Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Joyce Cavanagh, 979-845-3859, email@example.com
COLLEGE STATION – With spring around the corner, now is a good time to ponder doing some interior and exterior maintenance chores to improve your home’s efficiency and safety, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“Spring is an optimal season to spend some time and effort on preventive and corrective measures around the home,” said Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension specialist in family and community health, College Station. “Things like making sure your mechanical equipment is in working order and taking care of potential hazards inside and outside the home can save you money and improve your family’s safety.”
Cavanagh said make sure major mechanical systems in the home are working correctly and component parts of these systems, along with major appliances, are properly maintained.
“Have your air conditioner inspected by a professional and make this the time to replace your HVAC filters,” she said. “If there are plants or bushes around your exterior air conditioning unit, this is a good time to prune them. Reduced intake efficiency and dirty filters make your system work harder and can shorten the life of your blower motor.”
Cavanagh also said spring is the time to clean or replace the furnace filter and check the water heater for any leaks, mineral buildup or corrosion.
“Spring is also a great time to take care of some of your major appliances to ensure they remain in good working condition and don’t pose a potential safety hazard,” she said. “For example, lint can build up inside the dryer’s vent pipe and around the duct, so you should clean the filter and exhaust as well as dust under the dryer.”
She said while in the laundry room, it’s also important to check washing machine hoses to be sure there are no cracks or leaks.
“If the hoses are old or have seen better days, spring would be a good time to replace them with newer, sturdier metal hoses.”
In the kitchen, vacuum or brush your refrigerator coils, which are typically underneath or at the back of the fridge, she said.
“You can also make your home safer by checking both your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms at this time,” she said. “Daylight Savings Time is traditionally a good time to check your smoke alarms and replace the batteries. It’s also a good idea to check to make sure any fire extinguishers in the home are in good working order and are in an easily accessible location.”
Cavanagh said spring is also a good time to take care of exterior maintenance issues.
“If you’ve had a snow, rain or hail during the winter months, this would be an ideal time to check your roof for damage,” she said. “You can start by making a simple visual inspection to see if there are any damaged or missing shingles. If anything looks damaged and needs closer inspection or repair, it’s best to call a professional.”
She said cleaning the gutters and downspouts fits well with performing an initial roof inspection.
“When you’re through cleaning the gutters, check your windows and doors to find out if you need to reseal any areas around them,” she said. “This way you can lower your electricity costs, especially when summer rolls around, as well as keep water from getting into your home.”
Cavanagh said it may also be time to consider resealing your deck, wood fence or any outdoor wooden structures.
“You may also want to take the opportunity to repair any cracks or uneven surfaces on your patio, driveway or sidewalk areas,” she said. “You may want to inspect and remove any dead or dying trees or limbs rubbing up against the house or roof.”
Cavanagh said those who live along coastal areas or in regions where there are high winds may also want to look into garage door maintenance and possibly add reinforcement to the door.
“An overhead door professional should be able to assess the wind load requirement of your garage door and other factors to determine if reinforcement is needed and how to properly reinforce your door,” she said.
Cavanagh noted spring is also when termites begin to swarm.
“Termites typically start swarming in March and keep it up until May or June, so if you see lots of winged ant-like insects coming out of a hole or crack in your home’s woodwork, those might be termites and it could be time to call a professional exterminator,” she said.