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Thaumas P. Ehr, Landscape Architect

A Thorough Spring Cleaning will help you sail through Summer

The freshness of springtime isn’t just for the outdoors. Make it a season to refresh your home’s interior, too.

Start with spring cleaning. This year, do more than knock the dust around. Really look for areas that need cleaning. Clean areas you might never clean, like the floor under your refrigerator, the inside of your dishwasher and washing machine (use soap, water and white vinegar), the septic tank (treat it with RID-X) and the inside of your toilet tank.

Change every filter in your home’s equipment. The obvious place to start: the air conditioner. Install a fresh, pleated filter now, and then replace it every month until you stop running the air conditioner every day. A clean filter can catch up to 60 percent of the polluted particles in your indoor air. Next, change the filters in your home’s water treatment system. Unwrap the filters like you peel a banana, taking care not to touch the filters with your fingers, which can contaminate the filters and send bacteria into your water.

Speaking of water, it’s time to test for bacteria in your well. You can buy a test kit for about $20, and then send your water sample it to a state-certified lab for a full analysis for $120 to $300, depending on how thorough the results are.

Clean carpets and rugs. Few people do this during the winter because they don’t want to move their furniture outdoors when they empty the room for cleaning. Those months between cleanings leave a lot of dirt and allergens in the carpet.

Or, rip your carpet up.Most homeowners are replacing their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood, ceramic tile or laminate floors because they last longer and are easier to clean than carpeting. In fact, he says, the only place where carpeting is still popular is the bedroom. And carpet in the bathrooms is so hard to keep clean that he recommends getting rid of it if you have it there.

Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Then, change the batteries in your programmable thermostat. Your house will get hot in a hurry if the batteries die while you’re away at work for the day. Prevent that by freshening the batteries before they wear out.

Clean your windows inside and out. If you’ve got streaks in between the glass panes, that means the windows are not sealed tight enough to do a good job of keeping the hot air outside and your air conditioned air in. It also means the argon gas that makes double-pane windows extra energy efficient has leaked out. In that case, it’s time to replace your windows.

Paint at least one room with a new color.Choose your colors wisely to build a new mood and complement the outdoor view. A simple coat of fresh paint can make a room look like it’s had a complete makeover.

A few springtime touch-ups can freshen up a home and improve your mood as well!

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