A Sweet Valentine for the House you Love

Your house – the one you loved the minute you stepped inside. The one that has protected and warmed your family lo these many months and years. Yes, you still love it. But does it know you do?

It’s easy to take a house for granted. I mean, what have you done for it lately?

It’s time to give your house a valentine.

And I’m not talking about picking up a cheapo air filter on the way home from work. Or getting out a can of WD-40 for a front door hinge that squeaks. No, nothing so shallow. Today, on Valentine’s Day, it’s time for an outpouring of selfless devotion.

Start at the top, with the crowning glory of your abode.

The Roof: The leaves are done falling, so if you haven’t removed them from the gutters, now is the time! Full gutters clog and overflow, pouring rainwater into your crawlspace or backing up into the eaves or roof decking where it can cause rot underneath your shingles. Very expensive to repair.

The HVAC: Change out the furnace filter — not one of those cheap, flimsy ones — spring for the quality model! Vacuum the return air vent and, if it’s been two years or more, consider a service visit from your local HVAC professional, who will clean and service the furnace and A/C. It’s also a great time to clear weeds and brush from around outdoor compressors while the ground is soft.

The Refrigerator: The holidays are over, January has come and gone. Love your hard-working ‘fridge with a thorough cleaning. It’s amazing how much room you will have to store the healthy, leafy things you just resolved to eat more of once you clean out all the moldy things. Also, an over-full refrigerator can block vents, increase interior temps and force the condenser to work harder than it needs to. Here’s the fun job: Pull out the fridge and vacuum the coils. It’s not a housekeeping issue, it’s a performance issue – coils covered in dust work harder to keep the interior cold. And overworked, under appreciated appliances croak early.

The Oven: Holiday baking is done and the sticky results are everywhere. Oven glass is the hardest to clean because most self-cleaning ovens do a lousy job on glass. Try this for stubborn splatters: Combine water with baking soda to create a paste, add a dot or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid and spread thickly over the glass. Leave it on with the oven door open for at least 20 minutes – half hour is better. Spray the paste with vinegar/water solution (try 50-50) and let it bubble for another 10 minutes. Now, scrub in circular motion –apply some gusto. Wipe away the resulting sludge and do a final spray and wipe with vinegar and water solution. All done? Make sure you call someone over so he or she can express appropriate admiration at how sparkly the glass is.

The Baths: Remove and replace caulking around showers and tubs. Water always finds a way to get where it doesn’t belong. Caulk is your insurance. Plus, a fresh caulking job just looks stellar!

The Walls: All year long, we scuff them up, spiders set up shop in the corners, and dust settles on the baseboards. It’s time to love your walls. Start with a long-handled Swiffer-ish tool, or better yet, check out the extension dusters on Amazon for those vaulted ceilings. Follow with Magic Eraser to banish scuffs. Finish by running a fabric softener sheet along the baseboards – it’ll keep dust from sticking to them and make cleaning them easier next time.

Now that you’ve demonstrated undying love for your house, you can be sure your house will love you back with lower utility bills, cleaner air, bug-free corners and fewer visits from repair professionals. Pretty sweet, right?

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