Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring-Cleaning and Home Maintenance Tasks

Spring-Cleaning and Home Maintenance Tasks

When warmer temperatures come, refresh your home with an annual spring-cleaning, including important maintenance tasks for the interior and exterior. Not only will it give your house a "face-lift," it will make your home more comfortable and will help prevent costly repairs later.
Here are the essential tasks for both inside and outside your home.

Exterior Spring Maintenance

You can start your spring-cleaning and maintenance either inside or outdoors, according to your preference. Since some things take a little longer than others, don't feel like you must do it all in a day or even a weekend. Spring lasts several weeks!
Take a good look at your roof. Scan for missing shingles, uneven surfaces indicating damage, or other evidence that the roof needs repair.
Clean your gutters and check your downspouts. If you don't feel comfortable climbing a ladder, hire someone to do the work for you.
Inspect your home's foundation. Look closely to ensure leaks (usually indicated by damp or discolored spots) and cracks have not formed, and repair as needed. Consult a professional for large cracks that may signal foundation failure.
Clean your chimney. If you burn wood in a fireplace or wood stove, a spring-cleaning attacks the creosote while it's fresh. If you're comfortable on your roof, you can DIY. Otherwise, hire a professional chimney cleaning service.
Wash your windows. Substitute a mixture of half vinegar and half hot water for professional glass cleaning products.
Switch out storm windows for screens, and doors as well. Mend any torn screens immediately to prevent small insects from entering.
Check porches, decks and other structures for signs of rot or damage. Repair as necessary. Use this opportunity to power wash and refinish patios, decks and porches if needed.
Schedule an HVAC system check and tune-up. Replace ventilation filters at the same time. Yearly maintenance and regular filter changes help extend your HVAC unit's life.
Turn on the water to outside faucets. Hook up water hoses and ensure everything works properly.
Check your siding or brick. Keep an eye out for termites, carpenter ants, pest damage, evidence of water leaks, holes or other damage. Repair as appropriate.
Inspect your sidewalks and driveway. Sweep clear of debris and ensure the walkways are level and safe for everyone. Hire a professional to repair these areas if necessary.
Clean out your garage. Get rid of trash or chemicals that may create a fire hazard. Sweep out dirt and debris. Look over the garage door, ensuring it seals well and any automatic opener is in good repair. Also check the garage door opener's safety sensors.

Interior Spring Maintenance

Test every ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet in your home. To test, plug in a portable item such as a nightlight or alarm clock. Press the "test" button on the outlet – it should turn the item off. At the same time, the "reset" button should pop out. When you push the reset in again, power should come on once more. Consult an electrician for assistance or information.
Check each smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your house.
Clean your carpets. Carpeting can harbor millions of germs, bacteria, mites, and a variety of other contaminants. Even carpet that looks clean may be dirtier than you think. Perform a DIY deep cleaning or hire carpet cleaners to do it for you.
Test your basement sump pump if you have one. Pour a 5-gallon bucket of water into the reservoir. The sump should start. If it doesn't, consult a professional. During spring's heavy rains, this item will help keep your basement dry; you don't want it to fail when you really need it.
Clean any ceiling fans. Reverse the blade direction to ensure it directs the air down, with the blades turning counterclockwise.
Dust exhaust fans such as those in the bathroom.
Test the door seals on your refrigerator and freezer. Insert a dollar bill between the door and frame, and then close the door. If you can slip the dollar bill free, you need a new door seal. Check the interior temperature with a thermometer. Also, pull out the appliance and clean the coils on back. Dirty coils can lead to higher electric bills and appliance damage.
Depending on your home and situation, you may have other appliances and areas that need attention. Every spring, inspect your entire home, keeping an eye out for things that will help keep you comfortable and ready for the rest of the year.
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