Spring is just around the corner, and soon it will be time to de-winterize your home. Yes, all that hard work you did last fall now has to be undone. It’s all part of the circle of life – or in this case the never-ending duties of home-maintenance! Here is my handy-dandy check list to go with the Winterizing Checklist I gave you last fall.
1) Replace your furnace filter – The heating system worked hard all winter and a lot of dust, etc went through those filters, and it’s a good idea to change them out. Now that the weather is warming up and your heater won’t have to work so hard, having a nice, clean filter could help your heater work more efficiently, thereby saving you money.
2) Remove the insulation/plastic film off the windows. You may need to use a hairdryer to heat up the double-sided tape along the edge of the windows. Once warm & soft, simply pull the plastic off the window frame. You may also need to heat up any left-over tape adhesive left on the frame. Use warm, soapy water or a spray on cleaner to remove any other traces of the tape from the frame & you may as well wash the windows since you’re already there cleaning! It’ll feel great to let the sun shine in!
Be sure to check the caulking & weather-stripping around your windows. After making it through the cold of the winter months, it may be cracked & peeling. If you use air-conditioning during the summer months, any cracks or leaks may cost you money & energy.
3) Dust & switch the direction of ceiling fans back counter-clockwise. That will force warm air up and help it to circulate throughout the room to aid in cooling the room for the summer months.
4) Open up any closed-off rooms, dust & sweep up any flies, etc that have accumulated over the winter months. Be sure to open the vents if you have air-conditioning to aid in the circulation throughout the home.
5) Check smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. Press the test buttons and change the batteries if they are running low.
6) If your home has a fireplace, it’s a good idea to clean it out as part of your spring cleaning & de-winterization routine. Use a shop vacuum NOT your household vacuum cleaner as the ash & wood fragments can clog & ruin the motor. Have a professional chimney cleaner clean your chimney to prevent the risk of fire. (Check your yellow pages for a Chimney Sweep Company)
7) Sometimes rain gutters get the brunt of the winter weather from ice dams forming near the edge of the roof. When the thaw brings the snow & ice off the roof, sometimes the gutters get damaged, so be sure to inspect for any damage and replace the sections that may need it.
8) Check your trees in your yard for any winter damage, and trim off any broken limbs. If you have fruit trees, be careful and be sure to do any pruning before the sap starts to flow. If the fruit trees have warmed up too much, any pruning could damage the coming years’ crop of fruit. Check with a landscaping professional before doing any big pruning jobs on your trees to avoid damaging your landscape.
9) If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, make sure you wait until all chances of a frost have passed then open up the valves before turning on the main water supply to allow the trapped air to blow out with the fresh water coming through. When in doubt, check with a professional as this could be a costly mistake to repair.
10) Check over all your snow moving tools that have been loyal helpers during the past winter, and get everything ready for storage over the summer. Take any motorized equipment (snow plow, too) to be serviced/sharpened, etc., because remember – maintaining is cheaper than replacing!
11) Refill your Emergency Outage Kit and stock it with non-perishable supplies (matches, candles, etc). Even though the weather is warmer, emergencies still happen!
These are just a few tips to get your homes ready for the warmer weather in the months ahead. Just be careful not to do anything too soon. It is still February!