Make us your home page
Homes | Planning out the new year, Part 2

Here's help for planning home projects, Part 2

We filled the first half of the calendar with home projects on Monday. Today, we look at the second half of the year. McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers


• Be sure your air conditioner's condensation drip tubes are flowing freely. If they're clogged, clear with wet/dry vacuum. To prevent mold in pipes, add a little chlorine bleach.

• Trim shrubs away from the heat pump compressor, and trim those blocking crawl space ventilation.

• Cut back tree limbs that are touching the roof.

• Flush your water heater as needed. Be sure to turn off the power before draining, and refill before restoring power.

• Open and close cutoff valves to sinks and toilets. You don't want to discover during a plumbing emergency that valves are stuck.


• If you smell a musty odor during peak air-conditioning season, check ducts for leaks. Repair leaks with mastic — not duct tape. Add programmable thermostat if you don't have one.

• Replace lightbulbs with compact fluorescents. Information:,


• Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace batteries. Information: and

• Caulk around windows and doors. If you're going to paint, choose a caulk that's paintable. Pay special attention to places where dissimilar materials such as brick and wood meet. Information:


• Add new sweeps to the bottoms of exterior doors as needed to block outside air. Use a candle to determine whether drafts are getting through gaps.

• Clean gutters. Use a hose to be sure downspouts are flowing freely; they can clog at bends.

• If your water heater is warm to the touch, and in an unheated garage or utility room, wrap it with an insulating blanket. Be sure the wrap doesn't interfere with the pressure relief valve.

• Check the depth of attic insulation, and make sure loose insulation isn't blocking soffit vents;


• Check your roof from the ground with binoculars. Replace or repair any curled or missing shingles. (If you find some that match, buy a few extra for next time.) Information:,, www.

• Seal holes in the foundation, especially spots around pipes and wires where rodents might enter.


• Create a fire escape plan. Be sure fire extinguishers are filled. Post the poison hotline number — toll-free 1-800-222-1222 — near the phone.

• Make sure everyone knows the location of the main water shutoff, and that you keep access clear. Show a neighbor where to find shutoff, too.

Where to go to find some help; click on "Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency."

Hiring a contractor:;

Whole-house surge protection: www.; www.this

Garage organizing: www.;; www.

Power washers: www.briggsand

How-to libraries:; www.home

Here's help for planning home projects, Part 2 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 4:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours