Whether the warmth is here to stay, as the seasons change, they can be an important reminder of those little household tasks that need to get done.
Whether you just moved in or need a little refresher, here’s a checklist of routine household maintenance broken down by season.
Spring involves a bunch of maintenance that’s meant to keep things fresh, clean and full of life. Let’s get started.
If you’ve been cooped up all winter, there’s a good chance you want to get outside and get a little vitamin D. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to start with the landscaping and bring a little life back to the yard.
There are various ways to spruce up your yard that don’t cost a ton of money. Probably the easiest thing to do is mow the lawn. The lawn should also be fertilized periodically to make sure it’s being given the proper nutrients.
If the lawn is the carpet, your plants are the furniture that really give the yard character. With that in mind, pay attention to not only the different plants you select, but also their placement within the yard.
While plants are like furniture for your yard, there can also be actual furniture on your patio or deck, which brings me to my next point. Manufacturers have really upped their game in the outdoor entertainment space. Fire pits, outdoor lamps and waterproof televisions are just a few things that were less commonplace on the patio even a few years ago.
If you haven’t checked your air conditioning in a while, spring is a good time to do it. That way you’re not super surprised when it gets to be 95 degrees and the air doesn’t turn on.
While you’re thinking about your AC, you should also think about your ductwork. When was the last time you had it cleaned? Cleaning your ducts helps with the removal of dust and all sorts of other debris and allergens. If you find yourself getting sick a lot, this might be worth looking into.
Let’s not forget the annual societal ritual that is spring cleaning. It’s good to clear out all the crud we accumulate that we no longer need.
Growing up, I think I was exposed to the cable network TLC way more than I’d like to admit. One of the shows on there was called “Clean Sweep.” The basic premise was that homeowners would take a cluttered room and sort things they wanted to keep, sell or toss, while a designer would redo a room or two to add organizational touches. At the end of the experience, they would have brand-new, uncluttered rooms and the proceeds of a yard sale.
While it isn’t feasible for everyone to have a design professional come in, the concept of removing excess things is a good idea that can really help open up any space.
Check Your Batteries
This is pretty basic and can really be completed at any time of the year. Check the battery in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Doing this every six months will avoid the infuriating beeping for which we can never seem to find the source.
I put this in spring because there’s an easy way to remember this. Check your emergency devices at the same time you change your clocks. Spring forward, fall back.
You might be getting ready for cookouts and pool parties at this point, but there are some things you need to get prepared beforehand.
Before firing up the barbecue, it’s best to make sure that everything is in good shape for safety reasons. Burners should always be checked for rust. They can always be replaced. The same goes for checking any gas lines and connection points.
Whether you use gas or charcoal, always be sure to use the grill in a well-ventilated area and ignite it from a safe distance.
Summer is the season of thunderstorms and even heat-based electrical outages. With that in mind, make sure to protect sensitive electronics from power surges.
Computers are particularly fragile, and you don’t want your data fried by a brownout that lasts three seconds. Therefore, take the time to connect everything to a surge protector. No one wants to lose those photos from Benedict Cumbercat’s 10th birthday.
Power strips can be convenient as well. As I look at my desk, I see no less than seven devices that need to be connected to power. You’ll need all the outlets you can get.
While we’re on electrical, manufacturer guidelines recommend that the electrical outlets used in bathrooms and outdoors to protect against electrocutions be tested at least once a month and after every power outage.
Pool and Spa Maintenance
Summer is also the time to take the cover off the pool and clean it up so it can be used. The most important tasks are to make sure there’s nothing floating in the water and that the pool is properly chlorinated.
our hot tub also needs maintenance, mostly in the form of regular chemical treatments. The water should also be drained about every four months.
Before you get bombarded with all things pumpkin, you need to do a few things before the chill sets in.
Winterize the Pool
Let’s jump back into the pool for a second. Not literally. It might be a little cool after Labor Day.
You’ll probably be able to make the process of opening the pool easier on yourself by properly winterizing the pool in the fall. This includes not only the right chemical treatment and draining to the proper level, but also some things you might not think about.
For instance, you might want to buy a pool pillow before your swimmer’s paradise settles in for its long winter nap. As water freezes, ice expands and puts pressure on your pool wall. By putting the pillow in the middle, this pressure is instead redistributed to the pillow.
Check Your Furnace
It’s time to make sure that furnace works now before it gets too chilly. You don’t want it malfunctioning in bitter temperatures. A regular inspection can also prevent serious safety issues like a cracked heat exchanger that can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
Your filters should also be regularly replaced in order to prevent dust and allergens from being spread throughout the house.
Prevent Burst Pipes
Whenever you decide your lawn probably doesn’t need to be watered anymore, drain the water from the hose and cover the water spigot. This helps prevent ice from building up and causing problems with your pipes.
Keep the Heat In
It’s very important to make sure you keep all the heat in your house that you can in order to operate at peak efficiency and save on energy bills.
With that in mind, take a look at the insulation in your house. This could be something as simple as installing a door sill or a foam outlet cover to prevent cool air from slipping through the cracks. On the other hand, you could go so far as to spray expanding foam around window casings or put more insulation in the floor and wall.
If you choose to go the insulation route, make sure you have the proper level of insulation for your climate.
In preparation for winter, there’s some things you’ll want to cover up to protect from the elements.
You might consider installing gutter guards in order to prevent crud from getting in there and causing problems by disrupting proper drainage.
You’ll also want to get a cover for your air conditioner so nothing gets in there.
Plants that you want to come back deserve protection from harsh elements so your perennials can survive even the most brutal winters.
To start, make a nice pile of compost. This ensures the plants have plenty of nutrients to feast on all winter long.
Burlap wrap around young trees helps protect them from the elements. For shrubs and other small plants, special tents are available that let sunlight and moisture in while keeping the cold out.
The last big thing you should probably have done is a chimney inspection by a professional. This includes sweeping out the chimney, but also an inspection for any visible signs of structural damage. If there are problems, they’ll recommend a more detailed inspection and go from there.
When we finally have to admit that winter has arrived, it’s tempting to go into a state of hibernation, lying on the couch and watching Netflix all day.
Unfortunately, there’s still so much to do in preparation for this months-long battle with Mother Nature.
If you plan on suiting up and removing your own snow this winter, you’d first better make sure you have the right tools.
Do yourself a favor and buy a decent shovel. I love my grandma, but when we go over to shovel her driveway, we always bring our own equipment because she hasn’t bought a new shovel in goodness knows how long.
If you want to move even more snow faster, you should probably buy a snow blower. However, you should check this before the first big snowfall to make sure everything is in working order because these things tend to be incredibly finicky.
If you’re a little handy and don’t want to take it to a professional, you can follow this snow blower maintenance checklist.
Break the Ice
There is nothing more hazardous about winter than the ice. One little slip can lead to an awfully big homeowners claim, not to mention the danger to you personally.
With that in mind, you should salt liberally in order to melt the ice. Also, focus on breaking up icicles that might be hanging over your roof. This is particularly important when they’re over high traffic areas like the porch.
We Need More Power, Scotty!
Although we mostly associate power outages with summer thunderstorms, it’s important to realize that a severe snowstorm can knock out the electrical as well. In some ways, it’s more of a problem when we lose power in the winter because you don’t want to be without heat for very long.
If you’re lucky enough to have a generator on hand, it would probably be good to make sure that’s working. Keep in mind a few basic safety tips:
- Keep your gas in approved safety containers.
- If you have to start your generator, do so outdoors in a well ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes.
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