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New Year Resolutions: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Home

Hammer and nails.A new year often begins with our best intentions of taking better physical care of ourselves. In an effort to increase stamina and improve longevity, we resolve to eat healthier foods and get more exercise. The advent of a new year is also a great time to take stock of your home’s physical condition – for the same reasons. A properly maintained and functioning home – like a well-maintained body – endures. Following are tips for keeping your home in tip-top shape this coming year. Need a pro to help? I’ve got several to recommend. Please see my comprehensive vendor list under the ‘What Dana Offers’ tab on my website.

  • Check exterior drainage. We’ve had lots of rain, with more on the way. If you’ve ignored puddles around your foundation and dripping gutters, now is the time to inspect. Look for loose connections and gutter-clogging debris. (Please have a spotter if you climb a ladder.) Consider a gutter netting system.
  • Inspect your roof for damage and leaks. Check metal flashing around your chimney and vents and check shingles for moss and mildew growth.
  • Clean chimney. We’re moving into our coldest season and your fireplace will no doubt get a workout. If you still have a wood burning version (a rarity now in California), and haven’t had it cleaned lately, this is the time.
  • Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house. Recent freezes have taken a toll on plants. Clear away dead shrubbery, not only for aesthetic reasons but to allow room for new growth so tendrils don’t work their way into cracks and holes in your home’s exterior.
  • Inspect your HVAC system. Make sure your heating system can take you through the next couple months, and get your cooling system checked at the same time. Change out your filters as necessary. For those with pets or allergies, every month. For others, every three months.
  • Change smoke/carbon dioxide detectors’ batteries. Why is it that the weak battery signal beeps only in the middle of the night? Head off this annoyance by replacing all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors’ batteries annually. If your detectors are more than ten years old, replace them altogether.
  • Pest inspection: Are you hearing strange noises underneath your house? Varmints are seeking warm retreats; don’t invite them in! Make sure every entry point and crevice is sealed. A pest control company can quickly take care of this.
  • Landscape and hardscape maintenance: Winter, while contractors are not as busy, is a great time to undertake landscaping projects. Fix concrete cracks or install a new walkway. Plant some flowering bulbs to help herald spring’s upcoming arrival.
  • Termite inspection: Every few years it’s wise to get an expert under your home to make sure you don’t have unwanted, wood-eating guests. An exterminator can also look for dry rot in all exterior surfaces and point out areas of concern that need maintenance.
  • Paint Check: Walk around the interior and exterior of your home. How is your paint? If the exterior is cracking, peeling, or fading, it’s time for new paint. If the interior is dirty, tired, scuffed, and dated, freshen-up with a fresh coat of paint.

Up next: tips from our own Linda Gidre, stager extraordinaire, on how to refresh your home’s interior.

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