June marks the beginning of summer, making it a perfect time to take care of those nagging home cleaning and repair chores before the heat becomes too much.
This month’s home maintenance to-do list includes cleaning chores—from grills and ceiling fans to dryer vents and removing mold—along with simple air conditioner maintenance and getting your sprinkler system ready for the hot weather ahead.
To-Do #1: Replace Air Conditioner Filter
The filter on your central cooling system needs to be replaced every one to three months, depending on how dirty it is, so the unit will work efficiently.
Be sure to use a high-quality air filter designed to remove microscopic particles, like mold and pollen, from the air. A quality filter will also help reduce the amount of dust in your home and remove some of the pollutants from the air.
The filter for most central air conditioners can be found behind the air return grate that’s usually mounted on a wall or the floor. However, on some AC systems, the filter is in the return air duct near the air handler unit.
To replace an air filter on a central AC system:
- Turn the AC off at the thermostat, and wait until it stops running.
- Remove the cover on the air return.
- Take out the old air filter.
- Write the date on the new air filter.
- Insert the new air filter with the arrows on the side of the filter pointing in the direction of the air flow. For wall and floor mounted returns, the arrow should point in toward the return duct. For filters mounted near the air handler, position the filter so the arrows point toward the air handler.
- Close the cover on the air return, and turn the AC back on.
Check out our video on Changing Air Filters to find out more.
To-Do #2: Clean Clothes Dryer Vent Pipe
Over time lint can build up in the vent pipe of your clothes dryer, which can make the dryer work less efficiently and could cause a house fire.
To clean a dryer vent pipe:
- Remove the dryer vent cover on the outside of the house, and/or pull the dryer out and detach the flexible hose from the back.
- Use a special lint brush with a long handle or a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attachment to thoroughly clean the inside of the pipe and hose.
- Reattach the dryer vent cover and dryer hose.
Watch How to Clean a Dryer Vent to find out more.
To-Do #3: Clean Paddle Ceiling Fans
The blades and motor on paddle ceiling fans need to be cleaned regularly to remove any dirt and dust.
To clean a paddle ceiling fan, wipe the blades with a damp cloth, paying particular attention to the tops of the blades where dust accumulates.
Another option for fast and easy blade cleaning is to wrap a dryer sheet around a paint roller, holding it in place with rubber bands, then run the roller over the top of the blades to remove any dust.
It’s also a good idea to use a vacuum to remove any dust or dirt from the fan motor housing.
See our video on Cleaning Paddle Ceiling Fan Blades the Easy Way to find out more.
To-Do #4: Clean Grill Grates
It’s important to clean your grill before cooking on it for the first time each year, as well as regularly during the outdoor cooking season. Here are three different ways to clean the cooking grates on your grill.
Grill Grate Cleaning Options:
- Grill Cleaner: Remove the grill grates, spray with liquid grill cleaner, allow the grates to soak, then clean with a wire brush.
- Ammonia: Remove the grill grates, wrap them in newspaper, and put inside a plastic bag. Saturate the newspaper with household ammonia, tie the bag closed, and leave it overnight. Open the bag, remove the newspaper, and spray the grates with a water from a garden hose. Follow by washing the grates in warm water with dishwashing soap.
- Vinegar: Spray the grates with white vinegar, allow several minutes for the vinegar to break down the baked on grease, then rub the grates with crumpled up aluminum foil.
CAUTION: Wear rubber gloves when working with ammonia, and avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes.
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To-Do #5: Remove Mold and Mildew
The first step to preventing mold and mildew on the outside of your home, is to make sure you keep all shrubs and trees pruned back away from the house.
To remove mold and mildew:
- Mix up a solution of one part bleach to four to 10 parts water (depending on the strength desired) in a garden sprayer, and add a little dishwashing soap or TSP (trisodium phosphate) to the mixture.
- Spray the mixture on and allow it to remain on the surface for 10-20 minutes.
- When the time is up, use a long handled soft scrub brush (like those used to clean cars) dipped in a bucket of soapy water to scrub the surface.
- Rinse the surface with a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle.
- To keep mold and mildew from coming back, spray the surface with a product that protects against mold, such as Wet & Forget.
CAUTION: Bleach can damage grass, plants, and shrubs. Wear protective clothing, rubber gloves, and goggles with working with bleach.
Watch How to Remove Mold on the Outside of a House to find out more.
To-Do #6: Air Conditioner Maintenance
It’s important to keep any shrubs pruned back at least two to three feet around your central air conditioner to allow the unit to perform efficiently.
Wait until the unit isn’t running before pruning, and be careful not to damage the delicate aluminum fins on the outside of the unit. Pick up and dispose of any limbs or clipping when you’re finished.
Algae, mold, and mildew can build up inside your air conditioner condensation drain line, causing it to clog and water to back up inside the air handler unit.
To keep this from happening, pour a cup of bleach in the access opening in the drain line (located near the AC unit) every year to kill any algae, mold, or mildew in the pipe.
To-Do #7: Check and Adjust Lawn Sprinklers
It’s a good idea to do a little preventative maintenance and checking for leaks each year when using your lawn sprinkler system for the first time, here’s how.
Lawn irrigation yearly maintenance:
- Before turning on the water to your yard’s sprinkler or irrigation system for summer watering, make sure the ground has completely thawed to a depth of a foot or more.
- Check each sprinkler head and remove any grass that has grown over it, as well as obstructions or other debris that could prevent the sprinklers from working.
- Check the control settings and replace the back up battery if needed, then turn on the system and monitor it closely as it runs through the different zones to make sure the sprinkler heads are working properly and water is being distributed where needed.
- After the system has run through it’s cycle and is turned off, check the water meter to make sure there aren’t any underground leaks in the irrigation pipes.
Read our articles on Home Irrigation How-To to find out more.