Jumping into Spring with Tips to Get Ready for a New Season

Spring has sprung and we couldn’t be happier to start packing away the winter clothes, snow boots and basically anything winter related. It’s time to embrace this new season with an appreciation for all it promises to bring. It’s a known fact that the shorter days and colder weather can make you feel down; there’s even a name for it, season affective disorder (SAD, an appropriate acronym). As a result, we are ready to not only dust off of our state of mind but also get our home in order. Just like us, they take a beating from the cold, so it’s important to take care of things we’ve had to neglect due to the weather.  Tackling these projects now will ensure you’re ready to enjoy spring before moving into summer!

Since the exterior of our homes bear the brunt of the cold season starting outside is best:

  • Check all windows and doors – the cold weather can break down the caulking and stripping that seals your doors and windows so take a walk around your home to check for any damage. Replace any old, cracked caulk and/or stripping for proper insulation. You don’t want to let the warm air inside especially when you’re running your air conditioner this summer!
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts – During the winter leaves and other debris can accumulate inside so it’s important to clean out and ensure proper functionality. Gutters direct water away from the perimeter of the home and with rainy months ahead you don’t want clogged gutters, they’ll only cause trouble.

Gutter

  • Service your air conditioner –To ensure you’re prepared for the hot summer days that follow spring, it’s a good idea to begin servicing your air conditioners Begin by replacing the filters to ensure the efficiency of the unit. Clogged filters make it difficult for the unit to work properly. For anyone with allergies, consider replacing the filter about every 60 days or so. For the more complicated servicing consult an HVAC professional at least once a year.
  • Landscaping – Check the surrounding areas of your home, both front and back, and sweep away any old leaves, debris, and tree branches. If your yard contains any bushes or plants give them a trim; most likely they’ve gotten a bit overgrown during these last few months. And don’t forget to replace that winter ravaged door mat for a fresh new look.

Trimming

  • Trim and siding maintenance – Icy and windy winter conditions can wreak havoc on the exterior which can be fragile. Contact a professional if you spot any damage.

Once you wrap up outside, here are some inside spring cleaning tips to get your home in order:

  • Replace damaged or torn window screens – For anyone who likes to keep their windows open it’s important the screens are in perfect condition. This will allow the maximum amount of fresh air to get into your home as well as keep insects like mosquitoes and flies outside where they belong.
  • A deep clean – Give extra care to cleaning your windows; take down and launder the window treatments, dust off the blinds, and clean them with a damp sponge. Carpets and rugs take a hit during the winter months so a deep steam clean will revitalize them. You can either hire a professional service or if you have some extra time, there are places that will rent the machine to you on an hourly basis.

Window Cleaning

  • Test all emergency systems – Check all of your systems (house, smoke, carbon monoxide alarms) to make sure they’re working properly. These units should be tested regularly and spring and fall maintenance are the best times to do this.
  • Ceiling Fans – You might not realize this but the direction of the blades makes a difference. In addition to giving the fan a good cleaning, you’ll want to change the direction of the fans to blow air down to give the room a breeze and make it feel cooler.
  • Store dry goods in airtight containers – With the warmer weather insects return so it’s important to store all your dry goods in sealed containers as well as wash out your pet’s bowls after every meal.

Food Storage

  • Organize, organize, organize – File, shred, and eliminate any clutter. Clean out cabinets, toss anything old such as medicines and cosmetics, and donate or discard get rid of any unnecessary items you don’t use or need.

How D-I-Wise are you? 4 Skills to Brush Up On

There are some home repairs that we wouldn’t recommend – think asbestos removal and electrical, gas and roof repairs… For the smaller tasks though, why pay a pro when you can do it yourself? Having these tricks up your sleeve will save you money, give you the satisfaction of having done the job yourself, and give you the right to tell people you’re “handy”!

 

showerGet A(Shower)head
Let your worries wash away – replacing your shower-head is one chill skill! If your current shower-head is old, has poor water pressure, or maybe you want to install a filtered unit or save water with a low-flow variety, don’t put off updating it any longer. Remove your old shower-head using an adjustable 8-inch wrench. Remove any excess dirt, rubber gaskets or tape from around the pipe with a rag. Wrap the threads of the pipe with a couple of layers of Teflon or Plumber’s Tape. Hand-tighten your new shower-head onto the pipe clock-wise. Turn on the shower and if there are any leaks around the seal, hand-tighten more and test again.

 

drainNo Pain, Clear Drain
Some of those older Brooklyn buildings come with some sensitive pipes! Don’t go putting your plumber on speed dial just yet though. If water is backing up in your sink and a liquid drain treatment hasn’t worked, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and unclog it yourself! If you have an attached drain plug or stopper that is controlled from a latch behind your sink, detach that first from under your sink. Then use needle nose pliers or a long piece of wire to pull up the hair or dirt clog creation, and voila! A skill that could save you a big bill!

 

stain

Stained for Good
This is one stain that’s good for your reputation! Top-grade professional wood staining can cost big bucks. In most cases, this is a project you can do yourself. First mix up the stain until you get a consistent color. Dip a brush into the stain and paint the wood going along the grain. Let the stain set for 15 minutes – the longer you leave it, the darker the wood! After you’ve let it set, wipe the wood with a rag, again along the grain. Leave the wood somewhere cool and dry for at least four hours.

 

patch a hole

A Skill to Fill
Holes in your walls from hanging art, shelves, clocks, mirrors, photos? Guilty! Lucky there’s a quick, cheap fix to those unsightly spots. Purchase some lightweight spackle, a putty knife and some sandpaper. Use a corner of the putty knife to scoop out a small amount of spackle and fill the hole. Use the straight edge of the knife to smooth and even out the spackle. Let it dry for a few hours then sand the area lightly with your sandpaper, blending the spackle into the surrounding drywall.