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Now that the new year is in full swing, it’s time to make (and actually stick to...) some New Year’s resolutions — maybe you’ve been putting some of them off since, well, January 2020. While last year threw many of us for a loop and presented all of us with unexpected and challenging situations, we’ve made it to a new year. A new year means a fresh start and hope for better months ahead. And there’s no greater time than now to make sure that your body, mind, and home are prepared for the year ahead. 

At American Water Resources, we want to provide you with the peace of mind and assurance you need during these difficult times. We want you to feel confident in the fact that you and your home are 1) prepared for the months to come, and 2) covered in case of an unexpected problem with a vital line, system, or appliance in your family’s home.

We can help with our variety of affordable home warranties to cover things like your water and sewer lines, heating and cooling systems, and much more. To see what plans are available in your neck of the woods, visit our homepage and enter your ZIP code. You’ll be presented with protection plans you may be eligible for, as well as specific pricing for your area.

We’ve put together the following task checklist to help you be sure your home is prepared for the months ahead.

Task #1: Maintain your heating and cooling systems.

You should schedule annual tune-ups for both your furnace and air conditioner. It’s recommended to get these systems checked ahead of the peak heating and cooling seasons. If you haven’t already scheduled your furnace maintenance this heating season, take care of it ASAP — we still have many cold days ahead.

As for your air conditioner, a tune-up appointment would be preferable in May or June. This way, you can rest assured knowing your home will be cool and comfortable before the dog days of summer arrive.

Why is it so important to schedule maintenance appointments for these systems? During a tune-up, the trained and experienced technician sent to your home will thoroughly inspect all components inside the units to be sure everything is working both safely and as efficiently as possible. If a problem is detected during the appointment(s), it can hopefully get taken care of before resulting in a breakdown of your system on a day when you need it the most.

Task #2: Check for humidity and mold/mildew problems.

This is an often-overlooked task for homeowners, but it’s definitely not something that should be disregarded. If you have problems with humidity levels in your home, it can result in your family feeling uncomfortable in any season of the year. If humidity levels are too low, you could suffer from itchy, dry skin and poor indoor air quality. If humidity levels are too high, it can foster the development of dangerous mold and mildew.

Both problems can easily be resolved with a humidifier/dehumidifier, depending on what the specific problem is in your home. However, while low indoor humidity levels can be annoying, this issue likely doesn’t cause as much damage as humidity levels that are too high.

If your home suffers from excess humidity, check for areas where mold could be growing, such as in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Mold is a fungus that requires three things to live — moisture (humidity), organic materials to feed off of, and oxygen. These are things often found in the above-mentioned areas of your home. Mold is a problem that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible since when it is growing, it releases spores into the air that your family breathes. This can cause a variety of serious health problems for your loved ones, including respiratory problems, headaches, skin rashes, and more.

If you notice mold/mildew growth in your home, contact a remediation company immediately for assistance with controlling the problem.

Task #3: Check for unwanted pests/critters in your home.

During the winter, it isn’t uncommon for mice, raccoons, squirrels, etc. to make a home inside your walls, attic, or even inside of your AC unit. Check for warning signs of critter infestation by making note of any chew marks on surfaces that you see, as well as droppings, or signs that a nest is being built. If you notice any of these scenarios in your home, contact a pest control company for assistance. Do not try to remove animals on your own as it can be dangerous if you aren’t trained in proper removal techniques.

Task #4: Perform a visual inspection of your roof and gutters.

Snow and ice storms, as well as the brutal winds that come with winter, can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior, and this includes your roof and gutter system. It’s important for you to occasionally perform a visual inspection of the roof and gutters of your home and make note of any damage that you see. Missing/damaged shingles will need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible before moisture from melting snow, ice, or spring showers causes water damage to your roofing panels. This moisture can eventually make its way into your attic and lead to other issues, such as mold growth.

Additionally, if you notice that there are parts of your gutter system that are bent, broken, or otherwise missing, get the issue taken care of immediately, before it can lead to irreparable damage to your siding, and soil intrusion which could lead to your home’s foundation shifting and/or settling. That problem could lead to serious structural issues that may be expensive to get fixed. Repairing/replacing damaged gutters is MUCH less expensive and time-consuming!

Task #5: Check the seal around window and door frames.

Regardless of what season it is, it’s important to be sure that you have adequate weatherstripping around your window and door frames. This helps keep conditioned air inside your home where it belongs, and it also helps keep hot/cold air out.

You can perform this simple test to check for air leaks: Move your hand around your window and door frames. If you notice any areas where you can physically feel air passing through, it could be a sign that those spots need to be sealed.

Proper weatherstripping around these frames could help your heating and cooling systems to run less, meaning potentially less expensive energy bills each month.

Want more homeowner tips?

Be sure to check back at the AWR blog often! We offer a variety of tips and tricks for homeowners to keep their most valuable asset — their home — protected throughout the year.