Must-Tackle Spring Projects | HTH 012
back to another episode of the How To Home Podcast. My name is Aaron Massey.
Joining me as always is my co-host Tracy Pendergast.
on today’s episode we are sharing our spring projects checklist. We are here
today to share our top projects we think you should get outside and tackle this
spring, so that your house is fully functional. But before we dive in, we want
to take a moment and thank our founding sponsor of the show, which is
FilterBuy. FilterBuy is a HVAC filter provider, they ship everything direct to
your door, so you can just go to their website, Filterbuy.com, input your
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you need. And they ship everything direct to your door whenever you need them.
the perfect start to your spring cleaning routine, we’ll add that to the top of
the checklist for sure.
it takes like five minutes. I mean, it’s such an easy thing to do. It really
prolongs the life of the unit, and makes sure that when the summer comes
around, and you’re running that air conditioning all the time, you know that
the unit is running efficiently, and that it’s not having to work too hard.
Especially as you’re doing that spring cleaning and kicking up tons of dust,
opening the windows for the first time, you really want to make sure that the
air coming out of all of your vents are clean.
mean, it’s something you should do every three months at a minimum. Some people
wait six months, but you need to do it at least two, three times a year to make
sure that your systems are running efficiently. You’ll know, I mean, you’ll
know because if you’re outside, and you’re running your air conditioner, and
you see like frost building up on the conditioning lines, you know your filter
is plugged, because the thing is trying to work too hard. Just make it a point,
put it on your calendar, make a checklist, whatever you need to do, and just
swap them out. It takes five minutes. It’s super easy.
love subscription services for something like this, because it takes the
brainwork out of remembering one more maintenance to do.
for one, because you got to remember the sizes, right, there are so many
different sizes out there, so you have to either jot down or remember what size
filters you have. But in a subscription service like this, you put it in one
time, you never have to remember again. You know what size it is. It’s just going
to show up.
it. Also, we encourage you guys to check us out on social media. We love
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We want to know what topics you want to hear about. So please get involved
however you choose to. I mean, we’d love to have you. Today’s episode though,
we’re talking about spring.
time of year.
to tackle those outside projects, and we’re going to kind of outline a little
bit of a checklist I guess, things that we think people should do in order to
keep their home in the best functioning place before the heat of summer comes
because really every guest we’ve ever had on this show has stressed the
importance of maintenance.
The preventative measures, getting the house lined up so that you can just kind
of maintain over time instead of kind of tackling all these big issues as they
the first thing that I wanted to talk about, obviously, spring time, you want
to be outside, you want to be kind of enjoying that spring weather whenever
it’s not raining hopefully. And what I would encourage people to do is kind of
do an exterior of the house check. Get up on the roof and take a look at how
your roof and your gutters are performing in the spring. And what I’m looking
for specifically is like broken or damaged shingles or tiles, if you have kind
of a Spanish tile roof, whatever that is. Make sure you’re looking for those
types of things, those can be potential leak issues. If you have ice or
anything built up over the winter, sometimes it can destroy some of your
shingles or maybe you’ve used a snow rake to pull off some stuff, and damaged
some of the tiles or the shingles.
make sure you’re looking at the performance of the roof and to that point also
take a look at your gutters. They’re probably pretty backed up, so you want to
make sure that you’re cleaning out the gutters so that the water of the spring
rains is getting away from your foundation, and flowing. Clean the downspouts
out, clean the gutters out, and just make sure that that way the water that
comes in with the spring can run off.
While you’re walking the perimeter, I think also looking at the foundation of
your home, checking for any cracks or damage that happened over those winter
and ice, freezing and thawing can kind of swell areas of the concrete, or
whatever your foundation, could potentially cause some cracks, which could lead
to, if you have a basement, you could have a little bit of flooding in the
spring. So doing that perimeter check. Going along with that, in terms of the
exterior of the house, you also want to check the windows and your doors. It’s
an easy thing to do is to just make sure that before you’re turning on the AC
of the summer months, go around and look at the weatherstripping. Look at the
weatherstripping around your doors, check it for dry rot, cracks, damage, all
that type of stuff. Same with windows. Make sure that your windows are sealing,
and if there’s any areas that have kind of expanded or contracted during the
a really pretty simple thing. You can kind of just walk around the whole
exterior of the house. Get a good view of kind of everything, and just button
up any areas that might have shifted or changed because of the change in the
other thing, if you’re up on the roof. If you have any trees, or branches, or
anything that’s overhanging the roof, that’s dropping leaves and all that type
of stuff, trim those back, and get all that stuff off the roof so that way you
don’t have to deal with it clogging up your downspouts and your gutters.
no one wants to be up on the roof fixing problems in the heat or in the snow.
So use this little pocket of beautiful weather to get these things done.
comfortable weather, you know, hoodie weather, and get up there and do that
type of work so that you’re not up there in the heat of the summer.
Something we really like to do once the weather warms up is getting all the
patio furniture cleaned off, and getting the grill ready to go.
Thank goodness. I love using kind of natural cleaners on both, so for our patio
furniture, I like to do one half cup of the castile soap, one cup of vinegar,
and then water in like a large, think like a Home Depot size bucket, and really
just scrape off any of the mildew or rust that’s kind of come long over the
winter time and hose that off. It’s super friendly to pets, plants, everything.
On our grill, I love to put some salt on a lemon and I scrub it that way. The
salt kind of pulls off the residue, and then the acid in the lemon gets it
really clean. You can also use a piece of foil. And that works amazing.
seen people use oranges too.
(affirmative). It works great. We have a lemon tree, so hey.
yourself a lemon tree. Yeah. So I just love the all natural cleaners that you
can use outside.
instead of the caustic chemical type stuff.
that all runs straight down into your lawn, and onto your plants.
speaking of lawns, the spring time is also, obviously, the snow is melted, it’s
the perfect time to get out and kind of prep your lawn so that when the heat of
the summer comes along, it’s in a good spot. So that means fertilizing your
lawn, it means going around making sure you’re getting all the weeds out,
getting all the dandelions knocked down, all that type of stuff. You’re going
to want to use a strong kind of nitrogen rich fertilizer usually in the spring.
Depends on the fertilizer that you use, but I like to try and do it once a
month early on in the spring while the rains are there. Then once the summer
months come along, then you don’t need to fertilize as much. But I like to
fertilize pretty heavy like once a month in the spring months. It seems to work
pretty well on the limited grass that I do have here.
actually warm season and cool season grass. If you’re not sure what variety of
grass you have, or if it’s like our house where there’s tons of different seed
that’s coming over time. If you take a picture of that over to your local
nursery, they’re really knowledgeable and all, they’ll give you some tips on
what’s going to work best for your variety of grass.
other thing obviously is floral stuff, depending on the area of the country
that you’re living in, it’s a great time to prune those. Some plants respond
well to winter pruning or fall pruning, some respond better to early spring
pruning. So I know one of the things that I do early on, it would equate to
kind of early spring pruning. But I prune back all the roses. Our rose bushes
respond … I know-
just having this vision of you and like one of the big hats pruning your roses.
me, I’m out there doing the thing.
got my pink gloves, I’m pruning roses.
if I let my wife do it, everything will die. She has like a black thumb when it
comes to plants.
actually really enjoy it, to be honest. I actually really like gardening.
you good at baking?
because I feel like gardening, much like baking, it’s a certain level of
patience that not everybody has.
I’m terrible, I love grill seasons. So when we’re talking about grilling, I’m
all about that. But baking not so much, because I get distracted, and also
cooking in general. I usually get distracted. Because I go to tackle some other
kind of project around the house and I forget and I burn everything. But
grilling, I can be outside and just kind of stay in there, and do whatever, and
keep an eye on the grill. So I’m good at that.
can see that.
not baking or cooking.
don’t ask me to cook or bake anything in the show.
won’t do it.
you want to eat a hockey puck.
I’m good. I’m good. I think also, since we’re talking about grilling and
gardening, now is a great time to plant some veggies and herbs. Not all of
them, because it’s still a little early in the season. Vegetables that do
really well at the beginning of spring are asparagus, lettuce, peas, rhubarb
and spinach. So those are some, and peas are so easy to grow.
never grown peas.
never done it. I mean, we’ve had like, growing up we’ve always had, you know,
in the Northeast, like zucchini does really well, apples are a big thing up
there. That type of stuff. I’ve never really done any of the small vegetables
always do really well with peas and really well with mint. Mint is insane, it
will flourish. But now is a good type to kind of think about the things you
want to throw in the grill, and you want to cook with. If you love guacamole,
get that cilantro going. This is a good time to start planning out your garden,
your vegetables and fruits.
also not a good vegetable gardener. I like other types of gardening, but vegetable
gardening, I can’t, that maintenance thing, and keeping the bugs and the
rodents and all that stuff, the rabbits, especially at my house, like rabbits
are insane. So it’s a whole thing to build some kind of vegetable garden that’s
not getting picked apart. We have some pomegranate trees actually nearby our
is really cool, but I’ve never gotten one off of it, because the crows get to
them, and they eat them before they were even ripe, so you can’t even get them
off the tree before the crows have destroyed them.
was our old house with the apple tree. It became so annoying that we eventually
the apple tree down?
removed it. Because it was basically looking at a tree full of half-eaten
apples and it was actually kind of disturbing. It felt dirty and gross, so I
know with herbs and vegetables, the companion gardening really helps, you can
put netting or something over it. But yeah, with those trees, if you live in an
area where, I mean, you can’t, what are you going to do?
you just look at it, and you just go, “That’s a nice tree. I wish I could
eat something off of it.”
the other big thing is cleaning. Spring cleaning. So what are your favorite
tips as far as that goes? I know that’s one thing I wish I was better at. I
just, as soon as the weather is nice, I’m like, “I’m outside.” I’m
all exterior projects.
There’s two things that I’ve been doing. So the first thing is I don’t know,
the listeners will have to go put in their address to see if it’s in their
area. But there’s a site called pickupplease.org. You can schedule a pick up.
It goes to the veterans. What I’ve been doing is monthly, I schedule a pick up
for the last week of the month. I just know they’re coming. I get a text
saying, “We’re coming tomorrow, just a reminder.” Monthly, you can
purge items or maybe do it every three months. Make the appointment, set the
reminder on your phone, and make an effort to constantly be purging out
unwanted items, or items that aren’t serving you in your home.
cleaning, don’t throw everything in the trash, I’d say try to find an
that goes to all veterans?
I really like them. I love the fact that I can … a lot of these companies
they’ll leave you a flyer saying, “We’re coming on Wednesday,” or
whatever. I love that you can actually pick a day on the calendar and make a
reservation. Also, fun fact, if you’re having a yard sale, make an appointment
for the following morning. Then you leave everything on the lawn, label it VA,
and it will all disappear. So that’s kind of awesome.
is kind of cool.
I’ve done that every time.
than packing everything up in the cases-
it there. I mean, obviously, put it back in the boxes.
got a lawn full of stuff, you’re welcome to it, don’t come in my house.
your trash bag.
your stuff and just collect it.
yeah. So that’s something I try to do. Then something new this year, I’m really
trying, for this round of spring cleaning, when I buy all of my supplies, to go
in a natural direction with cleaning products. Not only is it safer for your
family, it’s also a lot more affordable. So, literally, with lemon, water,
vinegar, tea tree oil, baking soda. You can clean pretty much anything in your
home. And you can make these things and have them on hand. So I’d love to see
more people kind of looking in the direction of cleaning products they can make
wife has kind of gone in that direction as well. She’s actually signed us up
for something recently, I think we’re signed up for it, I don’t even know, but
it’s reusable containers for cleaning products and stuff. So we have a box that
comes, and it’s kind of these like bags of cleaners. All natural, dish soaps,
and stuff like that. Once they’re empty, you just send them back and then they
fill them up, and you send them back again. So you don’t have all the plastics.
You’re not recycling containers of dish soap and this stuff that you’re going
through on a daily basis. It’s kind of cool. So I’m big about that from an
environmental stability point of view. I think that’s a pretty cool
opportunity. That could be something that people might want to look into as
well. I don’t know the name of what it is that we use off the top of my head,
I’d have to ask her. But it is cool.
have a question for the listeners that I’m going to throw out there.
going to have a hard time answering it, but go for it.
it will have to trickle in through social media. If they can email us, or
right now if you have an answer.
exactly. I would love to use an all natural carpet cleaner, right, last year
when we had our carpets cleaned, we used a company that just uses water. Well,
the carpets looked great, they left, and I’d say like a week later, our house
just had like a wet smell.
like a wet dog smell.
it didn’t dry, it didn’t have that freshness. So I’m kind of trying to figure
out a formula of DIY carpet cleaner-
mean, I’ve done it. My dad owned a lot of rental properties growing up, so we
would go in, in-between tenants, and do a thorough carpet cleaning stuff. I’ve
used just kind of a basic steam cleaning carpet thing. I had one up until it
just crapped out like a couple weeks ago, I had to throw it away. But just
vinegar. Just cleaning vinegar and water. It does a great job. It steams and
takes all that gunk out of there. It’s amazing how much-
it’s so addicting to use one of those things, because you see the dirt
extracting and coming up through kind of the front of the steam cleaner. It’s
like urgh, and then crawling around-
pour it in the bathtub and it’s just like so black-
and black and grossness.
Water, vinegar, maybe add some drops of essential oil just for some fragrance.
I’m going to try it, I’ll report back.
the key there, obviously, is to, yeah, you’re basically getting your carpet
wet. You’re extracting all this stuff, but you’re getting your carpet wet. So,
they have those floor fans that you can rent, or open the windows.
it during, yes.
during … the time of year matters when you do it, because you don’t want your
house closed up for a long time afterwards, because it’s going to take a while
to dry out. So yeah, get that cross-ventilation going, put a fan in the window,
do whatever. But spring it’s perfect time to get your cleaning, carpets
your clean on.
call somebody and have them come in and do it.
I would say cleaning vinegar and water. That’s pretty much all we ever used. I
mean you can buy the carpet cleaner from store, it’s really just the same
thing. It’s not any different.
all we kind of always used.
the cleaning vinegar and water works really well for pet smells as well. So I
try to do it every couple months. It’s largely why … I’m not a big fan of
carpet anyway, it just attracts so much dirt and stuff. So I tend to go towards
more of the hardwood floors, or tiles, stuff like that, that’s easier to clean
and maintain, and doesn’t absorb all that.
We only have it in the bedrooms at this point, after this remodel. And the
kids’ playroom. The kids’ playroom is just-
you’re just going to have to replace that. You can the LifeProof carpets.
special. Yeah, we definitely need to.
newer LifeProof carpets where it’ll, I’m sure it still soaks up all the same
amount of stuff, but it just doesn’t show it as much. We talked in a previous
episode to Pat Copps about the pest control thing and the attic insulation.
That’s one of the projects I really want to tackle this spring, is get my attic
insulation done. Because if I wait ’til the summer months, it’s unbearable. In
the heat of the summer months, it’s going to help insulate better so that we
can get the HVAC bills down, but it’s also going to make it bearable for
whoever is up there doing it. Because I don’t think I’m going to do that one.
That’s a project I think I’m going to hire out, because it’s just, one is
gross. There’s just blown insulation up there from whoever, I don’t even know
had some rat issues in the past. And based on our conversation with Orkin, once
can fit through a penny sized hole.
can fit in a penny sized hole, and once you have one up there, they can be
attracted to that area, because they’ve already made kind of a nest up there.
So I want to just clean slate. Take it all out, and re-insulate.
did it a couple years ago, we had a company called The Attic Guys, it was
amazing. They come in with a huge, a vacuum the size of-
yeah. Exactly. They go up there, they suck everything out, and then they
re-blow the insulation. They make sure it’s all sealed up tight, and then they
also take a look at the ventilation and make sure it’s functioning properly. I
would highly recommend it. I mean, these are guys that do this all the time,
and they come out, and they look like they’re going to die.
man, it’s not an easy job at all.
spent a lot of time up in my attic tackling projects, and if it’s any kind of
temperature outside, if it’s warm, it’s brutal up there. So I’ve spent a lot of
time up there. And it’s hard to move around. My attic is not an easy place to
work. It’s definitely on my list of projects to get tackled this spring. I
really want to get it done. That’s a great project. Depending on what area of
the country that you’re also in, it’s a great project to consider adding to the
to-do list for the spring, because for you and for the people that are doing
the job. Thinking about them and not putting people up in 140 degree attic in
the heat of summer.
sure they’re thrilled when they get a call in July.
I’m sure they love getting calls in July to re-insulate attics.
you have time in your schedule? Yep, wide open.
do you got a swimming pool? Because we’re going to go back and forth between
your swimming pool and … that’s actually kind of a topic as well, is kind of
cleaning off your … I mean, it’s a little early to open your pool, you know,
in much of the country, but kind of getting it ready to be opened, just
cleaning it up, cleaning the weeds around it, cleaning off the cover, because
you probably have a lot of fall foliage and stuff that is falling onto the
up a lot of that stuff. Then just one of the things that I had to do growing
up, the plow. Snow plows tend to scrape your driveways, or whatever, any damage
to the concrete or stone, or any of that type of stuff. We used to have to, I
grew up at a very long driveway. It was all gravel. My mom only recently got it
paved, which is like a big deal. Paved driveway. I used to have to, one of my
spring projects always was go out and fix the potholes in the stone driveway,
because the winter months, the traffic, the ice, all the stuff, it would heave
up the driveway a little bit, so we’d had the driveway rolled. We’d fix the
stone. This was a fun job for a kid. Not a fun job as an adult to do so much.
But it’s a fun job for a kid to do.
you find any cracks that might have been caused from swelling or water, ice
getting underneath your concrete, the ice expands, and causes a crack. Make
sure you’re sealing that up, because it’s only going to get worse.
think it’s just kind of taking the month or the season-
to walk the perimeter inside and outside, get appliances cleaned out. Just kind
of work through that list of things.
a home is a year-round maintenance task. It doesn’t just stop. But when the
weather is decent, it’s a lot easier to get stuff done than when you’re
battling the heat of the summer, or the cold maybe of the fall.
I actually love doing these things with my kids. It’s fun.
a family project too.
get outside with your family and it doesn’t have to be like a daunting crazy
task, go outside, grab brooms, grab brakes, and kind of just make it a fun
time, get involved.
games out of it.
who can pick up the most twigs?
your kids busy.
that game works, except for they really love throwing them in celebration at
the end. We always are like, “Wow, good job.” Then it’s like,
“Yay.” Oh, here we go again.
hope that this list was helpful for people. There’s a lot of projects obviously
that you can tackle, but these would be kind of our checklist of things to get
done around the house. Yeah, it’s a lot, there’s a lot of stuff to do. But like
I said, it’s a year-round task owning a home, you can expect everybody to do
the work for you, unlike maybe if you’re a renter. But we made this choice. We
made this choice to own a home.
the maintenance. The maintenance is easy. Do the maintenance so you don’t have
to make the big repairs or replace things.
other thing, sorry, one more that I just thought about, you should drain your
water heater occasionally. It’s just a maintenance thing that you should do
yearly. So it’s a good thing, the spring is a great time to do it. Just drain
it out. It’s really easy, they have … all water heaters have a little drain
on them. Most homes are already plumbed to allow for it. So just drain the
water heater out, and let it fill back up. [crosstalk 00:23:56].
you’re at it, defrost the freezer too. Let’s just do this all.
is the time to do it. Invest in all the things home in the spring time and you
won’t have to deal with it throughout the rest of the year. We hope this list
was helpful for you guys. Again, we encourage you to hit us up on social media,
share your favorite spring cleaning, or spring maintenance tips with us. We
would love to hear them. What types of things are we missing out on.
absolutely. We’ll do a post this week on, we’ll get everyone involved, what
kind of things you like to do around your house, and how you get creative with
know, it’s different all around the country, so there’s different things. But
the majority of it is just get outside and enjoy it. Get outside and take
advantage of the weather before it gets too hot, and get the tasks around the
house done. Thank you guys so much for watching or listening, however you’re
choosing to consume the podcast. We want to thank our founding sponsor,
FilterBuy, for making this show and this episode possible. We couldn’t do this
show without them. And we want to encourage you, like we said, to get involved
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if you want to follow along with our checklist, or see any of the products we
mention, you can always take a look at our show notes. We always include all of
thank you guys so much for watching or listening, and we will see you next
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show is Executive Produced by George Ruiz, and Aaron Massey.
This week, Aaron and Tracy discuss their go-to list of spring projects. Maintaining your home is key to avoiding costly repairs down the line- and spring is the perfect time to get out and make sure any damage caused over the winter is taken care of.
You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!
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- Replace air filters.
- Subscription services like Filterbuy.com are a great way to stay on top of the maintenance.
- Do a check of the roof, exterior walls and foundation for any weather related damage that occured in the winter months.
- Any missing or damaged shingles should be replaced- you should also keep an eye out for leaves or debris that have gotten in under them. This is also the time to take care of any leaks you may have given a quick fix during the rainy season.
- On the exterior you want to focus on areas around gutter spouts, or places that take the brunt of weather wear and tear.
- For the foundation you’re keeping an eye out for large cracks. If you see anything substantial, consider having foundation specialist come out to make sure it doesn’t need something more than caulk.
- Spring is also a great time to insure your windows and doors are sealed.
- Also keep an eye out for trees that need to be trimmed near roof/windows.
- The driveway is also something good to take a look at and repair/seal.
- Make a day out of cleaning all of your patio furniture and the grill.
- Tracy likes to clean the furniture with ½ cup castile soap, 1 cup vinegar and water. It works really great on pretty much everything and knocks out any mildew.
- For the grill she uses vinegar, lemon, salt and foil.
- Be proactive with lawn maintenance and pruning.
- Focus on raking and clean-up, weed control, fertilization and seeding. It’s important to know whether you have warm or cool season grass, because that will affect your fertilization schedule- but either way- spring is about strengthening your lawn for those hot summer months.
- Prune your flowers, bushes and trees.
- Get your vegetables started!
- There’s nothing better than throwing fresh veggies on the grill, and using fresh herbs in your cooking. It seems like an overwhelming amount of work, but gardening is so rewarding.
- Keep in mind that early spring can still be too cold for a lot of vegetables. Some that do really great planted early are: asparagus, lettuce, peas, rhubarb and spinach.
- Deep clean your home.
- Pickupplease.org allows you to schedule donation pick-ups if you want to purge. It’s also great to schedule the day after a garage sale.
- Challenge yourself to swap out for more natural products this year. Not only is it safer for your family, but it also saves a substantial amount of money to make your own cleaning products. You can pretty much do anything with vinegar, water, lemon and tea tree oil.
- Aaron’s wife subscribed to a service called: Refill Shoppe
- Aaron suggested vinegar and water as carpet cleaner.
- Have your attic cleaned and insulated (or do it yourself!).
- Spring is such a great time to take that leap if you’ve been considering it- then you avoid mold growth in the hot months, and you can also clear out any critters that have snuck in to stay warm. They’ll come in and get it super clean, insulated and also make sure it’s properly ventilated which will prevent so many issues down the line.
- Start preparing your pool area.
- The perimeter and surrounding plants.
- Drain your water heater.
- Defrost the freezer.
Make your spring to-do list a family affair- it can be fun!!
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