Take a day to complete the spring checklist
By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Home & Garden - posted Wed., Apr. 11, 2012
As we get used to enjoying the warmer weather, everyone is thinking of all the great fun they can have in the bright sun and longer days.
Well, before you dream your life away, come back to reality and take a single Saturday to complete a spring checklist of things that really should take some precedence around the house. You don’t necessarily have to get all the work done in one day – just getting ready to hit many of the items here will be accomplishment enough.
Did you just cover the gas grill up last fall, and promise yourself you would tend to it when the grilling season started up again? Get over the regret, and, at the very least, assess what components need to be replaced. A tank that needs to be re-certified or replaced is a showstopper. So get it done. If the burner is spewing yellow flame, it’s probably burnt out. Time to replace the igniter? At least get that part and any others that you know won’t stand another season.
It’s not just about getting the lawn cut before you head off to the golf course or tennis court. If you brought your lawnmower to the shop last fall or dropped the blade off to get sharpened, run down there and retrieve the machine, and/or get the blade reinstalled. If you do your own small engine maintenance, re-fill – or change – the oil, and check it over thoroughly. Look for lubrication points, check the air filter and turn the motor over.
Your clothes dryer vent probably blew a nice hole in the snow banks last winter. There is some chance some of that lint may not have made it completely outside. Clean the outside vent. Then remove the vent hose, and blow or vacuum it out completely. While the hose is off the dryer, take time to look inside the dryer, and remove the lint that hung up in there. Clogged dryer venting can cause fires.
While you are in the laundry area, move over to the washing machine, and exercise the valves for the hot and cold water hoses. Put a little lubricant on the valve stems, and open and close them several times.
That balmy spring weather will turn into blazing heat before you know it. Is your air conditioning system or window unit ready? Locate the A/C units, and drag them out of their storage area if necessary. Identify any parts they need – filters, side panels, insulation, etc. Make a list and go to the home store to get those components so you are ready to go.
You will use your ladder a lot in the warm weather. Stepladders should not wobble. Check out the steps to be sure that they will hold your weight. Brace any joists that allow movement in the wrong direction, and lubricate any hinges. Extension ladders can be lubricated, too. And the hoisting rope may need replacement.
Before you shut off the furnace for the season, clean the filter if it has one, and maybe have the unit evaluated by your service technician. If it’s time to upgrade, start the planning and the shopping now.
The winter can be rough on lawns, sidewalks and driveways. Assess your driveway’s health. Are there larger cracks where once there were small ones? Is the surface beginning to show some pitting? Are there stains from oil leaks or other fluids? You will want to clean out and fill serious cracks, and clean the surface well. This may also be the year to apply a driveway sealer.
Ice on roofs and gutters might have caused some damage. Set the ladder up against the side of the house – not against the gutters – and inspect the gutters and drainpipes for separated joints, loose straps and hangers, and faulty drainage pitch. Also look for possible damage to shingles and flashing on the roof.
There’s nothing special about testing ground fault circuit interruption (GFCI) in springtime. You should do it annually. Make it a spring thing, and keep it on your “to do” list for this season.
Even creating this list and getting some of the materials you will need will put you ahead of the game, and start you on the road to the golf course.