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.
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.
2. Clean 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.
3. 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. Remove the grill grates, spray with liquid grill cleaner, allow the grates to soak, then clean with a wire brush. Alternatively, 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.
4. 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. 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. Scrub with a soft scrub brush and soapy water and rinse the surface with a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle.
To keep mold and mildew from returning, spray the surface with a preventative product.
5. 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.
5. 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
- 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.