By KELLY STILES | The Arkadelphian
Spring cleaning can often overshadow maintenance tasks to be accomplished during the season. Here are eight ways to maintain your home this spring to save time and money later on:
Clean your roof and gutters
Safety is the most important aspect of this chore, according to Terry Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Roofing in Arkadelphia. Homeowners tackling this task should tether themselves to the roof using a rope and harness so they are not injured or killed if they slip.
Especially after storms, Palmer says it is important to make sure that fallen tree limbs or debris did not knock a shingle loose or puncture a hole in the roof. Removing unnecessary items from atop your roof can increase the roof’s longevity, as undue weight and moisture can cause a roof to lose structural integrity.
To prevent a gutter from clogging, Palmer recommends installing a gutter screen to catch leaves and twigs. This allows any unwelcome items to be easily removed from the gutter screen at the top of the gutter instead of from the middle of a clogged duct.
Make sure your air conditioning system is ready for warmer weather
You can hire a service company or do it yourself. President of Daniell Heat & Air in Hot Springs Jason Daniell encourages homeowners to “maintain a clean filter.” The time between the changing or cleaning of a filter varies depending a person’s living conditions and the type of filter they use. For instance, someone with pets may need to change their filter more often on account of the accumulation of pet hair and dander, and a 2-inch filter will need to be changed less often than a 1-inch filter. Regardless, Daniell recommends checking any air filter once a month for any substantial dirt or debris preventing adequate airflow.
A quick rinse can also keep an HVAC unit in good shape. According to Daniell, using a “water hose with minimal water pressure” can prevent grass, leaves, dirt and more from clogging up the system. A rinse with a hose is not an adequate replacement for an annual professional cleaning, Daniell added, as HVAC technicians have the tools and knowledge necessary to clean inside the machine.
Daniell has also found that many people are unaware that Entergy will pay for a customer’s HVAC unit to be serviced once every five years, excluding sales tax.
Prevent pests from entering your home
Pests can creep in at entry points you may not think about. According to Josh Miller, territory manager for Legacy Termite & Pest Control in Arkadelphia, openings around the foundation for plumbing wires are prime insect entrances. Sealing these off can prevent these unwanted guests from coming in, and can prevent moisture from entering your home.
Moist wood is a prime feeding ground for termites, a common springtime home destroyer. Constant dust on windowsills, chipping paint on baseboards, and soft spots in floorboards are all indications of a termite problem, Miller said. It is recommended that you call a pest control service if termites are suspected to live in your home, as they can cause permanent damage to a property’s wooden structure.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
There should be at least one of each on every level of a home, says Arkadelphia Fire Department firefighter and EMT Blake Ausley. Test your detectors once a year, Ausley says. Also, according to the National Fire Protection Association, be sure to keep a fire extinguisher near your kitchen, as unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires.
Clean dryer vents and refrigerator coils
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) notes that these chores can not only increase the longevity of appliances, but prevent electrical hazards and house fires. Johnny Manning, owner of Manning Appliance Service in Arkadelphia, says that if there is airflow coming out of the outdoor dryer vent, then there should not be a problem. If there is not significant airflow, check the inside ductwork connecting the dryer to the wall for any lint buildup, as well as the outside vent. If airflow does not improve after these areas are cleaned, the ESFI recommends calling a professional to remove potential blockages deeper within the vent.
Manning says that a regular scrubbing brush is the best tool to use for removing dust from refrigerator coils. Be sure to unplug the fridge before doing so, as the coils can be hot.
Prepare your lawn
Before your grass starts growing thick and heavy, Nick Robertson, owner of Lazer-Lawn Care in Arkadelphia, recommends putting down an pre-emergent that prevents unestablished plants like weeds from growing. He uses a pre-emergent that includes prodiamine. When the grass starts to grow, spraying nitrogen can help it stand up straighter and become a brighter green.
Once the weather starts warming up, it is good to keep your lawn moist. Watering it every one to two days is ideal, said Robertson.
Power wash your house, driveways, and walkways
You can rent a power washer or hire a professional, like Will Kellington of Sud n Clean Power Washing in Bismarck. According to Kellington, power or pressure washing increases a property’s curb appeal by removing discoloration. It can also benefit people with allergies by getting rid of mildew and other allergens.
Before pressure washing someone’s home, Kellington first ensures that the house is properly sealed so that water does not leak into the home and cause damage. He recommends exercising caution with the amount of water pressure used on each surface. For instance, it is a good idea to use low pressure on wood, as too much pressure can cause splintering. Increase the amount of water pressure in small increments until you notice a difference in color.
Declutter your home
Have too much stuff and not enough space? Get rid of items you do not use by donating them to local consignment shops and nonprofits.
A constituent of Group Living Inc., The Beehive resale shop in Arkadelphia relies on public donations and provides training and employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. Lighthouse Ministries in Arkadelphia is a thrift store supported by local churches cooperating with the Red River Baptist Association with the mission to serve mothers and babies, those with food insecurity, people suffering from natural disasters, and others in need.
Another donation option is The CALL in Clark County, a non-profit focused on helping families prepare for and take care of foster children. They accept donations of children’s clothes and hygiene products to be given to foster families and to biological families who have gotten their children back.