Indoor Spring Cleaning
Garbage Disposal: Here’s an easy way to clean garbage disposals using household ingredients in your pantry. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the disposal followed by a cup of white vinegar. Once the bubbles subside, pour in a pot of boiling water, and allow it sit for five minutes. Finally, run cold water through the disposal, and turn it on to flush out any remaining debris. To keep funky smells at bay, turn the disposal on and run a lemon peel or juice and crushed ice through it.
Windows and Doors: Remove winter grunge and spring pollen by cleaning the glass on windows and doors. It’s best to tackle this chore on a cloudy day, so the sun won’t cause streaks. Make your own organic glass cleaner by adding 1½ cups white vinegar to one gallon of water. Spray the solution on the glass and wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth or balled-up newspapers. If the windows are extra grimy, use one cloth to remove the dirt and the second cloth to rinse and shine the glass.
Garage: Take the time to clean out and organize your garage. First, get rid of anything you haven’t used lately. Throw away any unusable items, recycling what you can, and donate or sell usable items you no longer need. To improve the look and function of your garage, seal and paint the garage floor and build storage shelves to keep it neat. You can also add bike hooks on the ceiling and hanging racks for garden tools.
Indoor Spring Home Maintenance
Change Air Filter: Replace the air filter on your central heating and cooling system every one to three months so it will run more efficiently and keep the air in your home cleaner. It’s easy to change the air filter by removing the cover on the air return, sliding out the old filter, and replacing it with a new one with the arrows on the filter pointing in the direction of air flow. If you suffer from allergies, this is a great time to upgrade to a high-performance allergen air filter for your home. If you’re not sure where the air filter in your house is located, check out our article on Locating HVAC Air Filters.
Air Conditioner: In addition to changing the air filter, spring is the perfect time to have your air conditioner serviced. Have a licensed heating and cooling technician inspect and clean the blower and motor, check the coolant, and test the switches. It’s also a good idea to inspect your ductwork and seal any leaks with special metallic tape and duct mastic.
Ceiling Fans: Summer is coming so it’s time to change the direction your paddle ceiling fans rotate. During spring and summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwisewhen looking up at the fan. This creates a downdraft that makes you feel cooler when it blows on your skin. To change the direction of your ceiling fan, turn the fan off, allow the blades to stop, then flip the switch on the fan housing. On many fans the “down” position on the switch indicates downward air flow. If your fan has a remote control with a direction setting, this job doesn’t even require a ladder.
Fireplace Damper: After the last fire of the season, don’t forget to close your fireplace damper to keep drafts, rain, animals, and insects out of your home. The damper is a metal flap inside your fireplace that covers the opening to the chimney. It will have a loop, lever, or chains for opening and closing. Close loop dampers by hand or by inserting a poker into the loop. To close lever dampers, lift up slightly on the lever, then push or pull to close. Chain dampers are closed by pulling on the longer chain to disengage the mechanism, then pulling the shorter chain to close the flap.
Tile Grout: Protect tile floors from dirt by sealing grout lines. Start by thoroughly cleaning the grout with baking soda and white vinegar. For tough stains, use a mixture of bleach and water. Let the floor dry completely, then apply a commercial grout sealer using an applicator bottle or artist’s brush. If your grout won’t come clean, apply a grout stain to color and seal it.
Plumbing: Over time even small plumbing leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water wasted. After the last winter freeze, it’s a good idea to check your water meter for plumbing leaks. If the triangular shaped flow indicator on the water meter is turning when water isn’t running in the house, you’ve got a leak. Finding a plumbing leak can be difficult, but the main culprits to check are toilets, outdoor spigots, irrigation systems, and pipes on exterior walls that may have been damaged in a freeze.