Spring brings blooming flowers, warmer weather, and an abundance of life wherever you look. It’s also a time for fresh starts and blank slates. So, let’s start cleaning up the mess that winter left behind, open the windows, and get moving.
To help you get motivated for a deep spring cleaning, we’re sharing some pro tips for cleaning each area of the home, with a particular focus on your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems.
Safe and Natural Cleaning Supplies
As HVAC technicians, we are particularly concerned with indoor air quality. Many airborne contaminants come from the products we bring into the home. Once allergens have invaded the house, it’s not too long before you and your family will start to feel the effects, especially those with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems.
General Cleaning Tips
- Before you start cleaning, we highly recommend replacing the HVAC air filter. Running the air conditioner with a clean air filter while cleaning will help trap all of the particulates that get airborne.
- Clean from top to bottom. Start on the upper levels first, going from the ceiling down to the floor. This will save you time since you won’t have to clean the same area twice because it got dirty from another.
- Before throwing anything in the washing machine, check the tags!
- Replace any burnt out bulbs with LED bulbs. They use a lot less energy and last up to 25 times as long.
- Take note of any damaged cords, lights, or electronics. Refrain from using any damaged electrical components until they have been inspected by a certified electrician.
- Clean out the vacuum and making sure it’s working properly. Use vacuums with HEPA filtration for the best cleaning.
- Don’t forget to clean under and behind furniture and appliances.
- List any items in your home that need to be repaired, replaced, or added.
- Test and replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries.
- Test GFCI and AFCI outlets and breakers every 30 days. Contact an electrician if they aren’t working.
- Make sure your home safety and preparedness kits are well stocked and materials haven’t expired.
- As a general rule, start cleaning the highest spots first, such as dust and cobwebs from ceilings, ceiling fans, doorjambs, and high shelves. Clean all lamps, light fixtures, pictures, baseboards, blinds, doors, and windows.
- Make sure all your air vents are open and unobstructed. Remove the vent grilles to clean them.
- Strip all of the bed and launder the sheets, blankets, mattress pads, and pillows in hot water, but check the tags first. Some pillows, blankets, and comforters may be dry clean only. Wipe the bed area and remake the bed.
- Clean all surfaces with the appropriate cleaner — floors, windows, furniture, and bureaus. Clean under and behind furniture before replacing them.
- After you’ve dusted and wiped all of the surfaces in your bedroom, you can vacuum and Swiffer the floors.
Living Room/Dining Room, Hallway, Stairs, and Foyer Cleaning
- Clean ceiling fans with a pillowcase. Simply open the pillowcase and insert one of the ceiling fan blades. Press down and slide all of the dirt and dust into the pillowcase.
- After cleaning all the dust and cobwebs from ceilings, beams walls, ceiling fans, windows and doors, empty and clean all bookshelves, cabinets and drawers. Then restock everything neatly, donating or throwing away anything you no longer need.
- Make sure all HVAC vents are open and unblocked. Clean the grilles if necessary. Replace if damaged.
- Clean furniture, such as wood and leather, with the appropriate cleaner.
- Clean marks off of walls, baseboards, and other surfaces with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a cheaper, non-proprietary material called melamine foam.
- Shake out and wash rugs.
- Clean front, back, and side doors thoroughly, including all around the frame.
- Clean the doormats, organize shoes, and clear the clutter.
- To help maintain a clean home, make it a house rule to remove shoes before entering. Leave slip-ons near the entryways so people have clean indoor shoes to switch into.
- After you’ve cleaned all blinds, doors, windows, shelves, light fixtures, rugs, walls, and baseboards, vacuum and mop the floors.
- First, gather all the towels, curtains, and mats. Wash them on hot while you tackle the rest. If your shower curtains don’t come clean, try hand washing them. If they are still grimy, replace them.
- Clean inside and outside of the toile. If you are having trouble getting rid of stains, try using a cleaning stone.
- Remove all mildew, soap scum, stains, and hair from showers and tubs. Take note of any areas that need new caulking or grout replacement. Replace grout/caulking to prevent mold growth.
- Remove any glass fixtures, such as globes, and clean them, inside and out.
- Clean all mirrors. To help get rip of streak marks, try using coffee filters or newspapers instead of paper towels.
- Remove everything from the vanity and drawers. Clean outside and inside of all your drawers and organizers. Discard and replace any expired items.
- Wash wastebaskets inside and out.
- Wipe down all baseboards, windows, and doors, including tops and frames.
- Clean windows and screens.
- Sweep and mop the floors.
- Remove all the floor mats and towels and throw them into the wash on hot.
- Clear all the counters and drawers of all items. Thoroughly clean inside.
- Dust the tops of high surfaces, such as cabinets, microwaves, and refrigerators.
- Clean stovetop, oven, microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator.
- Throw away any expired items.
- Defrost the freezer.
- Pull the stove and refrigerator out and clean under and behind them.
- Clear out the fridge and freezer and wipe down doors and shelves, including the door gasket/seal. Defrost the freezer.
- To help clean the inside of your microwave, microwave half a lemon in a bowl of water for 30-60 seconds to loosen dried food. Then, wipe clean with a sponge.
- Clean the exhaust fan and range hood.
- Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal. Grind a couple ice cubes and lemon/lime wedges to clean and sharpen the blades while adding a nice, natural scent.
- Wipe the walls and baseboards.
The first step to avoiding a problem is not putting anything down your drain that might cause said problem in the first place. Specifically, avoid grease, food, or other objects that might build up in your drains if not properly disposed.
Food can be broken down by a garbage disposal or, even better, placed in a compost pile. Grease, however, should never enter your sink at all. Pour all old kitchen grease into a coffee pot or bucket and dispose of it carefully. It can be thrown away in some places, or it can be recycled. Whatever you do, though, don’t pour it down the drain.
- Use plastic, aluminum and other non-flammable storage containers and keep them on shelves that are away from the main outlets.
- If you keep large appliances in the garage (such as refrigerators or freezers), make sure that they are plugged into a dedicated 20-amp circuit.
- Garage door openers should be hard-wired — never connected to extension cords.
- Provide appropriate ventilation for the exhaust of a portable generator kept in the garage. Never run a generator indoors without proper ventilation!
- If you use the garage as a workshop space, make sure that you have enough lighting to perform the various tasks.
Electrical Safety and Organization
- Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to the main power outlets. A GFCI is a device that with a built-in breaker that automatically shuts off when it detects the current is flowing through an unintended path.
- Keep paper, cardboard boxes and other flammable objects away from outlets or wiring.
- Never plug power tools into extension cords.
- Make sure that all electrical equipment is kept away from exposure to water or moisture.
- Spider webs and dust can interfere with electrical currents. Make sure that you clean and dust your home regularly.
- Be mindful of outlets on walls and baseboards that have hooks, nails or staples on them. Keep extension cords away from them as they can severe or tear.
- Install locks on electrical supply boxes and tamper resistant receptacles (if you have kids).
- Never use extension cords as a permanent solution. Contact a certified electrician if you need to add more outlets.
- Learn more tips for preventing electrical fires.
- Schedule an electrical safety inspection from a qualified electrician every year.
Outdoor Spring Cleaning
- Clean the porch and patio furniture.
- Use binoculars to inspect your roof for damage, such as missing shingles.
- Open the pool if you haven’t done so already.
- Consider aerating your lawn.
- Inspect light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs with LED lights.
- Consider power washing grimy surfaces, such as siding, porches, and driveways.
- Trim trees and bushes away from the house since they can provide pests easy passage into the home.
- Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to fences, shutters, doors, and other aging items.
Clean the Gutters
Did you clean your gutters in the fall? We recommend cleaning out your gutters at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Leaves and other debris that gather in your gutters can prevent rainwater from flowing and can cause leaks and other household problems. In freezing temperatures, the clogged up water can freeze and cause dangerous and costly ice dams.
Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit
While you are going through your outdoor spring cleaning checklist, make it a point to clean you outdoor condenser unit. While a certified technician will clean your entire HVAC system during a professional tune-up, it’s important to supplement this with some DIY upkeep of your own.
Make sure there is a minimum 2-foot clearance around the entire outdoor unit. This makes sure there is proper airflow for maximum efficiency.
Simply turn off the HVAC system at the thermostat and breaker box. Then, put on some work gloves and go outside to remove any large pieces of debris by hand. Next, you can spray the unit with your garden hose to remove the smaller pieces of dust, dirt, and grass clippings.
Bonus Tip: Clean AC Condensate Drain Line
If your air conditioner’s condensate drain line gets clogged with mold and mildew, it can cause water to back up into the house and cause water damage.
To help maintain a clear condensate drain line, pour a cup of bleach into the drain line at the beginning and ending of every cooling season. There should be access to the PVC drain pipe near the indoor air handler. Remove the drain cap and pour the bleach directly in the opening. This helps kill and break up mold, mildew, and algae.
Professional and DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance
If you missed having your spring maintenance done, don’t delay and wait until next year to schedule it. Your air conditioner must have a tune-up annually or it will begin to rapidly age and deteriorate. Not only that, neglecting regular professional maintenance could void your manufacturer’s warranty. There are many benefits of scheduling annual AC maintenance — no matter how late.
Contact HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric to schedule your HVAC maintenance visit as soon as possible. Our Trust Certified technicians will go over your system with a fine-toothed comb, putting it back into factory fresh condition.
HELP Club Membership
To avoid unnecessary HVAC, plumbing, and electrical problems, sign up for a home maintenance plan. HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric offers the HELP Club, which provides 4 maintenance visits a year, discounts on repairs, and much more.
And every time our Trust Certified technicians visit your home, they will guarantee to leave your home cleaner than when they found it.
Get your home cleaned and tuned up for summer with the help of our trained and certified technicians. Contact HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric and schedule your home maintenance visit as soon as possible. We guarantee that you will be 100% satisfied before you pay anything.