There are dangers lurking in our homes that we rarely think about. Spring is a good time to clean up and take stock of small issues that can lead to bigger repairs with time. This spring cleaning checklist will help make sure your home is as safe as it is clean.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
Most people clean their lint trap after every load of laundry, but the dryer vent is often neglected. It’s a simple homeowner maintenance tip and one that should top your cleaning list. Lint can build up in the hose from the dryer and the dryer vent, creating a fire hazard. During spring cleaning, pull out a vacuum hose, coat hanger or plumbing snake to help clear out years of lint that accumulate in these forgotten spaces. In addition to cleaning your dryer vent, other fire safety tips for your home include installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in each room and planning and practicing escape routes.
Change Your Air Filters
It’s easy to remember to change the air filter in the furnace during the winter, but it slips down the priority list as spring approaches and the weather warms up. Your furnace is still moving air through your home’s duct work, and pollen and pet dander can cause more allergy issues.
Update Your First Aid Kit
Over time, first aid kits get depleted as we raid them for bandages, use up all the antibiotic ointment and forget to put the tweezers back. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to take stock of your first aid kit and replace any items that are missing or expired. You don’t want to realize you’re out of something when you really need it, i.e., during an emergency.
Locate Your Personal Documents
Given that you probably don’t access your social security card, birth certificate or will on a regular basis, including this on your spring cleaning checklist might seem odd. But the very fact that you don’t use these documents every day makes them easy to misplace or forget where they are. Gather them up and put them someplace secure in your home, like a fireproof safe, or store them in a safety deposit box. As a back-up, upload copies to a secure cloud service.
Change Your Online Passwords
While the safety of your personal documents is top of mind, it’s also a good time to update your passwords. Changing your passwords regularly is an effective way to help prevent accounts from being hacked or your identity from being stolen. Tying your new passwords to something seasonal (like your spring cleaning checklist) is an extra reminder to update them. A related task to add to your checklist: Clean out your email inbox so there’s no accessible personal information that thieves can use against you.
Replace Frayed Extension Cords
Extension cords routinely get yanked around to wherever we need them, without much thought to the damage it can cause to the cord. Damaged cords are a big fire risk. The good news: Extension cords are cheap, and much easier to replace than a home or personal property. Pick up some extras on your next shopping trip and switch out your old cords to make your home a little safer after this year’s spring cleaning.
Clean Electrical Outlets
Outlets are usually in areas that don’t get much foot traffic, making it a prime spot for dust and pet hair to build up. An easy home maintenance tip for spring is to clean around outlets with a dry cloth to reduce the risk of a stray spark landing on something flammable.
Clean Your Stove
Grease and food particles can build up over time, making your stove top and oven a fire hazard. Give your stove a thorough cleaning, including inside the oven. If you do a lot of cooking, your stove will need extra attention.
Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Winter usually comes with a few new prescriptions for cold and flu season. Go through your medicine cabinet, check the expiration dates and get rid of old or unused medication. Many pharmacies will dispose of expired medications for you.
Check the Batteries on Alarms
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors keep our homes safe, but they’re easy to forget if they don’t go off. Checking your alarms and putting in fresh batteries is a smart routine to be in whether it’s part of your spring cleaning checklist or as prep before you go away on vacation. Change the batteries immediately if the alarm is chirping. Also take this time to wipe down the detectors to make sure dust build-up isn’t blocking vents.
Spring Clean Your Humidifiers
Humidifiers are a relief for dry skin and sinuses during the winter, but anything that holds water has a risk for producing mold. Even worse, mold could be dispersed into the air along with the humidity. As part of your spring house cleaning, rinse the water tank and fill it with white vinegar for half an hour to clean out anything growing inside.
Check Pilot Lights
Keep an eye on the pilot lights for your stove, furnace and water heater to make sure they’re lit. Also, smell for gas to make sure none is leaking out. If the pilot light goes out, turn off the gas and give the air time to clear before carefully following the instructions to relight it.
Make a Year-Round Cleaning List
While home maintenance is top of mind during spring cleaning, get out a pen and paper and create a cleaning list for every season. For example, summer is perfect for inspecting the sprinkler system, fall is when you can check (and clean) your chimney, and the start of winter is an ideal time to insulate your pipes.
Accidents can happen, no matter how safe your home is. Home insurance from Farm Bureau Financial Services will help make sure your home and family are protected. Connect with an agent today to help ensure you have the right coverages in place.