Hug Your Home Challenge – April Tips
Are you ready for Spring yet? Up here in Minnesota we’ve been ready for weeks but Mother Nature isn’t giving us a break! Hopefully we’ll get some warmer weather soon so we can check off the items on April’s Hug Your Home Challenge. If you’re new to the challenge, you can sign up here. We’ll send you a checklist you can use to keep up with your home maintenance all year long. Plus, each month we’ll send you info on that month’s checklist so you’re hugging your home all year long. As for April’s tips, here are a few that will help you get those tasks done in no time at all.
“Unclutter Your Gutters”
Before the spring rains start, take the time to make sure your gutters are clear. You’ve probably got everything you need on hand: a ladder, a plastic scoop, a hose and a tarp (optional).
- Spread the tarp out on the area below where you’re cleaning to catch the debris.
- Set up your ladder to start at the far end of a section. Use the scoop to clean out any leaves, pine needles or twigs from the gutter. With the tarp protecting your landscaping, feel free to toss it down below.
- Once you’ve got a section done, use a hose to flush out any remaining debris.
- You’ll also want to check your downspouts to make sure they’re still directing water away from your foundation.
“Care About Your Air”
It might seem like it will be forever before you need to turn on the air conditioning, but before you know it, you’ll be flipping that switch. The last thing you want is to find out your unit had gone kaput. Make sure your air conditioner is ready to go by performing some easy maintenance.
- Check your filter. If it’s clogged or dirty, replace it.
- Inspect your outdoor unit and remove any leaves or other obstructions. You can do this by turning off the power and rinsing the unit with a hose or using a ShopVac to suck out the debris.
- Make sure all of the air vents inside are open and free of obstructions. Some people believe if they close the vents to a room it will save the air conditioner from having to keep the whole house cool. On the contrary, closing vents forces your unit to work harder so make sure they’re not covered by furniture, drapes or anything else.
“Check Below Deck”
The change of seasons can wreak havoc on a Minnesota basement. Once the snow and ice starts to melt, it will flow wherever it can find a way. Unfortunately, often that means it finds a way into your basement. You can check for moisture a few different ways:
- Sometimes it’s as easy as using your nose. If your basement has taken on a musty, moldy smell over the winter, odds are you’ve got some kind of moisture.
- Cut a square of plastic wrap (about 12″x12″) and tape it to your concrete floor. Make sure you cover all of the edges so it’s airtight. If you come back in a day or two and notice condensation or moisture under the plastic, you’ve got an issue with a damp basement.
- Try using a moisture meter. Make sure you measure in several areas of the basement and at many different heights.
- Your fix for moisture in the basement will vary depending on the source. To help keep water from entering, make sure your foundation plantings drain away from the house, not toward it and that your gutters and downspouts are directing water away from the house.
Hopefully our tips will help you get ready for Spring… when and if it ever arrives!