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New year, new start

by Cathy Hobbs | January 15, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Are you using your home in the most energy-efficient way? (Dreamstime/TNS)

Now that a new year has arrived, for many, it may signal a time to finally tackle some of those long-held-off projects around the house.

In general, when it comes to your home, there are maintenance tasks that you can and should do to preserve its look and efficiency that can also help bring you peace of mind.

Looking to take on some maintenance tasks to kick off the new year? Here is a quick-start checklist to get you on track.

1. Check your electricity usage and loads. Ask yourself: Are you using your home in the most energy-efficient way? Are your appliances working in a way that provides adequate output while not wasting energy resources?

2. Check for leaks and openings. As winter hunkers down in certain parts of the country, this also means water elements such as snow and ice. Help maintain your house by making sure openings and gaps are shored up.

3. Prioritize and list home improvement projects. So many homeowners wait until they are faced with a long list of to-dos before making an action plan. Now is a good time to take a look around your home and make a wish list for the year.

4. Check windows and doors. During winter months there is a need to keep cold temperatures out and in summer months, to keep cool temperatures in. Summer is a good time to consider upgrading or replacing doors and windows.

5. Check the quality and integrity of key items such as HVAC systems, generators, battery backups, wells and septic tanks. Should core items fail during the heart of winter, it may be difficult to correct. Be proactive.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at

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