Spring is on its way and some homeowners’ minds turn to de-cluttering and cleaning when the weather warms. To get the most out of your springtime cleanup, think about tackling these projects first, before summer heats up.
- Get rid of dangerous trash. Garages, sinks, attics and even closets can be the “forgotten zone” where we store potentially dangerous goods. Think: old paint, oil rags from car repairs, old boards with rusty nails, or even expired cleaning supplies. Too often those items get buried or just plain ignored for years, leading to some potentially bad situations like fires or bodily injury. Check items in cabinets and corners while you’re sprucing up, and then dispose of them properly. To dispose of hazardous items, check with your local rules regarding throwing away paint, batteries, old electronics and other items.
- Check those extinguishers and monitors. Speaking of safety, take a moment to check each of your home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors to make sure they’re working properly. (That chirping sound you can’t quite locate? That’s a dying battery!) “Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms,” according to the National Fire Protection Association. At the same time, make sure your fire extinguishers are in good working order, and everyone knows how to operate them. This YouTube video has some tips on extinguisher training. Don’t have enough fire extinguishers or smoke alarms? Put that on your To Do list as well.
- Monitor your roof, gutters and drainage. As ice and snow melts, you might notice some blockages in your gutters. Make sure that melting doesn’t mean a nasty surprise inside your home by clearing ice dams that can form on roofs. (Need help? Call a licensed roofer to take care of the acrobatics.) If you have ice dams forming regularly, you could have issues with heat escaping through your roof. Discuss adding insulation and other projects with a roofer to keep your valuable heat inside, instead of outside. Check drainage as snow turns to spring rains, too, and monitor any outside issues so that April shower doesn’t end up in your basement this year!
- Call a chimney sweep. They’re not just in the movies! Chimney sweeps can professionally clear out soot and ash from your chimney after a long winter of wood fires. A clean chimney means a reduced risk for fires starting where you haven’t planned them, as well as improved ventilation from your fireplace. The Chimney Inspection Institute of America recommends getting a professional to inspect your chimney annually, and a cleaning when 1/8″ of buildup is evident.
- Test your air conditioning. Before it gets hot, it’s a great time to schedule maintenance for your home air conditioning. Just like those chimney cleanings, you should get your central air and heating ducts cleaned regularly to ensure the system is working efficiently and cleanly. On the A/C itself, you should get the coils and change your air filters inside as well. Act now, and get your unit serviced before the temperature ramps up (and everyone’s calling their A/C service on the same hot day).
A little bit of maintenance in the spring can save you a lot of worry the rest of the year!