9 Year-End Home Maintenance Tasks You Probably Forgot to Tackle



December is here and soon enough January will be in full swing. While many of us are preparing for holiday parties, it’s easy to push home maintenance projects off to the backburner. However, there are a few important tasks you should tackle before family arrives for the holidays—or it’s just too cold to be bothered with it.

Consider the following these 9 home maintenance tasks to help make life easier this winter (and upcoming spring):

Task #1: Clean the Chimney

Ew, right? Even though cleaning the chimney is about as unglamorous as it gets, there are several reasons why you should make sure you clean your chimney. If you didn’t get around to it last year, there is a good chance that there is soot and built-up creosote. Even a small amount of creosote poses a risk for a chimney fire, which no one wants to deal with any time of year.

Professionals recommended that your chimney should be cleaned and inspected once per year, especially if you use your fireplace on a regular basis.

Task #2: Fix Your Rickety Porch Handrail

When you live in a place with a lot of snow and ice, it’s all too easy to lose your balance and take a fall. If there is a handrail nearby, we might be able to save ourselves from potentially serious injury.

But wait—the handrail on your porch is wobbly. You caution guests to not lean on it in fear that it might fall over. This is a bad situation all around, and it’s even worse in the winter.

Before you have company come over for Christmas, head outside with your tool kit and fix those handrails so they’re nice and sturdy. After all, no one wants a broken ankle for Christmas.

Task #3: Get Those Gutters Cleaned Out

Summer came and went and you didn’t clean out your gutters. Autumn blew by without you stepping foot on the ladder, and now your gutter system is packed to the brim with leaves and debris.

This is one of the year-end maintenance tasks that you do not want to forget. Clogged gutters can lead to all kinds of complications, including foundational damage, roof damage, and one of winter’s biggest woes: ice dams.

One of the reasons ice dams occur is because of buildup in the gutter system. If standing water inside the gutters become frozen, ice dams will form. Ice dams can become massive and easily pull the gutter system away from your roof.

Before long-term freezing temperatures settle in, make your way outside and clean out those gutters.

man cleaning chimney

Task #4: Check Windows and Doors for Drafts

Feel cold air making its way indoors? It’s time to take action. It’s only going to get colder, and drafty windows and doors might be costing you hundreds of dollars this winter season.

If you have drafty windows and doors, there are two options. You can buy some self-adhesive weatherstripping from the local home improvement store. This is a good choice if you have very small drafts and your windows aren’t very old.

If you have excessive drafts and your windows are essentially failing, you’ll need to replace. This also applies to the entry door. Drafty windows and doors collectively cost homeowners millions of dollars per year. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on something else?

Task #5: Replace Your Furnace Air filter

This is yet another tedious task, but replacing your air filter yield several benefits. It can enhance the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, and it can also make the air you breathe in your home even cleaner. This is helpful for homeowners who suffer from allergies as well.

Task #6: Check Your Attic Insulation

Can’t shake the chill in your home? The problem may lie within your attic. It’s easy to overlook attic insulation, but you’ll surely feel it if it’s in low supply.

Nearly 25% of your home’s energy is lost through the roof. Attic insulation can keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If you don’t have enough attic insulation, you’ll need to schedule an appointment for installation.

How do you know if you have enough attic insulation? A quick check with your eyes might be telling enough. If you can see parts of the floor through your insulation, you’ll need to upgrade with new as soon as possible.

man laying attic insulation

Task #7: Disconnect Outdoor Hoses

No one wants to deal with water freezing with outdoor hoses. Now is the time to disconnect those hoses and avoid a lot of headaches come springtime. Wind them up and put them in a place such as your garage for safekeeping.

Task #8: Banish Critters from Your Home

During the coldest months of the year, small animals look to find a new home within your home. Stay on the lookout for small animals like squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. Mice only need a hole that’s about ¼” in diameter to squeeze through. Make sure your basement window screens are intact and rodents can’t get through vents.

Task #9: Beware of Potential Fire Hazards

This might be the most important task you tackle in December, and your life literally depends on it. Make sure that you unplug holiday lights when you aren’t home, don’t leave candles unattended, and keep flammable items away from your stove when you’re cooking.

candles burning

We hope that this home maintenance list helps you to tackle those last minute projects. Otherwise, enjoy the holidays and take it easy after you’ve finished the list!