January Home Maintenance To-Do List

Home improvement expert Danny Lipford.
Home improvement expert Danny Lipford.

Before settling down in front of the fire for a long winter’s nap, there are a few important home maintenance chores that need to be taken care of first!

From changing water filters to compiling a home inventory, our January home maintenance tasks focus on some often neglected areas that will really give your home a fresh start in the new year.

Hand holding glass of water under faucet
©rcfotostock – stock.adobe.com

To-Do #1: Change Water and Icemaker Filters

The disposable filters in your water filtration system and icemaker need to be changed at least twice a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

When filters become clogged, the flow of water slows and can allow mold to form inside the filter. Most water filters are easy to change, either by removing a screw-on cover or pressing a release tab. Be sure to take the old filter with you to the store, so that you can buy the correct replacement.

If you don’t have a water filter in your home, consider:

  • Water Filtration Pitcher: With no installation required, filtration pitchers have you drinking filtered water in a flash by pouring water into the pitcher through a filter mounted in the lid.
  • Faucet Mounted Water Filter: These units screw directly onto the end of your kitchen faucet, replacing the aerator with a valve that directs the water through the filter or out the faucet as desired.
  • Countertop Mounted Water Filter: These larger filters are less likely to clog than faucet filters. They screw directly onto the faucet, with a tube connecting to the filtration unit on the counter.
  • Under Sink Mounted Water Filter: These filters install under your sink and connect to a separate water dispenser installed next to the sink faucet. They require some plumbing and cutting a hole in your sink or countertop if one isn’t already available.
  • Icemaker Filter: These may come built into your fridge or can be added to the water line supplying your icemaker.
  • Whole House Water Filter: These units attach to your main water line and filter all the water entering the house. They generally only filter out rust and sediment.

Tub and shower after remodel

To-Do #2: Clean Bathroom Tub and Sink Drains

Over time, hair and debris can build up in your bathroom drains, impeding the flow and causing water to back up into your tub or sink. Not only is this unpleasant, it lets dirty water to stand in your sink or tub, allowing mold and mildew to grow both in the basin and in the pipes.

To clean a tub or sink drain, you’ll first need to remove the drain assembly and any drain grates covering the drain opening. Clean these with an old toothbrush and paper towel.

Next, insert a plastic drain stick into the overflow drain, then again in the main drain. A drain stick is about two feet long and is barbed or bristled to remove hair and gunk inside the pipe. Work the stick up and down, then carefully draw out debris and wipe it off with a paper towel.

Once the drains are clear, pour a cup of bleach down the drain, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to kill any mold and mildew in the pipes. Finally, flush the drain thoroughly with hot water, and reinstall the drain assembly and grate.

Now that your drains are flowing freely again, get out your sponge and cleaners to give your tub and sink a good scrub!


  1. I heard that all(?) bathroom sinks can have their top part unscrewed. I tried with some force (didn’t want to break anything) but it seemed pretty solid. Can I unscrew it with no problem so I can more easily clean the drain. Thanks

  2. I am unsure how I received an email, but I am honored to have received it. I love the show and all the tips. I can’t wait to check out your sites.


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