Barring the mountains, there are few places in California that experience sustained temperatures below freezing, even in the dead of winter. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for winter home maintenance. Keep reading for the top 10 home improvements and maintenance tasks that will keep your home cozy and comfy no matter the weather.

Clean the Gutters

The gutters collect debris, which can clog things up and increase your chance for damaging water intrusion. Clean your gutters at the beginning of each season. The Art of Manliness offers information on how to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Tune Up the HVAC

Your home’s HVAC system is one of its vital components. A non-functioning air conditioner can lead to indoor unpleasantness. Further, a lack of circulation may encourage the buildup of mold in damp areas. This is one project that you can’t tackle on your own, so find a professional for this and other jobs that require a license. Also, do your research first and check ratings and review to ensure you’re hiring the right people for the job.

Test the Hot Water Heater

Eighty-five percent of Americans live in a home with hard water. While this isn’t harmful to your health, a buildup of minerals can damage your water-using appliances, with the hot water heater being perhaps the most expensive to replace or repair. Limescale and calcium buildup in the hot water heater will reduce its efficiency and cut its useful life in half. Today’s Homeowner offers a step-by-step guide on how to drain your hot water heater and remove sediment.

Check the Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump, it’s responsible not only for protecting your home against flooding, but it also works to remove condensation left behind by your AC. Check the sump pump at least once a year. It’s a simple procedure that only requires a five-gallon bucket of water.

Inspect Windows for Cracks

Your windows allow natural light to permeate your home and give you a view of the outside world. However, unmaintained, they can also provide the perfect place for cool and warm air to sneak in and out of your home. Make a perimeter check and look at each window and glass door. Any broken glass should be replaced and cracked caulk sealed.

Safety Check the Electrical

Unless you’re a licensed electrician, you should never attempt an electrical inspection or repairs yourself. offers more information on reasons to hire an electrician.

Clear Lint from the Dryer Vent

If you have a short dryer vent, you can pull it from the dryer and clear it out yourself using a clean toilet brush. However, if your dryer duct is longer than just a few feet, you may need to hire a service to do it for you. The lint and debris that gets caught in the dryer hose and vent duct can cause a buildup of gases, which can cause a fire.

Remove Buildup from Shower Heads

Once each year, remove your shower heads, soak them in vinegar, and scrub to remove hard water deposits.

Repair Cracks in the Foundation

Take a walk around the outside of your home and repair any visible cracks or flaking mortar between the bricks. Contact a brick mason if you suspect the foundation may be compromised.

Eliminate Dust from the Air

Indoor air quality can be several times worse than that of the outdoors. The US National Library of Medicine explains that mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, household products, and invisible gases such as carbon monoxide and radon can have a negative effect on your health. One simple way to reduce some of the harmful particles permeating your lungs is to have the air vents cleaned at least once each year.

By paying attention to the details, you will be able to enjoy your home in the summer as well as the winter. DIY what you can but know your limits. Call a professional when complex problems arise or you may wind up paying for it.


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