SPRING CLEANING & HOME MAINTENANCE GUIDE
It is the first day of Spring…so enjoy!Â Plan in the next couple of months to go through this list and address any issues that may apply to you.Â Keeping up with home maintenance allows you to experience the “quiet enjoyment” of your investment and helps to keep it from devaluing in the future.
As current homeowners you need to keep your property in good condition so that the small maintenance issues do not become major and expensive repair items. Here are some annual maintenance items that you should make on your calendar to keep your home in good repair and maintain its value.
Do not read this list and become overwhelmed, it is an extensive list meant to cover maintenance items you should do once a year….schedule these tasks for weekends and as the season dictates. You will enjoy your home more knowing that these items have been addressed.
Clean the vents behind your dryer. This will help your machine dry clothes more quickly, last longer and you will lower your risk of a fire. Hardware stores carry kits that can help and there are service providers that will do this for you as well.
Check your furnace filter once a month while in use for excess dust; you will want to change it once or twice a year so the unit operates more efficiently.
Replace or wash out your Air Conditioner filters every three months while in use. This will help lower your electric bill and improve the air quality in your home.
Make sure your sump pump is clean and operating property before spring rains arrive. Left the lever on the sump to make the float go up and wait for the motor to click on. If you have a battery backup, unplug the unit and test the pump again.
Now is the time to remove your storm windows and store them properly.
Vacuum the refrigerator condenser coils. Remember to unplug the unit first and use your vacuum’s brush attachment.
Check your fire extinguishers to ensure they have not passed their expiration date. At a minimum you need one in the kitchen.
Test all your GFIs (Ground Fault Outlet Circuit Interrupters) to see if they are working properly ( hit the “Test” button and the “Reset” button should pop out. Replace those that are not working. GFIs should be found in kitchens and bathroom or anywhere there is an electrical outlet near a water source. If your home is older, you may not have them installed. It is a good idea to have the old outlets replaced for your own safety. They will show up as a deficiency in an inspection report when you go to sell your home as well.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms twice a year. The best way to remember is the change them when you switch your clocks for to and from daylight savings time. If you did not do this in March, then make sure you do it soon.
Test your smoke detectors by blowing out a candle underneath them.
If you have a home alarm system that is tied to a central HUB, call them and tell them you are running a test to ensure that they are receiving the notice of the alarm activation.
If you have a wood burning fireplace, schedule an inspection and cleaning of your chimney once a year. Many sweeps offer a discount in the Spring and Summer. Also make sure to remove and ashes from your fireplace to prevent moisture buildup, which can damage your masonry.
Inspect your home’s exterior for loose siding or trim, cracks, and crumbling mortar. Examine the attic for any signs of leaks.
Clean and repair gutters
Wash and treat ( or paint) wood decks to prevent cracking
Make an appointment to have your air-conditioning system professionally inspected and adjusted before the temperatures start to get into the 80s.
Run a zone check of your underground sprinkler system. Check for leaks around the hub and make sure that all your pop-ups are working and that none have grown over. Check on the direction of the spray to ensure that you are getting full coverage of your foliage and limited watering of sidewalks, driveways, and streets.
In preparation for the winter…If you are in an area that freezes, have your sprinkler system professionally blown out since water in the pipes can freeze and cause damage. Take down garden hoses, drain and store, and put insulation around spouts.
Look for signs of leaks and moisture in your basement which can cause mold, fungus and rust. Water on the wall usually indicates a bad downspout or grading that is sloping toward the house. Standing water usually requires a professional.
Inspect your roof and look for loose shingles, mold, mildew or cracked mortar. Fix problems early to avoid extensive and expensive repairs in the future.
Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration
Test your garage door beam sensor by waving a broom across the beach while the door is in motion. The door should not close and raise back up if everything is working properly.
Check the caulk around tubs, showers, sinks, shower fixtures, and toilets to Faucets make sure moisture cannot penetrate. If the caulking is black or discolored that means that mildew has gotten below it. This needs to be removed and re caulked to prevent further water damage to flooring or drywall.
Drain and refill your hot-water heater to remove sediment. Also test the heater’s pressure valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check your attic for holes or thin spots in the insulation and make sure that the caulking around doors and windows does not leak.
Empty kitchen cabinets, pantries and drawers and clean out all crumbs, etc. This will significantly reduce the chance of attracting ants and roaches. Throw our anything that has expired.
Wash windows, wipe down sills, and clean screens to allow the great light into your home.
Dust your home thoroughly. Take everything off shelves, tabletops and home cleaning dressers to dust. Now is also the time to get to all the places you’ve been neglecting throughout the year, including ceiling fans, above kitchen cabinets and baseboards and doorways.
De-clutter your garage. Sort your things into different areas of the garage; one pile to keep, one sale, and a bunch of trash bags for the rest.
Wash out trash cans. To really clean garbage cans, spray them with a hose and dump out the water. Next, spray the inside with a disinfectant spray, scrub with a handled brush and rinse. Leave them upside down to dry.
Deep clean your flooring. Have your carpets professionally cleaned and wax wooden floors.
While you are cleaning the floors look for cracked or missing grout and repair quickly. A small crack in the grout or caulk can lead to an expensive repair later. If necessary, re-seal as soon as possible
Clean upholstered furniture. Vacuum pillows, as well as underneath the cushions. Look for stains and clean according to the care label.
Investigate all doors and windows for leaks and drafts, particularly near the corners. Look for peeling and chipping paint, which can signal water intrusion. Seal any open areas between the frame and the wall to keep out water, which can deteriorate building materials.
Set your oven to self-clean. Be sure to wipe up major spills before setting it to self-clean.
Clean out refrigerator and wipe all surfaces clean of stains or spills. Check all your bottles of dressings, etc. for expiration dates.
Vacuum inside closets and watch for signs of insects. Be sure that the closet or area is also clean and free of anything that bugs might find delicious. Dust, other insects, crumbs or food and beverage stains are all attractive to pests. Now is a good time to donate items to local charities.
Sweep porch and deck, as well as around doors and windows to get rid of cobwebs and debris.
Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and filter
Repair all cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface
Check the shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture to make sure they function
Replace all extension cords that have become brittle, worn or damaged
Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing electrical panel inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs they are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
It always seems to take longer to complete a list of tasks once you get started. Be realistic and set aside enough time to accomplish all you have planned.Â Make sure you have the right equipment and supplies ready…this should be the first thing on your To Do List.
If you plan to use professionals make appointments ahead of time before they get too busy.
You will probably want to clear out some space to stage the items you want to dispose off…gather boxes and bags for smaller items and if you are considering a majot de-cluttering operation you may want to rent a dumpster.Â Call one your your local agencies to donate useful items to…they can always use your help.