New year is a great time do indoor maintenance projects

For many, the new year means a fresh start and there is no better place to begin than inside the home. Your home is meant to last, but over time, simple wear and tear can result in inefficient systems and less-than-perfect conditions.

To keep your home looking and operating like the day you purchased it, home expert Lou Manfredini suggests a few easy maintenance projects that will make a big impact in the end.

? Give your baseboards the protection they need.

While adding a new coat of paint to your walls is always a good idea when maintaining your home, Manfredini also recommends you freshen up your baseboards, which often see the most wear and tear.

Wash them down using a pine-based cleaner, a little bit of warm water and a sponge to remove dirt and grime. Then touch up your baseboards with paint to protect them and keep them looking brand new.

Some speciality paint is washable and scratch resistant so it can withstand any busy home.

? Save thousands with a little bit of caulk.

Over time the excessive use of a bathtub or shower can lead to cracks in your grout and caulking. These cracks are not only unsightly, but can cause greater leakage problems costing you thousands of dollars if not fixed immediately.

The good news is this problem can be resolved easily and inexpensively. Manfredini recommends using silicone-based caulk, which ensures a fast-drying, smooth surface and creates a strong seal to prevent leakage. Start by peeling away the old caulk and making sure the surface is completely dry before re-applying.

? Become your own professional carpet cleaner.

With heavy traffic, household carpeting takes a beating almost daily, collecting dirt, grime, outdoor particles and plenty of dust. Not only are these items harmful to your health, they will wear down your carpeting?and do so quickly.

While it?s good practice to vacuum on a weekly basis, cleaning your carpeting every 90 to 120 days will give you a cleaner home and prolong the life of your carpeting.

Hiring a professional can be expensive, so Manfredini suggests you stop by your local hardware store to rent a carpet cleaning system for a fraction of the cost of having the work done professionally.

? Make sure the air you breathe is the best.

Anyone with allergies knows that air quality is very important. This applies inside the home as much as outside.

A great way to prevent bad air circulating in your home?and make sure your equipment is running efficiently?is by replacing the air filters in your forced-air furnace.

Manfredini recommends using pleated filters because they do a better job of filtering internal air. These filters are inexpensive and take about five minutes to replace.

? Keep your gutters free of clutter.

Clearing your gutters is the link to a dry home and it?s important to clean them out at least twice a year.

There are a number of options on the market that make the job easier. The Smart Screen 5-inch Aluminum Gutter Screen is a good option because it attaches to the front of the gutter, providing a permanent barrier to keep leaves, pine needles, debris, ice and snow from clogging.

Another leaf-blocking option is a flexible foam insert that blocks leaves and debris.

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