Spring – it will be here eventually! If you’re ready to ditch the winter layers, then you’re set to make the move towards lightening up your home.
The snow may still be melting (or falling, some days), but it’s not staying around forever. Not only are we eager to live in a fresh space by the time spring rolls around, but the city experiences a resurgence in real estate transactions. If you’re looking to sell, spring cleaning is a great way to prepare your home for the market at just the right time.
While we wait for grass to peak through these snowbanks, there is plenty to be done inside to get our homes ready for spring and summer. In this, the first of our Spring Cleaning Series, we’ll cover some indoor tasks to keep your home safe, efficient and help you kick those winter blues!
You can begin with these 7 simple tasks that will get you ready for summer.
1. Indoor Safety Check
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do your twice a year safety checks. Start with your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Do a simple test by pressing the “test” button. If you hear the alarm, then you’re protected. If you don’t, replace the batteries. If this still doesn’t work, you'll want to replace the unit itself. It’s a good practice to replace batteries annually and the unit every decade at least, but always follow manufacturers guidelines and read the instructions.
This is also a good time to do your monthly fire extinguishers check. They should be intact and free of dents, rust and leaks with the pressure gauge in the green zone. If not, it’s time to replace it. If you don’t have any extinguishers, consider keeping one in your kitchen and one in the mechanical room or anywhere else it can easily be found in an emergency.
2. Clear the Air
Come spring, we’re all itching to open our windows and let in some fresh air; if it’s too cold to do this for too long, however, the next-best thing is to check your home’s air quality systems to ensure they’re working properly.
Start with the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. A simple test is to turn on the fan and hold a tissue under the screen. If the fan is strong enough to hold the tissue up, then it’s in good shape. If not, then you’ll want to bring in a HVAC pro.
Replace or clean all your filters, including water, kitchen hood, air vent filters, furnace filters and heat recovery unit. Depending on the type of filter, these should be replaced every three to six months. Because it's vital for the efficiency and longevity of your furnace, these should be done at least every three months. If you home has one, don’t forget to clean your heat recovery filter. If you’re unsure how to do either of these tasks, then check out our furnace and heat recovery maintenance videos.
3. Refresh Your Water
If you’ve been suffering from faucets, sink sprayers or showerheads spraying water in all directions, now’s the time to fix them. Unscrew the head or faucet aerator and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. If it’s difficult to remove them, then use a spray or a plastic bag filled with cleaning solution and tied in place with elastic. Soak for around an hour, then rinse with warm water and replace.
It also pays to give your hot-water heater some attention. If you have a water tank, it’s recommended to drain it annually to remove sediment buildup in the bottom. You’ll also want to look around the base of the heater for any evidence of leaks. If your water heater is more than five years old, then it should be checked monthly for water leakage or rust.
4. Check the Vents
Anything that vents to the outside should be checked for blockages. Often a quick look around the outside of your house, and an inspection of the vent with a flashlight will be adequate. Throughout the year, if you notice any changes to the way your home’s air systems or appliances operate, this is a good place to start troubleshooting.
One of the most important, yet overlooked maintenance tasks is to clean your dryer vents. Lint that is allowed to accumulate in the dryer hose and around the outside vent is a fire hazard. Regularly checking them and cleaning out accumulated lint helps keep your family safe - and your dryer much more effective.
5. Change Your Bedding
Nothing says spring like putting away the flannel sheets, electric blankets, and quilts. Store them according to the care label, so they’re ready for next winter. Next wash all your lighter sheets and bedding, and make your bedrooms fresh for spring.
6. Wash Everything
Clean everything! Your home is likely your most valuable asset, so it’s time to give it some TLC and make it shine. Get up high and dust ceiling fixtures and fans. Scrub walls, baseboards and outlets. Enlist the help of your family to ensure nothing is missed – especially high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Breaking this task up into pieces will help prevent this from becoming overwhelming.
Back to our opening comments - cleaning is especially important if you’re selling your home. Clean sells, it’s that simple, and if you truly want to sell your home this is the perfect opportunity to tidy up your walls by filling in nail holes and touching up any scuff marks or dents with paint. Check out our video on how to easily perform this task. Remember, a fresh, clean home translates into a sold home much quicker.
7. Lighten Up
Ditch the winter blues, and style for spring. Try brightly coloured throw pillows, change your curtains to sheers and stow away those cozy blankets (ok, maybe you’ll still want a ‘spring’ blanket for a bit, there are plenty of cute ones out there). If you’re feeling truly inspired, consider updating your artwork or even your interior paint to make the inside look as sunny as the outside.
Spring cleaning can be a big job, but the rewards are many. Feeling lighter and brighter after a long Canadian winter is something we all crave, especially the kind we’ve had this year. Once you’ve had time to tackle these home jobs, we’ll review some steps to prepare the exterior of your home for spring weather.