As spring finally approaches here in Minnesota, it’s time to start thinking about what to do to maintain your home after winter’s snows and before summer’s warm temperatures. While this list could be much longer, there are a few important maintenance items that will prevent future problems with your home and make sure you’re ready for the summer cooling season. Read on to learn more about important spring home maintenance tasks.
Clean your gutters!
Gutter cleaning is an essential spring home maintenance task. Not cleaning your gutters can result in a list of horrible problems, from flooded basements to roof and foundation damage. Water can get behind your siding, in your window frames or under your flooring. Standing water on your roof can result in water damage to your ceilings and walls.
Sounds terrible, right? Fortunately, gutter cleaning is a fairly simple job to do yourself if your gutters are only one story high. If you have higher gutters, hiring a professional may be a good idea. Hiring someone to clean your gutters is also relatively inexpensive if you’d like to free up your time to focus on other spring home maintenance tasks. Just be sure to check that the service will flush your gutters with a hose in addition to cleaning out the debris. Sediment settles in the gutters and builds up over time, and can only be removed by flushing. Flushing will also ensure your downspouts are clear.
Spring cleaning: there’s a reason!
I always thought spring cleaning was for those people that liked to be super clean. Guess what? There are important reasons behind the practice of spring cleaning. A big one is preventing insect problems. Shaking out the rugs, washing the curtains, airing out the house, cleaning the closets and pantry, all these spring cleaning practices get rid of insect eggs from fleas, clothes and pantry moths. Moths like dark, warm spaces. As temps increase in spring they start to come out, and it’s time to eradicate them before they can spend the summer destroying your clothes, carpets, and stored food.
If you see even one little moth in your house, purchase pheromone traps and set them right away. (You may have guessed I speak from experience.) A pheromone trap is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects. They are very effective for clothes and closet moths and will, combined with a thorough cleaning, get rid of them.
Make sure you’re ready for a long hot summer
Have your central AC maintained
Hire a professional to service your central air conditioner in spring to make sure it’s ready to keep you cool over the summer. The technician will clean the dust and debris from the condenser and evaporator coils and other key components of the system. They will make sure all the parts are in working order and check the refrigeration levels.
Clean window units
If you have hot water radiators you may cool your home with window units, ductless units or a combination. Just like a central air conditioner, ductless units need regular servicing. Window units need a spring cleaning just like your home. Cleaning them helps them to work better, be more efficient, and last longer. If you have an older unit that’s never been cleaned, the improvement will be especially noticeable. You’ll feel the difference when you turn it on, believe me! Cleaning a window unit involves taking it partially apart and hosing it out. You can learn how by googling “How to clean a window air conditioner.” I like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zidmF-gvs7s
Your home’s windows
Your home’s windows are the main source of light and warm or cool air coming in when you don’t want it to. Check the exterior seal around your windows and doors, using a screwdriver to probe gently.
Cleaning your windows and screens will remove winter’s grime and ensure you have the most light and the best views. Please note: power washing is not recommended for cleaning window screens, as it can damage the mesh. Speaking of screen damage, spring is a good time to inspect your screens and repair any small holes with a kit you can purchase at your local hardware store. Serious rips or tears mean having the screen replaced, which many hardware stores do as well.
Replace filters and batteries
Spring is a good time to replace those filters and batteries.
- Furnace filters
- Central AC unit filter
- Smoke detector batteries (and the detector itself if it is more than 10 years old)
- Carbon monoxide detector batteries