Make Proper Home Maintenance Your New Year's Resolution: 7 Tasks to Complete Next Year

by Matt Schmitz
A man holds his New Year s resolutions in hand in front of the Christmas tree and circles home maintenance as the one he intends to accomplish

Fewer people are making New Year’s resolutions, according to a recent survey from Baltimore-based health and wellness firm Medifast — with just 44% of adults planning one for this year. And is it any wonder? Trotting out all the typical abstract, overly optimistic objectives like “get in shape” or “read more” (who has the time?), or “save money” (easier said than done), or “be a nicer person” (how’s that workin’ out for ya?), we may as well resolve to rub a genie out of a lamp to grant us three wishes … and then use our first wish to wish for more wishes.

This May Also Interest You: 11 Home Maintenance Tasks and Repairs to Complete Before Holiday Guests Arrive

But making a New Year’s resolution to start keeping up with basic home maintenance tasks you’ve been neglecting partially or entirely for as long as you can remember? Now, that’s a self-improvement promise you’re capable of keeping — and it could even help you with at least one of those other resolutions (saving money).

Whether you’re ringing in the new year or just trying to make it through the current one, HomeServe’s here to help you help yourself. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a holiday honey-do list of home maintenance tasks that we think:

  • You should be doing
  • You can do
  • Will improve your home life and boost your self-confidence

Here are seven ways you can resolve to take better care of your home in the new year:

1. Change Your HVAC Filter

Changing out the filter in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is one of the simplest, yet most vital, home maintenance tasks you can do. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most neglected. When you replace the filter regularly — every three months, at least — you can reduce your energy bills, improve air quality and extend the life of your HVAC unit. Check this one off the list, and you’ll literally be breathing easier in the new year.

2. Drain Your Water Heater

You’ll be shocked — and probably more than a little grossed out — when you see the filth that flows out of your water heater when you drain it, especially if you’ve neglected it for far too long. That’s because silt, sediment and other stuff builds up over time and settles in your water heater. Draining and flushing it regularly (once a year is generally advisable) will not only improve the efficiency of your system but extend the life of this vital household appliance, saving you money in the long run and helping prevent an outage when you least expect it — like when you have a house full of holiday houseguests, a sink full of dirty dishes, a hamper full of used towels and no hot water for showers.

3. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils

When’s the last time you cleaned your fridge coils? Let’s rephrase that: Have you ever cleaned your fridge coils? No shame here. We assume the answer is no … but it’d be a lot cooler if you did. Once you get underneath or behind your refrigerator and see the caked-on crud covering your condenser coils, you’ll understand why cleaning them every six months helps your fridge release heat more efficiently, preserving your perishables, prolonging the life of your icebox and saving you money. Come next year, you'll have the bubbly nice and chilled for your midnight toast.

4. Clean Your Oven

You’ll find that even clean households often have filthy ovens — their kitchen’s dirty little secret lurking behind that groaning metal door. But the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind factor only goes so far — right up to the point you’re setting off the smoke alarm to warm up those hors d'oeuvre for your New Year’s Eve party. You’ve got two choices: You can either roll up your sleeves and scrub away the grime before your guests arrive … or you can over-index on shrimp cocktail, crudité and pickled herring.

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5. Seal Drafty Windows

A leaky window isn’t just a cold-weather concern. Whether it’s letting the frigid winter air seep in and your heated air out, or the humid summer air in and the conditioned air out, insulating your home’s windows will stabilize your interior climate, help your HVAC system run more efficiently and (it always comes down to money, doesn’t it?) save you some cash on your utility bills. There are many ways to achieve this that don’t involve a pricey window replacement — caulking cracks, applying weatherstripping, placing draft snakes in front of the window and using thermal curtains — but a quick way to seal you up for the season on the cheap is to apply a plastic film over your problem window. So, after you call it a wrap on this year, put a wrap on your windows next year.

6. Unclog Your Sink Drains — Once and For All

Is your bathroom sink a slow drainer? It’s all that hair, spat-out toothpaste, washed-off makeup and all the other dreck you put down the drain that accumulates and jams up the works. But a simple, superficial clog doesn’t require a pricey emergency plumber call. You can do it yourself: Get under your sink, pop off the pipe and clean out your P-trap literally in a matter of minutes. Do that, and you’ll have one less obstruction to a productive new year.

7. Keep Up-to-Date on Recalls

From cars to meat, federal safety recalls happen all the time for consumer goods of all kinds — and common household products are no exception, be they furniture, appliances, toys or “other.” A lot of people simply ignore these notices either because they don’t feel like dealing with them or because they don’t know how. Go through recent recalls to ensure your family’s new year remains something truly worth celebrating: safe!