A Spring Cleaning And Maintenance Checklist That Will Keep Your Home Running Smoothly

When spring rolls around, many homeowners take the warm weather as inspiration to tackle the tasks they've been neglecting all winter -- cleaning out their closets, washing windows, scrubbing the fridge, and the like. While these tasks are important, they are not usually essential for keeping your home safe and running. By focusing all of your attention of dusting and tidying in the spring, you might be overlooking more important cleaning and maintenance tasks. This spring, dedicate yourself to completing this cleaning and maintenance checklist before turning your attention to smaller tasks. Doing so will help you avoid home damage and emergency calls to contractors in the coming year.

Task #1: Have your septic tank pumped.

If you have a septic tank, experts recommend having it pumped out at least every three years. If you have a garbage disposal, you should have it pumped out annually, since the food you rinse down the drain tends to accumulate in the bottom of the tank and reduce its capacity. Most homeowners let their septic tanks go far too long between pumping appointments, only calling a plumber when the tank begins to overflow. This may cause permanent damage to your lawn or septic tank, not to mention, expose you and your family members to dangerous bacteria in the material that overflows from the tank.

Having septic tank pumping will prevent you from having to make an emergency, after-hours call to your plumber when the toilets start backing up and your backyard floods. Septic tanks can sometimes develop cracks and other damage, and having yours checked out every year will ensure these problems are taken care of before they become so severe that the whole tank must be replaced.

Task #2: Have your drains cleaned.

Are your drains running slowly? Many homes have at least one drain that does not function as it should. Stop pouring chemical drain cleaners down the drain, as this may erode your pipes and eventually lead to leaks. While your plumber is on-site to pump your septic tank, have him or her give your drains a thorough cleaning. Then, keep them clean in the coming year by using hair traps in the shower and never rinsing grease down the drain.

Task #3: Replace your furnace filter.

Be honest. Did you really replace your furnace filter every month this winter? Many homeowners neglect this task, and it leads to buildup of dust and debris in their ducts. A dirty filter also makes it harder for the furnace to pump air through your system, leading to an increase in energy bills. Replace your furnace now, so it's ready to go when winter hits again. Purchase a few extra filters while you're at the store, and stash them beside the furnace so you remember to replace your filter monthly next winter.

Task #4: Clean your air conditioner condenser.

Spring is the perfect time to clean your air conditioner and get it ready for the summer months. You can hire an HVAC technician to clean the condenser for you, or spend an afternoon tackling this project yourself. Either way, doing so will help avoid malfunctions later in the year, so you don't find yourself roasting away without central air on the hottest days of the year.

To clean your air conditioner's condenser, begin by cutting down any weeds or grass that are growing around it. Then, purchase a commercial coil cleaning product from a local hardware store, and follow the package instructions to clean your condenser. Finally, clean the fins with a soft brush, remembering not to press on them, since they bend easily.

Spring is a time to give your home a fresh start by completing maintenance and cleaning tasks that will keep it running throughout the next year. Make sure you're focusing your efforts on the right tasks. Complete the essential tasks above, and then move on to the smaller jobs like dusting and cleaning out the fridge. Enlist family members to help you, and the job will be done in no time.