Traditionally the post-winter cleanup and outdoor activities start when spring arrives, but as many of us have learned, very often unexpected things in our lives seem to pop up and throw us off our game plan. For this reason, Powergreen is suggesting to get a jump start on spring around mid to late March to avoid feeling overwhelmed and abandoning your spring cleaning plans or just running out of time. We have prepared one of the most comprehensive top 10 to do lists we have seen to help you on your spring journey.
After a long dull and cold winter spring can come sooner than expected. Start just before the nice weather arrives and you will be all set to enjoy the fruits of your labor with nice weather and a warm sun shining down.
Starting on the inside…
10. Create your yearly home goals:
No one ever gets anywhere without an idea of where they want to go. Taking that first step is the most important. Most of us have great ideas in our head about what we want to do in or outside of the house and we think about them from time but often forget, loose site or they become less of a priority in our busy lives. For a complete game changer, write them down and plan steps that will lead you to this goal. Keep track of or log these steps so you won’t forget about them. Make it somewhere visible to you and those you want to share it with. Plan when you want to accomplish your major yard work, your major inside work then work toward it. It’s as simple as: Set goals, set the steps you need to reach those goals and plan your year around accomplishing those steps. We suggest keeping it on your refrigerator, saved as your desktop background or by using a shared calendar (such as Google’s Calendar) with dates to accomplish each of your steps. For help setting your goals, mindtools has some pretty sound advice on the subject.
Now that you have organized your year it’s time to shake off that winter frost and organize your home. We like to start with finances and paperwork. Just as your home computer needs to be defragged from time to time, so do our lives. To feel more focused and goal oriented, organization is key. Start by gathering all your saved receipts, bills, important letters, photos, warranties, product manuals and anything else you deem important. Organize them in a manner that makes sense to you and file them away for easy access in the future. Clean out your clothes closet, removing any unwanted items for donation or storage and pull your summer clothes for the year. You can also check out this fun article from Buzzfeed. This is also a great time to inspect, organize and label your storage containers.
8. Home Supply box:
With the busy summer approaching no one wants to run to the store to get things like batteries or light bulbs when you are trying to enjoy a night by the fire hanging out with friends or while you are busy running the kids around to practice, so it’s a great idea to stock up early. We recommend switching to all compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) as they will save energy costs and give off much less heat than standard bulbs.
Start by doing an inventory of what is needed now, then double that number, you will thank us later. Look for things like battery’s, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, school supplies (pens, markers, and notebooks), toothbrushes, and other toiletries. For these items, we recommend shopping at places like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale club. Often these stores have much better prices because you are buying in bulk and that’s single biggest money saver when buying from wholesale stores; buy in bulk.
7. Appliance maintenance:
It’s time to check your expensive appliances and keep them running their best while also preserving their life. Starting in the kitchen clean your refrigerator coils. You may need someone to help you move it away from the wall, please follow your refrigerator model’s specific product book on safety. For cleaning, following this guide from wikiHow is a good start. Keeping them free of dust dirt will not only increase their life but it will allow them to run more effectively saving energy.
Next, you will want to clean your dryer vents. You can do this yourself but we suggest hiring a pro somewhere such as Angie’s List. It’s now time to clean your air conditioning coils and exterior condenser. This is a simple task and can be done with a garden hose and light water. Simply spray the coils until they are free of dirt and debris. Removing mold is another issue which we will talk about down the list. Don’t forget to change your HVAC and refrigerator filters and keep a stock of at least 2 of each as they should be changed every 60 days (90 with pets) on average. A quick and easy ordering of these filters can be done online.
6. Indoor Safety Check:
Check and replace all batteries in fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check all outlets for overloaded plugs and fire hazards and review or create family emergency plans. Prepare a “Go-Bag” and a “Stay-Bag” for you and your family. Bug-out-bags and Go-Bags aren’t just for military and special ops.
A Go-Bag is a quick access bag that is located between you and your nearest point of exit, usually in a hall closet or under your bed. This is a 72-hour survival bag you can grab in a hurry on your way out of your home should you need to leave immediately such as in a weather emergency in the middle of the night. It should be pre-loaded with one fresh change of clothes, water bottles, cell phone charger, extra identification, spare copies of important keys, long lasting and high energy food such as protein bars or meal replacement bars, a candle, lighter, flashlight, cash, bank cards and anything else you decide is of great value.
A Stay-Bag would be a survival kit for your home. You can use storage container or bag and these can be stored in a closet or basement as long as it’s free of moisture. These kits are used in situations like tornadoes or other natural disasters when you’re a stuck in a home basement for hours. Having extra food storage is a great idea and can come in handy in these situations. Ready.gov has a great list of supplies to keep you prepared for disaster. While we all assume nothing bad or frightening will happen it’s better to be prepared and not need it, then to need it and not be prepared. Lastly, contact your local fire department and ask for a free home safety inspection. Most cities will gladly come out to inspect and educate you on your home’s fire safety.
Now let’s move outside…
5. Outdoor Equipment and tool check:
Summer is on its way! Are you ready? Don’t get caught off-guard, it’s time to get out and check that lawn mower, weed whacker. Gas them up, crank them up and place them somewhere for easy access. If by chance you find your mower just doesn’t have what it takes to last another year it may be time for a new one. We love the selection at Lowes, and they support military and veterans, which of course makes us a big fan.
If you transfer your outdoor equipment and garden tools to a shed or store them out of reach it’s time to move them in a place with ease of access. This would also be a fantastic time to think about some new storage ideas. We found some great ideas on Pinterest. While you’re moving around outside it’s a great time to check all of those outdoor faucets for winter damage. Turn them on and let them run for at least 30 seconds, ensuring no debris comes out. Then place your thumb or finger over the hole at medium pressure and if you are able to stop water flow you may have a leaking or burst pipe somewhere inside that needs to be checked out. Call a professional.
4. Landscaping and lawn preparation:
It’s time for everyone’s favorite job, taking care of your landscaping. From fertilizing and mowing to gardening and choosing the best plants and bushes to compliment your yard. There is so much to do here if you don’t start early it’s almost guaranteed for you to fall behind before you realize it. You can be a “do-it-yourselfer” if you have the time and knowledge or you can hire a professional to not only save you time but prevent you from making costly mistakes. If you’re in “The Land” (Cleveland Ohio) area like us, we recommend our friends over at Seasonal Yard Work for a cost-effective and professional job.
For the do-it-yourselfer do your research beforehand. Know your climate, plan a strategy, know what local pests are around, map the area and plan for growth. Now it’s time to do some shopping. You will need to stock up on fertilizer, garden seeds, topsoil, mulch, lime, and pesticides such as EcoSmarts lawn and garden insect spray that’s safe for your pets and children. This is also a great time to check your garden hoses, replacing cracked or old worn out hoses. Finally prepare your exterior for the warmer weather by clearing leaves, limbs, and debris from sidewalks, plant beds and surrounding areas and beginning to clean up any gardens you may have.
Planting Tip: having your air conditioning condenser in the shade will save you energy
3. Home 360° integrity check:
This is an all-around general check so you don’t get surprised by an unwelcomed repair or maintenance cost you’re not prepared for. Check all windows and doors for missing or eroded caulking, paint, and cracks in the frame or glass and torn screens. A leaky house can skyrocket your utility bills in the summer as well as winter. Check your foundation for cracks on the outside of your home or on your basement walls. If you see signs of moisture it’s time to call a professional waterproofing company. You should also have a quick look around all of your ceilings and walls for cracks if you notice foundation cracks.
Examine your patio’s walkways, driveway, and sidewalks for dirt, mold, chipping, cracks, erosion or sunken and uneven areas. Dirty cement can be easily cleaned using a pressure washer but we recommend using a professional as too much pressure can damage your cement, stripping the cream off a new pad and leave unsightly lines and irreversible marks. Proper cleaning is done with a surface cleaner using pressure combined with high heat and a chemical treatment. Sunken cement can be leveled out by injecting polyurethane into a drilled hole to raise the entire pad.
Cement that’s shows damage such as erosion and cracks can be indicators that the sealant on your cement is no longer doing its job and it’s allowing water to enter the pores of your cement. During the freeze-thaw cycles throughout the year, this will slowly eat away at your surfaces. Before replacing your existing concrete or driveway we recommend professionally applying a quality Silane/Siloxane penetrating sealer such as a 7-year commercial grade sealant. This will also aid in the routine cleaning of that service as the sealer penetrates up to ½ inch into the cement and forms a nanoparticle barrier on the surface which can extend the life by up to 15 years.
2. Clean and inspect your roof:
Your roof, one of the most noticeable parts of your property when it’s dirty and one of the most costly to replace. Yearly routine cleaning can solve both problems and maximize its life up to 25 years!
The first thing to look for are those black or brown streaks usually angled vertically down your roof. This is a bacteria called Gloeocapsa magma that feeds on the limestone in your shingles. This bacteria creates those smear like stains as it feeds, growing larger and holding moisture. The moisture is a breeding ground for moss and mold, which you will definitely see if you’ve got it, as it appears like you’re starting to grow another lawn on your roof! If left untreated it will break down the shingles and shorten the life of your roofs causing early replacement. It can also severely lower property value, cause insurance companies to cancel policies and because damaged shingles cause loss of reflectivity it will increase your utility costs because of your home holding more heat during those hot summer days.
We recommend getting your roof professionally cleaned at least once a year in damp areas with heavy vegetation and every 1-3 years in areas with high sun and low moisture. Generally the cost of cleaning a roof will only run around 4% of the total replacement cost, clearly a smart choice for the person who loves to save money. Cleaning should only be done with a soft chemical wash. Never let anyone climb on your roof with a pressure washer to remove these stains as it will do more harm than good and will age the roof faster than the bacteria ever could.
1. Clean your home’s siding:
If you haven’t ever had your house cleaned or it’s been a few years, take a good look at your siding. These days vinyl siding is used almost exclusively on newer homes, it’s everywhere and for good reason. It’s durable, it’s strong and it cleans up beautifully. Its major flaw is it hold mold extremely well. Aluminum siding, on the other hand, is the siding of the past but is still around in abundance. It is strong and does a great job at protecting the house as well but can be very difficult to clean especially if it has been neglected for years. If left untouched it will gather moisture in those tiny imperfections in the paint, slowly turning to oxidation making it next to impossible to come back from.
Both of these need to be cleaned regularly to preserve their life. This can be done in small areas by a homeowner by using a mixture of 4 0z dawn(non-antibacterial) /.5 gal standard bleach/1.5 gal water, applying for 10 min with a soft brush and rinsing off. This can be difficult if you have a 2 story home and is very time-consuming on one story homes. This type of project is best left to a professional with the proper equipment, training, and insurance to take the best care of your home. Cleaning of your siding should be done with a chemical wash ONLY usually called a “soft-wash”. A big mistake when cleaning siding is applying heat or pressure directly to any surface and this has cost homeowners thousands in repairs and replacement. Siding is not meant to withstand pressure to its surface. Pressure applied to vinyl siding can strip the siding of its protective clear coat it was manufactured with. This clear coat holds its color and preserves the life of the siding. Strip this clear coat and be ready for your siding to discolor, warp and age very quickly. Pressure applied directly to aluminum can dent and streak the surface, causing irreversible damage. This was the way house cleaning was done 20 years ago, but we have since learned to work smarter.
We hope every decision you make is done with a goal of extending the life of your property, improving your home’s value and increasing your own happiness. Have a great spring!
Powergreen LLC is here for all of your Pressure washing, Soft-Washing, House washing, Roof cleaning, Cement cleaning, Cement sealing, rust removal and stain removal needs. To talk to one of our representatives, schedule a free demo or receive a free estimate call us today at 216-839-WASH or just hop back over to our main page and submit an estimate request.
Kyle here, the owner of Powergreen LLC wishing you the best of luck this spring season.