda bubble up and remove the dirt. Spray generously on tough stains for better results.
  • Let the baking soda and vinegar foam sit in your oven or on stubborn spots for at least 12 hours before you wipe your oven out with a clean cloth and clear water. Overnight is best. Repeat if necessary.

Protect Your Pipes From Freezing

With the arrival of winter, it is crucial to be aware of ways to avoid pipes from becoming frozen. If water freezes within your pipes, it can lead to serious issues such as burst pipes or significant water damage. This can occur due to sudden drops in outside temperatures, insufficient insulation, or a thermostat set at a low temperature. Even the smallest cracks can initiate costly plumbing and water-related devastation. Therefore, it is important to take preventive measures to safeguard your pipes during the winter season. 

  • Make sure to seal or use caulk to close any gaps that could allow cold air to enter, particularly in areas where pipes extend from the inside to the outside of the house, such as dryer vents or water pipes.
  • Make sure to close the cut-off valves and drain any outdoor faucets. To provide additional protection during winter, consider using faucet covers.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The USFA recommends that smoke detectors undergo monthly testing and battery replacement should be done once or twice a year. To test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, all you need to do is press and hold the ‘Test Alarm’ button on the front panel of the alarm. The alarm will make a sound, confirming that it is functioning properly.

To sum up, 

January offers a great opportunity to address those long-standing home maintenance tasks that you’ve been meaning to get to. By going through this checklist, you’re not only starting the new year with a sense of achievement but also ensuring that your home is operating effectively to meet your needs. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or just looking to make your living space more comfortable, consider adding these home improvement tasks to your January to-do list.


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