You’re stocked up on cleaning supplies, the windows are open and you’ve officially retired your winter coat. Hello spring!
However, spring home maintenance goes beyond deep cleaning and organizing. Work your way through this checklist to make sure your home is ready for the change in seasons.
Check the Insulation in Your Attic – and Install More if Needed
If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least six inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the norther part of the United States). If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation appears to be damaged – install new insulation.
Automate Your Thermostat
One of the easiest things you can do to instantly start saving money on your heating and cooling bills is to get an automated thermostat. These smart thermostats will learn when you are home and make sure the home is at a comfortable setting during those hours. Check with your utility provider to see what offers are out there to offset the initial cost.
Change ALL Your Air Filters
Replace the air filter(s) in your HVAC system, to keep it running more efficiently. Old filters have reduced air flow forcing your equipment to work harder. This causes parts like fans and blowers to wear faster, especially after a cold winter.
Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
You can eliminate more than 70% of service calls with this simple cleaning step. Do it twice a year or more if you have shedding pets. Their fur clogs up the coils fast. Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge across the bottom. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil cleaning brush does a thorough job and will easily pay for itself. The refrigerator coil brush is bendable to fit in tight areas. They can be used for cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner coils, too.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters are an integral piece of your home’s well being. They serve to control the flow of rainwater to protect your roof, walls, foundation and landscape. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Contractors say gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold and honeycombs from bee infestations.
Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent
Corral those lint bunnies. Because before you know it, they multiply like rabbits. Dryer lint is extremely flammable if you let it build up in your vents.
Maintain Your Sump Pump
Sump pumps on the whole are quite reliable. But as with any other important piece of equipment, regular maintenance is always a good idea. Spend a few minutes every couple of months, when heavy rains are forecast and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation.
- Ensure the sump pump didn’t trip the GFCI outlet it’s plugged into.
- Ensure the pump itself is standing upright. Vibrations during operation can cause it to fall or tilt onto one side. This can jam the float arm so it can’t activate the pump.
- Periodically pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is on.
- Physically remove a submersible pump from the pit and clean the grate on the bottom. The sucking action of the pump can pull small stones into the grate, blocking the inlet or damaging the pump over time.
- Ensure the outlet pipes are tightly joined together and draining out at least 20 feet away from your foundation.
- Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear.
Flush Your Water Heater
Regularly flushing out your water heater is an important task. It gets rid of the gunk and mineral deposits that accumulate and will help your hot water heater run more efficiently as well as prolong its life. Depending on your model, aim to flush your water heater every one to three years. However, if your heater is old and has never been flushed, it may be better to call a professional to get advice specific to your situation. Or, if you are not comfortable with the steps, err on the side of caution.
- Turn the knob on your water heater’s thermostat to “off”.
- Turn off the gas line or electricity to the unit.
- Turn off the cold water supply.
- Turn on a hot water tap in a sink or tub. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the system while draining the tank.
- Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot. Then turn on the spigot and drain the entire tank.
- Once drained, turn back on the cold water supply to flush the tank. Look for water coming out of the hose to be clear and free of sediment.
Maintaining your home is the best way to keep the value high and prevent major sudden expenses – but it’s hard to remember when to do things. Happy spring cleaning!