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12 New Year's Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make

Your home is probably your greatest asset and investment. Pledge to take good care of it in the new year.

By Maurie Backman| Dec. 28, 2022, at 1:28 p.m.

The start of a new year is a good time to establish different goals. And one of yours may be to keep your home in great shape. To that end, here are some homeowner resolutions to put on your list for 2023.

1. Conduct a Home Assessment

Your home has a lot of different facets. A good way to organize yourself for 2023 and know which items need to be addressed first is to do a thorough home assessment. Angie Hicks, chief customer officer at home improvement network Angi, says the best way to go about this is to pretend that you're a home buyer evaluating a property you're looking to purchase.

Walk through your home room by room and make a list of the problems you're seeing, she says. Then, group them into different categories.

Hicks says mechanical and structural issues should be grouped into one bucket, cosmetic issues into another and wish list items into a third. That way, if you're on a limited budget, you can prioritize where your money should go.

2. Build an Emergency Fund for Home Repairs

When you own a home, a lot can go wrong. And it's important to prepare for that financially.

Hicks says most people should expect to spend 1% to 3% of their home's value on annual maintenance and repairs. If you want to avoid unpleasant financial surprises, you may want to err on the higher end of that range.

"You don't want home to be stressful," Hicks says. Knowing you're equipped to pay for repairs can help you get more enjoyment out of your home.

3. Have Your Heating and Cooling Systems Maintained

"HVAC is one of those things you should not ignore," Hicks says. That's because a minor issue could escalate into a major one with these complex systems.

It's important to have your heating and cooling systems maintained at least once a year, and ideally, before their respective seasons kick in. If you get your air conditioner serviced in April or May, for example, you might get ahead of an issue that could leave you without cool air in July.

Also, regular HVAC maintenance could help you better budget for larger repairs that may be in your future. "A surprise expense is not going to be well received," Hicks says. If you find an issue during a maintenance appointment, you'll at least have a chance to save up for a repair.

4. Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly

Dirty HVAC filters can compromise the quality of your indoor air and make your heating and cooling systems work less efficiently. Generally, you should change your filters every 90 days.

Hicks advises all homeowners to keep extra filters on hand, especially in an age of continued supply shortages. "You can usually order three or four of them at a time," Hicks says. And that way, when you get a calendar reminder that it's time to change your filter, it becomes a five-minute task – as opposed to having to run out to the hardware store to get a replacement filter.

5. Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned Out

A clogged dryer vent can make your dryer work less efficiently. If you've noticed your clothing isn't drying as quickly as it once did, a dirty vent could be the culprit.

Plus, a clogged dryer vent could pose a fire hazard. So it's best to bring in a professional to clean it out once a year, according to Angi, or more frequently in some homes with heavy use. Besides having your dryer vent cleaned regularly by a professional, you can take proactive steps to prevent debris buildup and keep your dryer working efficiently while reducing the risk of it catching fire.

6. Test Your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Every homeowner needs smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. But it's not enough to just outfit your home with these safety devices – it's also important to make sure they're working properly.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors commonly come equipped with test buttons. Just hold the buttons down and wait for the beeps to make sure your units are working properly. And while you're testing, take a minute to remove accumulated dust that could compromise your devices' performance. And remember to replace the batteries regularly.

7. Clean Out Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to improper drainage, which can lead to water damage inside and outside of your home.

Aim to do a thorough gutter cleaning at least once a year. Hicks says you may want to hire a pro for that. Any time you're doing work that involves balancing on a tall ladder, there's the potential for injury. You may be better off outsourcing your gutter cleaning and avoiding that problem.

8. Make Sure Your Home Is Sealed Well

It's pretty easy to add insulation around doors and windows. Doing so could not only make for a more comfortable indoor environment, but also, save you money on heating and cooling bills. Hicks says you should check for air leaks once a year, and she has an easy system for doing so.

"Take a lit candle and walk by your window indoors," she says. "If it starts to flicker, you know you have too much draft coming through."

9. Clean Your Appliances

Debris that accumulates under, on top of, and around your appliances could cause them to work less efficiently. Hicks suggests cleaning your appliances thoroughly a few times a year, especially if you have pets. Pet hair can collect underneath your fridge in particular and compromise its performance.

10. Inspect Your Roof

A solid roof can protect your home from weather events and keep water out. Hicks says you should inspect your roof once a year, but you don't necessarily have to climb up there and put yourself at risk of injury. Instead, she says, walk around and look out for things like curling shingles, which will tell you that your roof needs work.

11. Have Your Fireplace and Chimney Cleaned and Inspected

Your fireplace and chimney can be a huge fire hazard if you don't maintain them properly. Have yours cleaned and inspected at least once a year – and possibly twice if you use your fireplace often.

12. Trim Your Trees

Trimming your trees is a good thing to do at least once a year. And actually, Hicks says that winter is the best time to do it.

Trees tend to be bare during the winter months, so it's easier to spot hanging limbs you should cut down. Plus, hanging tree limbs can be a problem during the winter. They can buckle under the weight of snow and cause damage to your property, and they can give squirrels and other critters direct access to your nice, warm attic. Neither is a good thing.

New Year, New You! Follow us weekly for more tips and tricks to keep up with your Homes maintenance.

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