Preparing your home for spring
Spring is around the corner and, just like you do before winter, it's time to take care of housekeeping items to keep up your home and reduce the chances of problems down the road.
Parts of your home can be damaged during winter's harsh weather, particularly if you have endured storms and unusual weather.
Here are some tips on upkeep - both outside and inside the home - that you should tackle to identify issues that may be developing or to head off future problems:
Clean the rain gutters
This is a good idea, especially if the winter brought with it winds, rain or snow.
Get a ladder and climb up to inspect your gutters for debris that may have accumulated during the winter. Don a pair of gloves and remove what you can with your hands. You can use a hose to spray out any leftover sediment and smaller debris. It's best to have a helper on the ground who can turn the water on and off for you.
Finally, you can clear out the downspout by putting the hose down it and spraying full blast to get rid of anything that may have gotten lodged inside.
Wash your windows
Get an extendable squeegee to clean the exterior windows and get rid of grime from the winter.
Scrub walls, baseboards and outlets
Get your home looking shiny and clean by using a damp sponge or brush with mild soap and water. Scrub the walls in all of the rooms, particularly the bathroom, living room and kitchen, where most of the dirt accumulates.
Also, clean baseboard and outlet covers. It's best to remove the outlet covers and clean them off the wall to avoid getting water in the outlet. Make sure not to get water in the outlets.
Change filters in your air conditioner vents, range filter and water filter, if needed. You should change your air vent filters every three to six months. Water filter replacement schedules will vary, so check your brand's website for details.
Clean faucets and shower heads
Believe it or not, stuff builds up in faucet and shower heads. Unscrew the faucet aerator and clean or replace, if necessary. Soak the heads for an hour and then rinse with warm water.
Clean out the dryer vent
You should clean the dryer lint trap regularly, but many people overlook the vent in the back, which can become a fire hazard. Move the dryer from the way from the wall and disconnect the dryer vent hose from the vent.
Clean the hose using dryer vent brush, which you can pick up at any home-improvement store. Go outside, remove the cover from the dryer vent and remove all the lint with the brush. Check that the vent cover flap moves freely.
Get a head start preventing allergies
If someone in your household suffers from allergies, declutter your home to keep dust, mold and pollen at bay. Make a regular habit of dusting, and consider installing filters in air conditioner vents that are designed to especially filter out dust and pollens.
Check foundation vents
One thing that many homeowners forget to check and clean is the vents at the foundation of the home. This is typical of houses that have crawlspaces underneath. If the vents are clogged or covered with debris, moisture can build up underneath your home and flourish.
Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum, and repair any damaged screens to keep varmints from making homes under your house.
Test smoke, CO alarms
Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and change out batteries if necessary.