Traditionally, spring cleaning is an annual ritual for most families in Western Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the Western world. Back when homes were closed off all winter from the cold and heated with fires and oil burning stoves, lots of soot and grime built up over those chilly months. Spring cleaning came about as a means to clear out that mess from winter. Now that modern heating options don’t leave a film of grit all over our homes, that deep spring cleaning is not longer strictly necessary.
Yet, “spring cleaning” remains an almost-holiday level event, with advertisers pushing cleaning products and families planning when and how to execute this annual ritual. Why is this still the case?
An obvious answer is that we tend to be creatures of habit. Our grandparents did it, so our parents did it. Our parents spring cleaned, so we spring clean! For those of us who get to experience four, distinct seasons, another possible explanation is that the excitement of seasonal changes shifts us into some sort of action. In the fall, we have back-to-school and comfort season. The New Year brings on our ambitions and we set resolutions for fresh starts. Spring marks another fresh start – one where we can finally throw open the windows and enjoy more fresh air, not to mention longer days.
Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Even though spring cleaning isn’t essential the ways it used to be, it feels really great to have a clean sweep and start fresh. As Mother Nature is renewing herself, so too are we. Here are a few of the perks that go along with our spring cleaning endeavors.
As we shared in our last post, keeping a clean house improves indoor air quality and reduces the potential for allergy and asthma attacks, as well as the spreading of illness.
Lost Items Get Found
When you thoroughly clean your home – think: moving furniture to vacuum, cleaning upholstery, etc. – it’s almost inevitable that you’ll uncover several items you’d been missing. For example, we know a mom who was spring cleaning the couch and found an electronic tablet that got wedged inside after her kids were using it!
Science confirms that a dirty and cluttered environment has a negative impact on our productivity. Clutter is distracting, and the more clutter you have, the more difficult is for you to focus. Working memory is also directly related to the amount of clutter, so lots of clutter makes it difficult to remember important tasks. Plus, having a clean and orderly home means you waste less time looking for things because everything is in its place.
Feeling more productive alone can reduce your stress levels, but it turns out that the act of cleaning alone gives your brain the time-out it needs and can be very soothing. According to studies, as little as 20 minutes a day of housework can reduce anxiety and stress by up to 20%!
Improves Mental Health
Less stress means greater mental health, and there’s more. Even for those of us to truly dread cleaning tasks, we all tend to gain a sense of extreme satisfaction with the end result. So much of our modern work is never “done,” but completing cleaning tasks produces results you can see (and often smell!) immediately. Completing tasks boosts our endorphins and energy level, leaving us feeling great.
Promotes Better Sleep
Did you ever notice how satisfying it is to sleep on crisp, clean sheets? There are legitimate sleep benefits to keeping a clean bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds are 19% more likely to report sleeping well than those who don’t. Eliminating clutter and removing tech items from your nightstand are also correlated with better sleep.
Lightens Your Load
When we clean and declutter, we don’t just organize. We find items to purge. Everyone feels a little lighter when they get rid of items they no longer need and create a little space in their homes.
Earns You Some Cash or Goodwill
Purging items from our home means the stuff has to go somewhere. “Somewhere” can be a variety of places. For some items, you might have a friend or family member who would love a gently used “gift” of something you no longer need. For other items, they may be worthy of selling online. For everything else, dropping them off at a local donation station and knowing your items will help others can make you feel great.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist
Now that we know why we clean in the spring and the hidden benefits of spring cleaning, let’s talk about what should be included on your spring home maintenance list!
Here’s a quick list of common spring maintenance tasks to ensuring your home is safe and in full working order:
- Test the sprinklers and look for leaks.
- Check the roof for damaged or missing shingles and signs of rusting, cracking, or leaking.
- Do a home safety check to ensure smoke and CO2 detectors, exhaust fans, and extinguishers are in working order.
- Check your basement and attic for water damage, mold, and leaks.
- Inspect the concrete and fill any cracks.
- Inspect outside faucets for damage due to freezing
- Check your deck for loose stairs and railings, as well as discoloration and warping.
- Check other woodwork (e.g., fences) for signs of decay.
- Clean out the gutters.
- Inspect windows and doors for holes, cracks, and damaged seals.
- Clear debris from the landscape
- Open and clean the windows and sills
- Assess and plan any necessary upgrades to supplies and equipment.
- HVAC maintenace
You knew we were going to dig into this, didn’t you? Performing maintenance in the spring (as well as the fall!) means you know your system is working optimally and your indoor air is as clean as it can be. And those benefits translate to money savings and greater health and wellness for your family!
Here are our recommended HVAC tips for every homeowner.
Change Your Air Filter
As we’ve told you, you should be changing your air filters monthly. At a bare minimum, new filters should be installed four times a year, and the changing of the seasons is an easy way to remember this. Remember, clean filters provide higher efficiency and fewer indoor air pollutants.
Check Your Ductwork
Look for holes and leaky joints. If you find any, make sure you seal them. Inspect the entire system to also ensure it’s free of cracks.
Clear the Drainage Hole
Usually, A/C units drain through a hold at the base of its cabinet. If this drain isn’t kept clear, your system won’t work effectively and could break down. If you don’t know where to look or how to check this, ask our technician during your maintenance visit.
Get Rid of Anything Obstructing the Unit
You should routinely check on the outdoor A/C unit, as it has to weather everything Mother Nature throws at it. Clean the A/C of any vegetation, leaves, and other debris and make sure nothing but grass is growing closer than two feet away. Otherwise, your air conditioner may not be able to pull in the air it needs to cool your house.
Turn on Your Air Conditioner Before It Gets Hot
You don’t want to wait until the first 80- or 90-degree forecast, turn you’re A/C on in the morning before you leave, only to come home to a sweltering home because you weren’t aware that your air conditioner was in need of maintenance or repair! Switching it on ahead of time should allow you to detect any potential problems and will give you time to give us a call and schedule your visit before the summer heat is baking your family.
Schedule Your Routine Maintenance
Even once you’ve ticked off the items above and you’re religious about cleaning and changing your air filters, you still need to get expert eyes on your system. Professional service HVAC goes above and beyond what you can see and test on your own. Our maintenance visits include a detailed list of system checks, including readings of electrical amp draw, a refrigerant pressure check, and testing your systems connections. Plus, we can spot potential, future issues and help you come up with a plan to address them as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
We’d love to help you capitalize on the benefits of spring cleaning and maintenance! Contact us today to schedule routine maintenance or service.