Winter home maintenance reminder checklist

Well, friends, it's that time of year again. Time for us to vow to do better, be healthier, start that IRA account.  How many of us will actually follow through? The numbers are dismal. We have the best of intentions, but then... reality intercedes.

There are some things we need to do for real reasons--to protect our investment in our homes, for instance. There are lots of lists available for annual chores that are important to proper upkeep. Some of those are so unrealistic. Others are inappropriate for Georgia, such as inspecting your tire chains.

What are some of your annual to-do's? Are you preparing for winter weather? Do you have a seasonal checklist of chores to be done? We have compiled a list of some of the jobs we think are the most realistic for an Atlanta area homeowner while being important as well:

~~Inspect and change your HVAC filters. I know, you've been meaning to get around to it. Me too. I wish it were more accessible! They are so darn inconvenient! Wouldn't it be nice if these could be in your laundry room? I sure would change mine more often if I didn't have to climb up into the attic to do it. And by the way, lots of research suggests that it is better for your HVAC system to use cheaper filters and change them more often (monthly), than to use the expensive filters and change a few times a year.

~~Inspect and update your fire extinguishers. Make surethat you and other family members have easy access to them. (We find it more of a challenge to put out the fire when you are digging through the bottom of the broom closet for the extinguisher!) Your extinguishers are dated and show an expiration date. Also, be sure they are properly pressurized.

~~Test and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Did you take the batteries out of your smoke alarm because you were burning a lot of candles at Thanksgiving dinner, because the alarm kept going off? Time to replace them!

~~And while you are replacing batteries, gather and test all the flashlights in the house, and replace any batteries that have died. The next power outage (and there will be one) you'll be so glad you did this!

~~Inspect the weather proofing around doors and windows and replace it where needed. This will cut down on those cold drafts, and save on your heating bill.

~~Is it time to reseal the grout in your bathroom? Be sure and get it clean and dry before applying the sealer. And next time you have a project done involving grout, ask us to use Fusion Pro grout. It is a single component grout that resists mold and mildew, and never needs resealing. We highly recommend it!

~~Flush your hot water heater and remove the sediment. I confess I have never done this and would not know where to start. All the lists have this as an important annual chore, so I am including it. Time to check You Tube videos for a How To!  ~~One chore that I have done (maybe not once a year) is to vacuum the coils under the refrigerator. This helps the fridge run better, saves power, and makes you feel productive. Not to mention, you may find something that's been missing for a while.

~~As it is the end of the year, you should also keep the dreaded T word in mind.....Taxes.  As you are cleaning and sorting, remember to gather and sort all your stray receipts. As good as your intentions and attempts have been all year, there are always a few that didn't make it into the box or files where you normally keep them.

~~Purge a few closets in the house so that you can make a donation to a charity that collects for those in need. Did youbuy too many French cut green beans when they were on sale? Some food pantry would be happy to have them. They help so many people, and are always in need, so please- clean out your pantry and donate! And did you get a new winter coat this year? There is always a need for coats, warm clothing, blankets, and especially socks. Animal shelters are always very appreciative of sheets and towels, too.

So, if you are ready to part with anything, if your closet needs to be pared down, remember someone can use your cast-offs. As Marie Kondo says, if your possessions are no longer serving you, allow them to serve someone else.  

And keep checking off the chore list. There will be some of these that you don't need to do, others that you may want to add. If we have missed something, we'd love to hear your input! For your home's safety and well-being as well as your own and that of your family, tend to these annual "honey-do's" and then go play. You will be happier for having done it.

Design Tip
Circles will be increasingly popular in 2018.  Look for this geometric pattern in accessories like pillows, rugs, mirrors, and wallpaper.

How Much Does It Cost?
We just installed 319 square feet of top-of-the-line luxury vinyl (COREtec HD) in a kitchen with breakfast area, foyer, and half bath.  This easy to care for waterproof floor was installed for $3000, which included removal of the existing floor coverings, moving appliances and toilet, new shoemold and transitions.  Our client is thrilled with this worry free new floor.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Damon in Marietta writes that "Enhance Floors was professional and on time, and they did excellent work. I purchased new hardwood floors for the entire main level of my home and it was a really great job. They did what they said they were going to do when they said they would do it, and they cleaned up afterward. We have pets, and there were no issues with keeping doors closed. They were just very reliable and easy to work with. I'd use them again in a heartbeat."  Thank you Damon---enjoy your new distressed wood floors.  The low gloss finish was a smart choice to hold up well with your boys and animals.