It might not feel like spring today (Mother Nature, what are you doing?!), but according to the calendar, the first day of spring is March 20. And with or without snow, this time of year is prime time for cleaning out the clutter so we’re ready when the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the temps are climbing. Here’s a little checklist to help you on your way:
- Clean your dishwasher: Detach the racks and remove the baskets so that you have free reign of cleaning the interior. Next, fill a dishwasher-safe container with a cup of vinegar and set it on the upper rack. Run the dishwasher on the hot-water cycle to really give it a thorough rinse. Last, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the appliance and run your dishwasher on hot again. Tip: In the future, don’t pre-rinse your dishes too much before loading them into the dishwasher—there needs to be some food and grease for your detergent to do its job (without little scraps, there’s nothing for the enzymes to latch onto).
- Clean your garbage disposal: Unplug the garbage disposal (normally it’s plugged in under the sink), point a flashlight down into the disposal and remove any debris with pliers (don’t stick your hand down into the chamber). After you’ve removed any obstructions, turn the power back on, grind about a dozen ice cubes with a half cup of rock salt in the disposal, and run hot water for about a minute. Next, pour half a cup of baking soda and hot white distilled vinegar into the drain, let it foam for a few minutes, then flush it with boiling water. Tip: You can neutralize stinky smells by grinding citrus fruit peels (we like lemons, limes, and oranges).
- Clean your microwave: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of half vinegar and half water and microwave it on high for two minutes. The steam will help clean the microwave. Wait a few minutes (the bowl will be hot) and dip a sponge into the solution to clean off stuck-on food on the microwave’s interior walls.
- Clean your front-loading washing machine: Mix together ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water in a little bowl. Pour 2 cups of vinegar into a measuring cup. Add the baking soda mixture to the detergent container, pour the vinegar into the drum. Run your empty washer on the hottest water setting. Once the cycle is done, wipe out the mineral deposits with a cloth or sponge.
- Clean your dust and exhaust fans, as well as fan blades: Make sure the power is off at the main breaker box, unplug kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, then remove the exhaust fan blades and clean with mild soap and water. Dry thoroughly before reassembling. A good way to clean ceiling fan blades is to spray a cleaning solution inside an old pillowcase and slip the case over each blade (the dust will collect inside the case).
- Test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if necessary.
- Replace your AC filter. This will help enhance your indoor air quality by flushing out spring allergy pollutants such as pollen and dust.
- Clean and dust your AC unit. Over time, dust collection can impact the efficiency of the unit.
- Check all faucets, drains, and pipes to inspect for leaks and clogs. Don’t forget to poke your head under kitchen and bathroom sinks to look for loose connections.
- Test the sump pump to ensure it’s working correctly. With melting snow in the (near) future, you don’t want to risk your sump pump failing when you need it most. A quick test can save you thousands of dollars in damage. Run through the most common causes of sump pump failure to make sure you’re protected against all scenarios.
Schedule Your Spring Maintenance AC Tune-Up!
In addition to following this DIY spring home maintenance checklist, don’t forget to schedule your seasonal system tune-up with a Bonfe technician. Regular inspections by an HVAC professional keep your home systems in optimal working condition.
Not sure why your spring tune-up is so important? Check out this guide to understand what happens during an AC tune-up.