Come on, Spring! You can do this! – By Denise Myrick
It would be horrible to curse the rain, as we need it. However, it’s probably safe to say, we are at capacity. Personally I don’t mind the rain, but in smaller batches as we’ve had some pretty hefty storms. However, the weather in the bay area seems to be in a pattern of more sunny days than rainy days, which means we can start spring cleaning! (No cheering?)
Now, what to do. Spring breaks are upon us, so there may be some pockets of time in between hauling kids around and sending them outside to play. There are many tasks that tend to get seasonal attention for spring. I grouped some of those common tasks into 3 areas: Maintenance, Cleaning and Outside.
- Inspect furnace and air conditioner. It’s good practice to proactively have an HVAC professional inspect as these systems provide the air you breathe inside your home and you want them to be clean and efficient as well as ready to work when needed!
- Flush hot water heater. Typically never done, but very important. Flush out the hot water heater annually to keep sediment from accumulating in the tank.
- Inspect and reapply any bathroom and kitchen caulking. Caulking breaks down over time between plumbing fixtures and floor joints, around sinks, tubs, and showers. If not maintained, leaky water can cause damage to the floors, wood baseboards, and even the sub-flooring itself. Cost to maintain: $Cheap. Cost to fix: $Expensive.
- Inspect and maintain every day appliances. Target one day for microwave, washer/dryer, oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, etc. Clean inside of appliances, change any filters or small light bulbs (yes, the one that’s been burnt out for months), wipe vent areas, etc. Run an empty cycle with the appropriate cleaner to get rid of sediments, hard water, old food build-up, mildew and other yucky stuff. Appliances may even run more efficient!
- Test ground fault interpreter outlets. It is a good safety practice to test these periodically and replace when needed. However don’t get brave, consult an electrician when replacing.
- Steam clean carpets and flooring. With kids, pets and entertaining guests, flooring get a lot of wear and tear, collecting lots of dust, dirt, and bacteria. Steam cleaning carpets and yes, floors like tile and hardwood too, not only helps extend the life of your floor, it also helps create a healthier living environment.
- Clean furniture upholstery and drapes. Overtime, these fabrics absorb dirt and other particles and can start to discolor and cause odor. Make your furniture look brand new by steam cleaning it and either professionally clean drapes or machine wash (ONLY if fabrics are washable and you like to iron).
- Vacuum mattresses, box springs and bed frames. Since you use your bed every day, it is a prime location to collect hair and shedding skin (yuck!) from your body. Although your sheets will probably collect most of this, it is still a good practice to vacuum the mattress, box springs, and bed frame.
- Clean hard to reach items. The ladder will be your best friend (please use one that you can brace yourself on). Dust has settled where we cannot see. Before the ceiling fans start rotating again, swipe a cloth over each blade, take a moist Swifter to the kitchen and bathroom ceilings, wipe tops of cabinets and refrigerator, etc.
- Clean out garage and closets. The holidays are long gone and what remains are newly purchased decorations, unwanted gifts and extra pounds. Time to clean out the storage areas and closets as California homes just don’t have the extra space! Get rid of the half lit light strings, weird gifts like the anti-snore chin snap, and clothes that somehow “shrunk” this season. Great time to re-organize, and consider giving items away to family or to various charity organizations.
- Trim back trees and bushes. Some plants require attention earlier in the year depending on the microclimate in which you live. Trimming is important for regrowth as well as safety. For example, note around the air condition compressor, driveway transition to sidewalks, under windows, etc.
- Fertilize lawn. Take advantage of the wet weather, and add fertilizer to your lawn maintenance to keep your lawn growing (or start growing in some cases) healthy, and looking great. As well it’s the perfect time to add drought tolerant plants and landscape ideas.
- Inspect fences and pool area. Exterior iron or wood fencing deteriorates over time due to weather and landscaping that often times can encroach the fencing. Maintaining a fence around your pool is paramount to child safety and often time is part of local building codes.
- Clean out grills and outdoor kitchen areas. It is important to clean your grill from dirt, cooking fuels, and burnt foods. As well cleaning crevasses and underneath chairs, benches, and tables to remove any dirt and any rodents not paying rent.
- Inspect exterior siding, decks and trim Given the climate will change from moisture to high heat, it is a good time to inspect the outside of your home. Look for cracks, warping, separation at joints, and other anomalies. Good idea to fix or replace these areas to avoid moisture and water getting inside your walls and causing mold problems.