Kudzu's Long Winter To-Do List

The weather outside can be frightful, which of course means you can turn your attention to maintaining your appliances and indoor systems.

This morning, Punxsutawney Phil, the world's furriest weatherman, saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Whether the spurious notion that a marmot can predict the weather is scientific, it's still cold enough outside to give him some credence. So, while the weather is still brutal, here is our 6-more-weeks-of-winter to-do list.

  Exterior, Basement & Foundation


   Check your home's crawlspace for water damage, animals, or other foreign matter.

  Interior & Appliance


   Look for leaks in toilet water feed and tank bottom.


    Clean your washing machine's water inlet filters. Check hoses and replace if leaking.

  • Why: Hoses that are near the end of their life span could rupture and cause water damage. Kinked hoses also could leak.

  • When: Winter & Summer

  • Who can help: If you have any questions, contact an appliance repair specialist.


   Trip circuit breakers and GFI's, or ground fault interrupters, monthly to insure proper protection

  • Why: You'll receognize the GFIs by the little buttons between the plugs on outlets located in spots where electrical shock hazards exist, such as in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink. They're designed to prevent electrical shock by "tripping," or breaking the current. So, it's clearly a good idea to push the test & reset buttons regularly to make sure they're working.

  • When: Every Month

  • Who can help: Contact an electrician if the GFI is not working properly.

  • Advice: How to hire an electrician | How your home's electrical system works


   Check for leaks around and under sinks, showers, and tubs.
Turn on the faucet and check for leaks in the pipes under the sink. Look for mold on shower walls that could indicate there's leakage behind them. And check for cracks in the grout where the tub meets the floor.

  • Why: Hidden leaks can, over time, cause damage to floors, ceilings beneath, or walls in adjacent rooms.

  • When: Winter & Summer

  • Who can help: Simply replacing cracked grout or caulk is a do-it-yourself job, but contact a plumber for help locating hard-to-find leaks.


   Replace or clean filters in furnace

  • Why: Filters prevent dust and other allergens from circulating through the ductwork. However, blocked filters can make a furnace work much harder, causing it to run less efficiently and possibly reducing its lifespan. And a dirty filter won't be as effective as a clean filter at blocking dust from eventually making its way into your living spaces.

  • When: Winter or every 3 months while furnace is used.

  • Who can help: This is a do-it-yourself job, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. HVAC pros can answer any questions you might have or you can schedule regular maintenance with them.

  • Advice: Services an HVAC contractor should perform | HVAC maintenance you should do yourself


   Clean grease filter from your range hood

  • Why: Dirty hood filters won't be able to prevent kitchen smells from being circulated throughout the house.

  • When: Each season.

  • Who can help: This is a do-it-yourself job, with some help from a degreaser. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations or contact an appliance repair pro for help.


    Clean out the refrigerator, wash door gasket, clean drain hole and pan, vacuum the condenser coils.

  • Why: Vacuuming the condenser coils will keep your refrigerator running efficiently.

  • When: Twice a year.

  • Who can help: This is a do-it-yourself job, but refer to your refrigerator's manual or manufacturer's Web site to find out specifics on how to do it. Or, contact a recommended appliance repair pro on Kudzu.com.

  Backyard & Landscape


   Spot treat any cases of winter weeds in warm-season turf & spread a crab-grass pre-emergent

  • Why: You must apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer before the crabgrass seeds germinate, which happens in the early spring when the temperature of the surface soil rises into the 50s and 60s. So, timing is critical.

  • When: Varies depending on the severity (or lack of severity) of the winter season where you live.

  • Who can help: Contact a lawn care company; they can help you analyze your lawn's needs and suggest when to spread pre-emergent.

  • Advice: How do I hire the right lawn care company? | Do I need a lawn analysis?

Happy Groundhog Day. 

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