February winds are blowing, the snow is falling, and sometimes it’s even raining, so how do you keep your home clean, safe, and secure from leaks and drafts? Here are a few tips from The Weather Channel and MSN Real Estate to help you out.
Most of these are no fun, but regular maintenance and cleaning are a burden of owning a home, and you’ll be happier for the damage and issues these simple steps can prevent as well.
Clean drain traps. Remove drain traps under sinks and clean them thoroughly. Clean pop-up drain plugs. Inspect the linkage for pop-up drains to make sure they are set properly. To adjust the linkage, squeeze the finger-operated pressure lock to release it and slide it up or down as necessary.
Clean the closet. Musty closet odors can be reduced or eliminated by removing the closet’s contents and washing walls with a diluted solution of chlorine bleach. In addition, try replacing solid doors with louvered doors. Note: If the mustiness is the result of moisture, find the source and correct it. Otherwise the problem will come back.
Change the shower curtain. Next time you’re in the bathroom, see if the shower curtain needs replacing. Damp shower curtains can grow unhealthy mold and mildew and contribute to mold problems in the tub and shower, so swap yours out periodically and make sure to open and air out the shower enclosure when you’re done bathing.
Batten down the hatches. Find and seal energy leaks. Grab a pad and pencil to note any spots that you can’t address right away. Arm yourself with a tube of caulk to fill small cracks and a spray can of insulating foam sealer for larger gaps. Tour your home feeling for cold air entering through cracks in chimneys and window and door frames, and cracks around appliance vents, electrical and plumbing fixtures and furnace ducts. Remedies might include adding weatherstripping to a door frame or applying fresh caulk to window frames.
Run the numbers. Get an idea of how much energy a home the size of yours typically uses by entering detailed information about your dwelling into the Home Energy Saver tool. The tool lets you calculate your home’s energy use. It also lets you estimate the energy savings from a variety of improvements, such as adding insulation, replacing windows and purchasing high-efficiency appliances. Experts from the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and other state and federal agencies collaborate in sponsoring the site.
Clean out storage areas. Get a head start on spring cleaning by attacking a cluttered storage space. Whether you go after the garage, attic, laundry room or garden shed, your home benefits when you get rid of rusting tools, leaking fluids and household chemicals. Start by taking everything out of the space and piling it up outside. Clean the empty space, then go through the items, trying to let go of everything you haven’t used in the last year. Make four piles: stuff to keep, trash, donations and recycling, and hazardous waste. Open paint cans to dry the paint completely before disposing. Recycle batteries so the lead they contain doesn’t contaminate ground water. Rules for disposal vary by locale. Call your waste-disposal company or the county landfill to learn where and how to dispose of hazardous waste.
Get a fire extinguisher. Better yet, get several. Buy fire extinguishers for each type of fire you might encounter at home and place them where you’ll need them. For example, use the A-B-C class for living areas and in workshops and garages. For the kitchen, get a specialized extinguisher capable of putting out class B (grease) and C (electrical) fires. For living and sleeping areas and fireplaces, get a multipurpose A-B-C that also works on fires consuming wood, cloth, trash and paper. Inspect extinguishers regularly to ensure the gauges read 100%.
Check for storm damage. Next time you’re outside, walk around the house looking for missing or damaged siding and shingles. Remove fallen branches and storm debris from around the house.
And lastly, this one is directly from Heritage Home Deisgn:
Replace old, drafty windows and doors. Take a look around your house and determine if your windows are leaking or drafty, and do the same for external doors and even your garage door. Cracks and leaks can add up to big expenses down the road, not to mention messes you need to clean up whenever it storms. Contact us for a free evaluation, and we’ll happily make a plan with you to replace aging doors and windows that are no longer helping your home.