While spring may be right around the corner (let’s hope!), you can give your home some love by performing some important home maintenance and cleaning tasks now in preparation for warmer months ahead.  Here are seven important tasks you should consider doing in February.

1. Spruce up the Indoors

Freshen up your indoor space by identifying rooms that need a fresh coat of paint (or a new color!) and don’t forget to touch up trim, too.  To cut down on clean-up time, be sure to use painters tape and a good chisel trim paint brush (also known as an angled sash brush) for cutting in around doors and windows.  The Family Handyman offers some great tips on cutting in paint, which can help you paint like a pro and save money!

2. Tidy up Entryway Areas and Floors

Entryway areas, especially those with wood floors, take a beating during the winter months due to the excess snow and road salt that inevitably gets tracked in.  After giving the floor a thorough mopping, consider keeping a basket with a couple hand towels or a waterproof mat nearby to easily clean up melted snow and/or protect the floor.  While you’re at it, check the space around your door – is it drafty?  If so, replace the weather-stripping; closing up gaps between the door and the sill will help keep the cold air out.

3. Inspect your Attic/Roof/Sump Pump

Be prepared for the melting snow and spring rain by making sure your home’s roof and sump pump system are in good shape.  Walk the perimeter of your home and look for any missing shingles, damage to ridge vents, soffits, downspouts, etc. You should also check your attic for possible leaks, which are easier to spot after it rains or during snow melt. If you notice any signs of roof leaks, condensation, mold or frost build-up, contact a reputable roofing company for an inspection.  Sump pumps are also an important item to check this month – be sure that the pump is working properly (pour water into the pit to check, if necessary) and double-check that there is no debris in the pit that could cause the pump to malfunction.

4. Clean Dryer Duct Exhaust

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported annually, causing $35 million in property loss.  Failure to clean the dryer (34%) is the leading cause of these fires.  The Administration recommends cleaning the lint filter before and after each load of laundry, and cleaning the vent pipe every three months.  Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can also build up.  While you’re cleaning the dryer vent, now might be a good time to spruce up and reorganize the laundry area as well.  A fresh coat of paint, new laundry baskets/sorting bins, and a shelf or two with room for supplies will revitalize your laundry space and make it more efficient.

5. Replace Furnace Air Filter

The air filter on your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system needs to be replaced every 1-3 months to keep the air in your home clean, reduce energy bills, and to help extend the life of your furnace.  A high quality air filter is the best choice to remove mold, pollen, and other microscopic particles from the air.  It is important, however, to use the correct type of filter for your system; look for an affixed label on your furnace or check with an HVAC installer to determine the correct type of filter.  Check out my earlier blog post, “How The Wrong Air Filter Affects your Home” for more information about using the correct filter.

6. Plan Now for Listing Your Home

If you are considering listing your home for sale this year, it’s a good time to start the planning process by interviewing potential real estate agents and making a list of home projects that need to be done prior to listing.  It’s also a good idea to have a pre-inspection done before listing to help determine any possible repairs that might need to be fixed that could otherwise negatively affect the asking price when you’re negotiating the sale.  A pre-inspection could also lessen the risk of surprises that could jeopardize or postpone a sale. Contact Top Flight Home Inspections today to get information on how we can help with your pre-inspection needs.

7. Add a Little Spring Cheer

Want to add a pop of color in your home during the long winter days this month?  Bring home a fresh-cut bouquet of flowers once a week to add a little cheer – they will serve as a reminder that spring isn’t too far away!  And with Valentine’s Day this month, florists and markets will have plenty of reasonably-priced bouquets and spring bulbs/plants to choose from. According to Jennifer Sparks, VP of marketing at the Society of American Florists, “Consumers are seeking out decorating trends and smart ideas to freshen up their interiors for the new year.”  This two-minute video shows “how flowers enhance public and private spaces, instilling happiness and decreasing anxiety.”