Spring Cleaning – Part II

Like I mentioned last week, it’s time for spring cleaning. Last time I focused on seasonal or annual chores for the outside of your property. Now we’ll move inside, starting with the laundry room.

In the laundry room, be sure to check the water hoses to the washing machine. Those hoses are designed to last about five years. If you see cracks or evidence of leaking, replace the hose! Then, tape a note with the date it was replaced, because in five years, you won’t remember the date. I guarantee it will burst at an inopportune time, like when you’re on vacation or have houseguests. While insurance will probably cover the damage if the hose bursts coming home from vacation to a week’s worth of water in your house would be a real bummer.

You should also check your insulation. If it’s been in place for several years, it may need to be supplemented. Wearing a glove, touch the insulation. If it doesn’t have any give and it crumbles in your hand, consider replacing it. In the attic, make sure critters haven’t taken up residence and look for signs of water damage from a leaky roof or sometimes a water line.

Carpet cleaning is another good spring activity. It’s nice to get carpets cleaned when the weather is warm. Carpets dry faster when people aren’t tracking in mud from the outside. Tim Cabral of Cabral Carpet Care recommends cleaning carpets once a year, unless you have a lot of traffic (kids, dogs, etc.), then every six months is a good idea. Tim said you can just get the high traffic paths cleaned, if need be. He describes clean dirt and dirty dirt. Clean dirt is the dust you can clean with a vacuum cleaner. Dirty dirt is the debris from outside that a vacuum cleaner isn’t powerful enough to pull out of the bottom of the carpet fibers. Dirty dirt includes the stuff that gets into your carpet from doggy paws, shoes, and those moments when you’re watching TV and your team scores and the salsa goes flying onto the carpet.  Newer carpets (called sixth generation carpets) are chemically treated at the mill so that hot water will put the twist back in the carpet (like scissors to curling ribbon). So, while vacuuming is good, getting your carpet cleaned professionally will get rid of that dirty dirt and revitalizes the carpet.

Check your smoke alarm batteries unless you have one of the new 10-year models. The newest smoke alarms have tamper-proof cases and sealed lithium batteries. This makes them safer because no one is tempted to steal the smoke alarm batteries for other uses like the TV remote or game controller. It also means you won’t have that annoying chirping that announces your battery is getting low (always at 2:00 am). If you have as many smoke alarms in your house as I do, this is a big benefit, because the batteries are all on different replacement schedules so I wake up to chirping about every three months. The new alarms are typically smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and they are more discerning so steam from the bathroom doesn’t set them off. However, if you burn dinner, you can’t rip out the battery to get the alarm to stop, so either open the windows or take the whole alarm down and stick it in a drawer.

And while we are on the topic of smoke and fire alarms I mentioned last month about chimney cleaning, now is that time.

If there’s something you would like me to write about or if you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or visit our website at www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.

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