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You already know spring is around the corner even if the weather has not changed. Home cleaning “Hacks” have been surfacing on different social media outlets. From Facebook to Instagram, everyone has their spin on DIY home cleaning hacks. As it should be, cleaning is an essential requirement if we want to live a healthy and long life.
However, in today’s fast pace society, we want things done fast and cleaning is not the exception. Short cuts and lack of attention can cause serious injuries not only to yourself but to your property as well. To avoid medical and home repair expenses, make sure you know the Do’s and Don’ts of spring cleaning.
DO – Empty the gutters
Now that spring is here, your gutters are likely filled with leaves and debris from fall and winter. Try to clean them out on a nice warm day before the rainy season sets in. If left alone, heavy rain can lead to flooding, damage, and cause mayhem on your roof. After cleaning the gutters, run water through them. Make sure the water that comes out is running away from your house. Water can pool close to your property, infiltrate, and damage the walls.
After cleaning and inspecting your gutters, window and roof shingles should be next on your cleaning to-do list. Before you get going, you will need a ladder. Ladder falls are quite common during cleaning and renovations, which is why you must be extra careful. One wrong step can not only lead to body pain, broken bones, or worse, but it can also lead to damages to your home. Making sure you have an extra hand and supervision will reduce the chances of an accident.
DON’T – Skip the lint
The average family does between 8-10 loads of laundry a week. Doing the math 8 loads x 52 weeks (total weeks in a year) = 416 loads. Your family could be doing 416 loads or MORE of laundry a year. Think of all that lint from the dry. You may clean out your lint flitter…but is that enough?
Sadly, no. Lint also builds up in the dry vent which can be a protentional fire hazard. To avoid a fire in the house, it is recommended to clean out your dryer vent once a year; more if you have a larger family and are dryer items more frequent. Following the steps below will not only give you the peace of mind of a fire free house but it will also save you money:
- Use a toothbrush and laundry detergent to scrub your lint filter. Rinse off and leave out to air dry completely.
- Pull out your dryer and detach the hose from the back. You can purchase a long brush from your local hardware store or on Amazon to snake out the buildup. This should not take you too long and will save you money in the long run. With less buildup of lint, your clothes will dry faster, and you will be protecting yourself and your family from a dangerous house fire. Win. Win.
- If your items are still taking a long time to dry after completing the steps above, you may either need to hire a professional to clean out your dryer vent or have your dryer inspected.
DO – Smoke Alarm Checkup
Yes, you probably left this off your spring to-do list last year and maybe even the year before but here is your reminder. Make it a habit every spring to check your smoke alarm batteries as well as change them. Most smoke alarms use 9-volt alkaline batteries, but some use AA. You will be glad to have a view on hand when they do eventually die out and the smoke alarm starts chirping at you. If you have not heard the chirping before, let me tell you, it is not a pleasant sound to hear late in the night. It is your smoke alarms way of alerting you that your batteries need to be changed. Even though smoke alarms are one of those out of sight, out of mind things, you will be glad to have checked in to protect your family and your home.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or in homes where the smoke alarm was not working. NFPA also points to missing or disconnected batteries as the reason for inoperable smoke alarms. Dead batteries cause 25 percent of smoke alarm failures.
If your smoke alarm is 10 years old, change it. Yes, this is an expense, but it will save you money down the road. Most insurance companies may offer discounts for smoke alarms, particularly monitored systems. Once you have finished checking your batteries and possibly upgraded your systems, give your insurance agent a call. It may be a small amount, but the price of peace of mind is priceless.
DON’T – Ignore your fire extinguisher
Speaking of fires. Fire extinguishers are also one of those out of sight out of mind items until you need one. When you are in need of one it is most likely an emergency and when you reach down and try to use it, you hope that it will work. Well, what if doesn’t?
Routinely check the expiration on your extinguisher. Typically, a fire extinguisher has a shelf life of 5 to 15 years. If you are not sure when you bought it or how long it was sitting at the store before you brought it home, here are some other ways to help you determine if you should invest in a new one:
- Check the pressure gauge. If your fire extinguisher has one, the needle should be in the green area. If it lands anywhere else, it’s time to get it serviced or just replace it.
- If your fire extinguisher is an older model and does not have a gage, it is a good sign to just go ahead and replace it.
- The handle is loose or damaged
- The nozzle is cracked, ripped, broken or blocked with debris
- The locking pin is missing or unsealed
- The device has been used
- The inspection sticker or hang tag, with a record of checkups and maintenance, is missing
Once you have inspected your fire extinguisher make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is located in the house. If a fire does break out, it would be wise for everyone to have prior knowledge of where to find the extinguisher. Also, review how to safely use an extinguisher with the family. If you are not sure, go to your local fire department. They will provide you with a safe place to learn and practice with them. Your children will love it and you will feel more confident on what to do if a fire does happen.
If you do happen to get a new fire extinguisher, make a note on the month/year. This will save you the guesswork of when you need to change it.
DO – Clean out your dehumidifiers and humidifiers
Whether your family is trying to keep the humidity away or brining it in; your spring-cleaning list must include cleaning out your dehumidifier/humidifiers. Both, when dirty, are home to several bacteria, germs, mold, and viruses that can make you or your family sick. Dust, grime, and dirt carry pathogens, and these airborne pathogens can transmit several illnesses, allergies, and even asthma. If you are using your dehumidifier and or humidifiers regularly, it is suggested to clean them every 3 months.
DON’T – Forget about your water heater
This should be done yearly. Hire a professional plumber to inspect your water heater. Gas leaks and faulty valves can cause catastrophic explosions that could easily be prevented. Though rare, water heaters have been seen to explode through the roofs of homes. Seems crazy? Mythbusters confirmed what plumbers have been saying all along. Imagine the damage irreputable damage that could be done to your home if this happens? Avoid home damages by:
- Hire a professional plumber to service your water heater and inspect for sediment build up resulting in reduces efficiency and capacity as well as cite things that signal the beginning of a leak, improper burning, carbon monoxide issues and gas leaks. (Most insurance companies will provide a discount if you have that done)
- Changing your water heater every 10-13 years if it is a tank water heater. Every 18-20 years if it is a tankless water heater.
- Pay attention to reduced hot water volume or temperature, a clunking sound, signs of leaking and calcification at the top of the unit. If any of these signs arise, schedule a time to have a professional plumber to come and check it out.
DO – Think Chemically Smart
Based on the areas you are about to clean, you need to wear protective gear like masks, goggles, and heat shield. These will help to prevent chemicals from getting directly absorbed into your skin and exasperating your respiratory tract. With the right protective gear, you’re also protecting your eyes from harmful fumes.
Home cleaning is a major necessity in today’s life. With the pandemic still posing a threat in our day to day, it is essential for everyone to conduct timely cleaning sessions. Remember, your biggest wealth is your health and a clean environment is one of the things that can ensure that.
When done together, home cleaning can be fun too. Bring everyone in the family on board and assign each member with some tasks to make spring-cleaning an interesting session. With the above-mentioned hacks, not only can you have a clean home but also the safest spring home cleaning session.
Make sure you have the right homeowner coverage before you start your cleaning. If you have any questions about your policy, one of our team members would love to talk to you. Please reach out to us at 919-562-1974 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org