Everybody loves a fresh start. That’s why we love spring - after months of cold and darkness, the warmer temperatures and longer days make us feel like we’re entering a period of renewal. Of course, for most homeowners, this “period of renewal” also means another round of weekend-stealing spring cleaning activities. If you want to do a better job balancing your time this spring, our house cleaning checklist will help you get your house ready, able, and energy-efficient for the new season.
- Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts. Leaves, twigs and other debris wreak havoc on your drainage system. These items can block rainwater from escaping, put a strain on your attachments, and potentially attract vermin (like carpenter ants) to your property. If you live in a wooded area, you may need to clear out your gutters three to four times a year - otherwise, once a year should do the trick. You can usually tackle this task in three easy steps: set up a ladder or stepstool, use a garden trowel to clear debris, and use a hose to remove remaining dirt. Gloves, dust masks, and safety goggles are also recommended for this activity.
- Activate Your Sprinkler System. Leaks, head blockage, and/or water pressure issues may have developed during the off-season. These problems will require often require professional servicing to address. You can identify problem areas by turning on your sprinkler system and looking for unwanted water sources, such as damp spots in your lawn that don’t go away. You’ll also want to ensure sprinkler heads are positioned toward key areas of your landscaping.
- Reorganize Your Garage. This is a good time to store your holiday decorations and uncover the tools, equipment, and toys you’ll need in the warmer months. You may also wish to donate unwanted items to charity and repair or replace anything you need that’s not working. Too much clutter to haul on your own? Local hauling services like College H.U.N.K.S. will pick up your items at a reduced fee.
- Plan Your Landscaping. Take inventory of your grass, trees, shrubs, and plants and gauge how they’ve fared over the winter, then make a list of steps to take. Do you have all the tools and products needed to get everything shipshape for warmer weather? Are all your tools and equipment in working order?
- Check Your Foundations. Texas is known for long summer droughts followed by winter freezes, conditions that can crack even the sturdiest concrete. A professional can judge whether such cracks represent normal wear and tear or are structurally problematic. According to Popular Mechanics, cracks wider than 1/16 inch can be an issue, especially if they admit water or fluctuate with changes in temperature and humidity. Insects—such as termites—can slip through cracks that are 1/64 inch or wider.
- Redirect Ceiling Fans. To reduce your upcoming air conditioning costs, adjust your fans so they turn counterclockwise and push warm air upward. This process is often as simple as flipping a switch in the center of your fan.
- Replace Air-Conditioning Filters. Keeping these clean will both improve your air quality and keep your HVAC working as efficiently as possible. Follow manufacturers’ directions as to how often to replace your filters—typically every one to six months—and always change them if they look dirty.
- Dust Electronics, Light Bulbs, and Vents. This may be a simple task, but it’s an essential way to keep your equipment running at maximum capacity.
- Tune-Up Your AC. According to the Department of Energy, cleaning your air conditioning unit on a regular basis is a great way to make sure your unit is operating at peak levels. Potential issues to look out for can include overly low coolant levels or dirty condensing coils that can reduce the efficiency of your unit.
- Check for Air Leaks. According to the experts at HGTV, gaps in your HVAC equipment and/or ductwork can raise your energy costs by 25 to 30 percent. It’s worth investing in weather-stripping, duct tape, and/or specialty kits for sealing up any leaks you encounter.
- Program Your Thermostat. Configure your system to maintain an internal temperature of 72 degrees F when you’re at home and 78 degrees when you aren’t.
- Vacuum Refrigerator Coils. Dust that’s accumulated over the winter can make your unit work harder, especially as temperatures rise. At least once a year, unplug your fridge, remove the base grill at the bottom, and use a stiff brush to remove things like dirt and pet hair.
If you find during your annual maintenance routine that your home needs repairs or renovations, don’t worry. The Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit available at Amplify Credit Union offer low rates and comfortable terms, while our Homeowner Express loans offer quick financing for those without home equity.