Spring is here and it is definitely showing. Just the other day my kids and I went for a bike ride down our street, but we only made it four houses down because every single neighbor was out and ready to catch up. This season is such a blessing and allows our bodies fresh air and more sunshine. But the same can be true for our houses. In many homes it’s a great time to hit the refresh button and set up some healthy habits for your home’s environment. It’s a great opportunity to give our house some TLC after it too has suffered the long winter of being closed up and shut in
Houses are SO big and have so many systems, that there are MANY ways to check on and maintain your home. I find spring is a great time for cleaning out and planning some outdoor projects for the warmer months. It’s also a time to check places that have been covered in snow. Whatever you choose to do, keeping the healthy indoor environment in mind will help you create a healthy space for your family.
Some of us are doing some SERIOUS spring cleaning after a long winter of being closed in our homes. This can mean cleaning windows, shampooing carpets and the like. But be careful with some of your deep cleaning as the products that are intended for intense use often times contain the most harmful chemicals.
Window cleaners can contain ammonia, which is harmful to not only the lungs, but can cause long term effects like asthma and allergies when there is constant exposure. Carpet cleaners can contain harmful chemicals that actually become embedded in the carpet fibers themselves, which then sticks around for MUCH longer than your initial cleaning.
Some healthier options would be to find a concentrated cleaner you love, like mine,Thieves or you can make your own with my recipe book. Either way, you’ll know that your home isn’t going to be negatively affected by chemicals in cleaning products.
Watch for Moisture Intrusion
I love spring, but spring is also a very wet time with snow melting, rain falling and ground that could still be partially frozen. Water often times will leak in during the wet spring months, which is why it’s VITAL to check for evidence around your foundation and your roof. Knowing the tell-tale signs to watch for can help you prevent a HUGE problem in the future.
Any water spots that show up in the ceiling are often times due to melting snow and ice on the roof. If you can check inside your attic, you can usually see exactly where the culprit is coming from. It could be an easy repair, or it could require a professional, but either way you’ll want to get it fixed and dried out as quickly as possible.
Moisture around the foundation is another common spot. Keep an eye on walls that are below the soil to ensure that no water is coming in around the concrete block. The sooner you catch a leak or water coming and the faster you dry the area out, the healthier your home will be. Spring is also a great time to get a dehumidifier going in the basement to keep the areas dry on the inside
You’ll also want to make sure that gutters are free and clear and make sure your downspouts are attached and pointing at least 5-6 feet AWAY from your foundation.
My Water Damage Guide will help you look at your entire house and spot areas that may need some attention this spring when it comes to water and your home.
That spring air is so refreshing and can really feel good after a winter of closed windows and doors. If you live in a climate where you can open your windows often, do it! The outdoor air is less harmful than your indoor air and it can really help filter out some of the harmful toxins lurking in your home. Products within our home and our home’s building materials themselves often times contain chemicals and toxins that continue to offgas for the lifetime of the home. While these things are completely out of our control, opening windows and bringing in fresh air when possible can help dilute these toxins.
If it’s not QUITE warm enough to open all your windows yet, you can still ventilate for just 5-10 minutes in each room throughout the day. Simply open the windows in a particular room and if you need, shut the door. A ceiling fan will also help move air throughout the room. After 10 minutes or so rotate to another room until you’ve gone through your entire home.
Clean Up Dust & Pollen
Speaking of dust and debris in filters, spring is also a time when dust, dander and pollen can infiltrate your home and become a real problem for allergy sufferers. The first line of defense is to keep your home well-dusted in the spring season. Wet dusting works best as dry dust rags and mops can simply push the allergens around and actually send them into the air.
I like to use a simple dusting spray and a microfiber cloth when it comes to dusting in the spring. This solution can actually prevent dust from building up and you’ll dust less often when you use it.
You’ll also want to vacuum your carpets and corners with a HEPA filter equipped vacuum. This will help get any dust and debris that becomes thick on the carpet fibers. Wet mopping floors on a regular basis will also help.
But let’s be honest, most of us welcome the spring time air inside our stale homes. Sometimes this means that even with all the cleaning, spring time allergies can still be a HUGE problem. Instead of closing up the house, I find it best to manage the allergies by the dusting and vacuuming routine above. On top of that, I also like to use a few key essential oils for relief of allergy symptoms.
Full House Check
Take an afternoon and really walk through your ENTIRE house. This is a great habit to get into as it will help you identify problem areas that got forgotten over the winter. Walk around the entire exterior and make notes of any problems you may see. Things to check would be grading around the home, gutters and flower beds that are coming in contact with the home’s foundation.
You can also walk through the interior of your home. Look in sump pump pits if you have them, check exposed pipes, and even open up attic and crawl spaces. Look for signs of moisture, pests and deterioration. Prevention and early detection is best when it comes to home problems.
You can use my Spring Checklist to walk around your whole home and make notes of things you’ll need to fix or maintain. I’ve also included a page in the checklist for planning out some summer and spring projects around your home.
I am a Certified Professional Home Inspector and Certified Building Biologist through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and International Institute for Building Biology. I have trained with Internachi as well as the Water Quality Standards Academy and the EPA.