Spring cleaning is upon us!
People will dust, vacuum, and wash everything in sight. But what about cleaning what you don’t see every day? How often are HVAC filters getting changed? What about the dryer ducts?
Let’s go through some rooms.
What to do: Clean or replace the range hood filter. Range hoods lose their effectiveness over time as they become blocked with grease. There are three kinds of grease filters that can be in a range hood, but only one type can be cleaned:
- Metallic filters – These filters can be cleaned.
- Fabric and Charcoal filters – These filters must be replaced instead of cleaned.
To clean a range hood filter:
- Fill a sink or bucket with very hot water.
- Pour a good amount of de-greasing dish soap and 1/4 cup baking soda into the hot water and mix.
- Completely immerse the filters in the water.
- Soak the filters for at least 10 minutes.
- Scrub the filters with a non-abrasive scrub brush.
- Rinse and dry: Rinse the filters thoroughly in clean hot water and let them air dry.
What to do: Clean exhaust fans once a month. Mold growth can be caused by the moisture caused by hot showers. Wash the cover in soapy water and clean the fan blades. This increases air flow and will reduce the risk of mold.
What to do: Change your air filters regularly. You can also install a high efficiency filter or a HEPA filter. A high efficiency filter with a MERV value of 9-12 does a much better job at trapping fine particles too small for lower MERV rating filters. HEPA filters are at the top of the MERV ratings. Not all HVAC systems can work with these filters so it is best to check the manufacturers’ instructions of the HVAC system. These filters are able to remove 99.97% of particles that have a size greater-than-or-equal-to 0.3 microns. The diameter of a human hair is 17 to 181 microns.
What to do: Caulk around windows and doors. Caulking any cracks will help keep out heat and humidity, allowing the HVAC to work more efficiently.
What to do: Remove unwanted moisture. There are several ways to prevent excess moisture in a basement.
If the home or building is in good condition, an efficient HVAC unit can maintain adequate air exchange to prevent excess moisture. If there is only a small amount of moisture, pairing the HVAC system with a dehumidifier may be sufficient.
If water leaks are prevalent, a permanent solution is a basement dewatering system. It controls any water coming into the basement from the ground. When groundwater rises, it hydrostatic pressure forces the water through the cold joint where the floor and wall meet. Water then accumulates in the hollow core of block wall and leaks out into the basement causing all sorts of moisture issues. A basement dewatering system collects and redirects the water leaving the basement dry.
What to do: Clean out dryer vent and ducts. The lint trap filter catches a lot, but it doesn’t catch everything. The dryer ducts should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent fires.
What to do: Clean the gutters and the outside HVAC unit – gently hose off dirt, grass clippings, and any other debris that may have collected on the HVAC unit. Clean and repair gutters and downspouts and confirm they are directing the release of water 5-10 feet away from your home or building.