Spring has sprung and many of us will soon begin our spring cleaning rituals. Making sure your home is ready for the season takes a little more than just dusting away cobwebs and airing out the linen closet. Check out these helpful tips to make sure your home is truly ready to spring ahead!
Electrical Outlets and Cords: Worn out wires or ill-fitting (or old) outlets can pose serious fire safety risks to your family. Take a walk through your home stopping in every room to check appliance cords and outlets for damage or excessive wear and tear. While you’re at it, make sure extension cords aren’t overloaded, and that your electrical panel is updated. If you haven’t yet replaced bathroom and kitchen outlets with GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters), now is a good time to do so.
Light Bulbs: While you’re checking out appliance cords, test lightbulbs to ensure they are in working order too. Ensure the recommended wattage is being used and replace any burned out bulbs with high-efficiency options to help lower energy bills. (Extra credit tip: Prepare your family for unexpected power outages by placing flashlights in easy to reach areas…Check your local retailer for some fun flashlights just for kids.)
Fire Extinguishers: Fire extinguishers should be checked annually, so adding that task to your spring cleaning checklist is a great way to make sure it isn’t forgotten. Take time to inspect the hose, nozzle and other parts for damage and wear, and ensure the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. Make sure the extinguisher is easily accessible, and that everyone in your home knows where it is and how to use it.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Make a date with your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors this spring. Inspect each unit for excessive dust or age, and use swap out old batteries for new. Aim to have at least one unit on each floor of your home, in hallways and inside bedrooms and other frequently occupied spaces. Ask your local electrician about newer, interconnected units that provide whole-house protection for your family.
Air Conditioning: Air conditioners (AC) have become an integral part of our daily lives. Make you’re your system is ready for the hot weather ahead by scheduling an annual evaluation (or tune up) visit. A certified HVAC technician will perform a variety of checks and adjustments to ensure your AC runs safely and efficiently all season long. And, remember, never add Freon to a system. Low levels of the chemical typically indicate a leak and should be addressed by a professional as quickly as possible.
Water Heater: You might not think of your water heater needing TLC, but it too requires an annual inspection and flush. Taking time to drain the tank clears out sediment helping prolong the life of the system and can even help improve energy efficiency. Regular maintenance also helps prevent dangerous bacteria buildup, and will alert you to any leaks that might be occurring. Water heater maintenance isn’t hard, but it can be overwhelming for some. If that’s you, keep matters simple by contacting a certified plumber who can perform a thorough evaluation and flush quickly and efficiently.
Dryers: Excessive lint buildup inside vent pipes and around ducts can quickly become fire hazards. Take time to clean out the dryer exhaust duct and spaces under and around the appliance (you can purchase a special brush meant for this purpose from any local hardware store). Spring is also a great time to schedule a whole-house duct cleaning service if your family suffers with allergies or other respiratory concerns.