With warmer weather around the corner, the following are 10 helpful tips to keep in mind as you start your home’s Spring cleanup:
- Having Light Bulbs That Are Too Bright
You want a well-lit home, but exceeding a lamp or light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous, particularly with incandescent or halogen lights. Using a bulb with too-high wattage can cause the fixture and its wiring to overheat, which could allow the heat to travel to the wall or erode the insulation on the wires and lead to a house fire. Check the fixtures label to make sure you use the correct wattage.
- Over Scrubbing Water Basins
Don’t overdo it with abrasive cleaners; they can scratch the sink or other basin surfaces. Cleaners with a grit or grain to them will wear away at the finish and dull it. Eventually, the basin will become more prone to particles sticking to it, making it look dirtier. Try a liquid cleanser like vinegar or lemon juice on the sink, but not bleach, which can react with other substances and damage the finish.
- Using Glass Cleaner On Mirrors
Be mindful that cleaning liquid running around the mirror’s edge can cause the reflective backing to lift which can lead to black edge. The black edge can occur from using ammonia- or vinegar-based cleaners. It is recommended using warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth to clean mirrors. If using chemical cleaners for glass, spray onto a dry cloth first and not directly onto the glass. Avoid the mirror’s rim when wiping.
- Sealing Countertops
Too much on countertop sealant will can make them look streaky and dull. First, test to see if the stone is porous. If a small puddle of water leaves no stain after 30 minutes, the stone can be left bare. If the water leaves a dark mark, it should be treated. Apply sealer in a single, spare layer, or as the manufacturer’s label recommends. Let it penetrate for a few minutes, then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away the excess and gently buff. You’ll know it’s time to reseal when the countertop fails the water test.
- Storing Firewood In The Off Season or Inside
Fresh-cut wood should not be stored inside. It emits moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew, in bringing unwanted insects or other pests in a home. If you need to store any firewood in a home, consider purchasing seasoned wood that’s kiln-dried and labeled as “certified insect-free” at home centers. Any other wood should stay outside, with a cover over the top to prevent logs from absorbing water. Bring in a fire’s worth at a time and let damp pieces sit for up to two days before burning. Additionally, it is best to store firewood away from a home’s foundation in order not to attract insects & other pest into the home, especially wood destroying insects & pests.
- Repainting Exterior Trim
Too much paint on exterior wood trim is not good, especially on an older house. Many older homes may have layers of thicker oil-based paint, which can become brittle with age. To avoid thick, cracked, or peeling paint, be sure to carefully power-wash prior to painting, sand areas that need it, and then use 100 percent acrylic-resin exterior paint.
- Tightening A House Too Much
Using too much of a gap-filling foam can be harmful. Your house needs to breathe to stay fit and to provide a healthy environment for your family. Caulking cracks and other weak spots is smart, but be aware of the difference between gaps needing filled and a home’s vital ventilation openings. For example, don’t caulk the weep holes along the bottom of windows, brick ledges, or foundations. Those vents are there to let out water that can otherwise cause the areas behind to rot. Also, don’t caulk the seams under clapboards. If condensation collects behind the planks, it may cause a home’s siding and paint to fail.
- Pressure Washing
A power-washer can quickly blast the grunge off your concrete driveway or stone patio, but use the wrong tip or too much pressure and problems can surface. Softwoods such as pressure-treated pine or cedar are particularly prone to damage, even at a low setting. Choose a low setting and a wide fan tip to start. Set the washer at no higher than 3,000 pounds per square inch with a 40-degree tip, or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep the head moving, use long, smooth strokes when working over a surface, and stay away from electrical wires or power lines, windows, and vents. Stay safe by wearing eye protection and protective footwear. Keep children and pets clear of the work zone.
Fertilizing too often can spur more weeds to grow. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency warns over-fertilizing can cause “nutrient pollution,” which is when nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from lawn fertilizers and then leads to an overgrowth of algae in community ponds or even pollute local waterways. Typically, a pre-emergent (late February/early March) and a weed & feed (late April/early May) are all that is needed to tackle the majority of weed control. Hand held weed control containers can be used to spot spray troubled areas throughout the summer. If sowing a new yard, try 10/10/10 or 12/12/12 fertilizer. It is mild, yet offers a powerful punch to bring in new yards or provide an existing yard food for growth.
- Cutting The Lawn
Lopping grass too short will only undo its nutritional needs. Longer grass blades are needed for better photosynthesis, the process by which all plants feed themselves, takes place. Also, too-short grass can aid in attracting weeds by letting more light hit the soil’s surface. Cut with sharp mower blades, never taking off more than one-third of total height. For a healthier grass turf, with deeper roots and fewer low-growing weeds, set your mower at 2.5 to 3 inches. Late fall is typically the only time to set the mower deck down for a 2” cut as the winter approaches and the grass goes dormant for cold season.
The above are just a few tips that can help save money, and possible problems in time. As always, read product directions to get the best results per the manufacture’s recommendations, as each product is typically lab tested.