“Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party.” I am not quite sure I agree with Robin Williams when he said that. Let’s be honest, the first thing we think of, besides the beauty of nature, is SPRING CLEANING. Yuck! The only two people I could imagine hosting a party in celebration of cleaning are Danny Tanner and Mr. Clean (And they are fictional).
Do you know why spring inspires cleaning? It’s due to the fact that the sun comes out and exposes the dirt and damage that winter and lack of care left behind. Spring is also a great time for cleaning because it reminds us of renewal and revival and we tend to apply it in all areas of our lives. But, before I get to deep into the human psychology of spring, let’s take a look at how incorporating home maintenance into your spring cleaning can be the best defense against future damage and potential insurance claims.
We all know home maintenance can be a tough feat to tackle, but just as essential as maintaining your health, tackling these simple tips can save you time, money and headaches on major repairs in the future. Look with me at some maintenance recommendations for spring that will ensure we have healthier, safer and longer lasting households.
Be sure to shut off the power when working with or cleaning electrical appliances and we always recommend you read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular appliances
1. Inspect Your Roof
Whether you have concrete tiles, metal or shingles, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against water damage. (and we all know FL=RAIN) Now is the time to inspect for and repair any water damage. If you delay you could find yourself dealing with water damage inside your home as well.
2. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters direct rain away from your home, protecting both in the process. Clogged gutters, meanwhile, open your home up to water damage—and there’s a good chance you won’t notice the damage until its pouring into your living room.
3. Clean or Replace Your HVAC Filters
Get in the habit of doing this every month or so. A dirty filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, which in turn, drains your wallet. It could also shorten the life of your blower motor. (You could save even more with reusable filters)
4. Clean Your Dryer Vent
I bet you didn’t know that the dryer lint trap only catches about 60 percent of the lint created by your dryer or that our clothing dryers causes more than 15,000 home fires each year. Not only does lint escape through to the dryer vent, stick to itself and accumulate until it clogs, but small clothing items like socks can sneak through and block the vent completely. Small animals even find this warm place a great location to build a nest. Check it and save yourself from higher energy costs, having to replace the dryer altogether or even a potential fire.
5. Check the Washing Machine Fill Hose
Look for cracks that could become leaks. Also check for corrosion. A leaky hose, under pressure, can cause major damage in a short period of time.
6. Clean and Repair Your Screens
You can gently scrub your screens with soapy water to clean them. This, along with regular replacement of broken screens will allow for optimum use of your screened windows and porches. Utilizing these areas during the cooler months will fill your home with fresh air and reduce your energy costs even more when it is cooler outside.
7. Clean Your Decks, Driveways, Fences and Other Outside Surfaces
A pressure washer makes the work much easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or rent one from a local home center. While you’re cleaning, inspect for damage that needs mending and/or determine if your deck needs to be refinished.
8. Fix Cracks in your Walks, Driveway and the Outside of Your Home
There’s a good chance a few cracks have appeared in your driveway and walkways where small weeds have started to grow. Remove the plants first, then get that handy pressure washer out again and rid the area of dirt and grime. For repairs, a basic concrete resurfacer will work if you have a concrete driveway or a coat of latex asphalt sealer if you have an asphalt driveway.
9. Repair Any Cracked or Peeling Paint
A good paint job makes your home aesthetically pleasing while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive. You may even consider pressure washing the house while you have the neighbor’s machine.
10.Vacuum Your Refrigerator Coils
When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can't efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge. Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum.
11. Replace the Batteries in Your Smoke Detectors
You never know when you will need them. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now.
12. Prepare Your Lawn Mower (for most of us, it's ready all year long)
Change the oil and sharpen the cutting blade. You will lengthen the life of the mower and improve the look of your lawn.
13. Check Seals Around Windows and Doors
The greatest source of wasted heating and cooling energy in a home is air leaks. Caulking and weatherstripping are effective ways to rid your home of these costly leaks. Sealing around windows also greatly decreases the possibility of interior damage from water intrusion. You might consider other options like sealants in aerosol spray form or installing foam gaskets behind wall outlet plates.
14. Clear Vegetation Around Your AC Compressor
On the exterior of your home you will find the AC unit and to access the condenser/compressor on most units, you will need to remove the fan cage. By hand, using a wet or dry vacuum, clean the leaves and other debris from the interior. Once finished, replace the cage and be sure to rake back leaves and debris from outside the condenser and cut back branches at least two feet in all directions to ensure proper air flow. (If you are feeling a little more DIY encouraged, research methods for cleaning and straightening the AC unit fins)
15. Drain Your Water Heater
Don’t wait until your water heater stops working to give it a second thought. Over time, naturally occurring minerals in the water, as well as sand and grit, get flushed from municipal water lines and can settle at the bottom of your tank. This sediment build-up can potentially reduce the efficiency and capacity of your water heater. First turn off water supply and water heater (and the electricity if necessary) and use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. CAUTION: Water may remain scalding hot for hours. And don’t forget to close the drain valve, refill the tank and turn the water heater back on.
16. Have a professional check your septic system. (Or DIY?)
Failure to pump the septic tank frequently enough can lead to an early drain field failure and costly repairs. Pump the tank before and after a period of heavy usage to avoid sewage backup. Consider other methods for preventing septic or sewer backups due to flooding or sewer main backups by installing a main sewer line check valve.
You will probably need to dedicate a couple days to complete the list, but it’s all about perspective. If we look at this list like chores they will feel like just that, but if we view them as crucial preventative measures—ones that will help you save on your utility bills and avoid big repairs later on; it could be the highest paid work you’ll do this week.