January's Checklist includes the following:
- Organize your home improvement files. Review warranties and product manuals to check on recommended maintenance for furnaces, equipment, appliances and tools. Mark your calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.
- Inspect furniture, cabinets and vanities for loose knobs, pulls and hinges. Tighten or repair as necessary. Lubricate squeaky door hinges with lightweight machine oil. Free sticky doors by trimming edges or shimming hinges with thin pieces of cardboard.
- Fix squeaks in floors and stairs by applying weight to the area (having a partner stand on it works) and driving an 8d or 12d galvanized finish nail through the flooring into a floor joist or stringer. If you have access to the floor from underneath, glue and screw backs to the floor or treads and to the joist or stringer.
- Look for bargains on discontinued appliances and tools. Before buying, make sure that warranties are valid.
- Make a room-by-room inventory of everything in your house. In the event of fire, flood or other disaster, it will be important in filing an insurance claim. Photographs or video of your possessions can also be helpful.
- Don't close vents to crawl spaces. If you live where pipes can freeze and the floor becomes very cold, insulate pipes and under the floor. Vents play an important role in controlling condensation beneath a house.
- Double-check insulation around exterior pipes that are exposed to freezing weather to be certain that water cannot seep under the insulation.