Spring has always been a sort of gearing up stage of the year. The rain keeps a much welcomed dampness in the air and the warmer temperatures make it a perfect time to get everything repaired and situated for the coming summer and the winter that will inevitably follow. As the cold leaves us alone, we’re finally able to get back to keeping up the appearances of our homes. And this, my friends, is why “spring cleaning” is a widely recognized term. Without the cold of winter, there go any excuses we might’ve had for putting off projects around the house. So, that means it’s time to get to work and give the house the makeover it’s been waiting all winter for.
Every year, I put a lot of effort into four main things: my air system, my water pipes, my gutters, and clutter.
Clearing Out the Clutter
You can’t have clean house without throwing a bunch of stuff away. Over the winter, things just seem to pile up. Can’t be sure why, but there will be stuff, and you probably won’t need it anymore. When you get new furniture, clothing, tools, and other knickknacks, your old ones get, well, old. It’s time to go through your attic, storage closet, or garage and toss out the clutter that’s been building since last spring (or further back). Think about all the new space you’ll have to work with. I just cleaned out my garage, and I can’t even remember the last time there was enough space for my car and my wife’s car.
Make Sure Your Air Filtration Is Up-to-Par
Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up with maintenance inside the house since, if you’re like me, you spent most of winter shut inside like a bear in hibernation. What you may not have done, though, is air out the place. It’s time to open the windows and let air circulate. On that note, it’s also time to make sure your air system is running up-to-par. While most air filters have a recommended lifespan, you’re using them a lot more in the winter than during other parts of the year. Plus, constantly pushing heat through them isn’t good for their upkeep. Check your air filters, and, if need be, replace them. There’s nothing like fresh air, whether it’s from open windows or a clean system, to make you feel like spring.
Check the Water Pipes
Unlike most things, water actually expands when it freezes, which can cause serious damage to your pipe system. When it gets particularly cold outside, I always run warm water through to make sure nothing freezes up on me, but, right now, it’s a little too late for that advice. When the water in your pipes freezes, it can cause those pipes to burst. You would have known if this happened to you over the winter. However, even if they don’t completely burst, the pipes may have become distorted with the temperature drops. This can put cracks in your pipes, creating leaks and damaging the overall integrity of your water pipe system. So, in other words: get down in your basement or crawlspace and give your pipes a once-over to make sure everything is in working order. If you see what might be a problem, call the plumber immediately.
Look Over Your Drainage System
Any winter can be bad on a gutter system, but this past season was especially rough. With record snowfall, our gutters took quite a beating. Take a quick walk around the house and note any areas that have damage. It’s really not enough to just look at it from a distance. You need to get on a ladder and check out the integrity of the gutter hangers, gutter guards, and any strainers you may have. Depending on your system, you may be able to get by with only purchasing a few new hangers to get the gutters fastened back on tightly, though you may need to get a new gutter strip. I always take a large bottle of water up the ladder with me and pour it into the gutters. I look to make sure that water flow is still good and that there aren’t any leaks along the way. You may not be as partial as I am to it, but I replace a broken piece immediately, even if it’s just a tiny leak or crack.
The best advice I can give for spring cleaning is to keep a written list of things that you need to get done. When you pass the fireplace—if you have one—and notice it could use a good cleaning, add it to the list. The important thing to always remember is that a house is a huge investment and a lot of work, but the more work you put into its up-keep, the longer it’ll retain its value and provide you with a good place to live.