It is a good time to break out the caulking a few tools and get a start on a few home and yard care tasks.

Walk around your home and check to see if any dirt, debris, plants are up against the siding. Clear away and look at the foundation. Soil should be compact and level. Fill low spots with soil or gravel to avoid water pooling.

Be sure to have someone help you by holding the ladder while you check your gutters. Clean out debris with a large plastic cup or spoon. Be careful not to pull on gutters. Fix loose or leaky spots and make sure the downspouts drain away from the foundation. While you are up there examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired too.  Of course it is recommended to have a roofing contractor do this work.

Do a visual check and gently probe the wood trim around windows and doors with a scredriver, also check railings and decks. You will most likely need caulk, so be sure it is clean soft and paintable, also paint any exposed wood.  It's a good idea to make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.

Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.  Think lunch bell for termites and buggies!

  • Clean out the refrigerator. I found the best cleaning solution is club soda, vinegar and salt.  The soda and vinegar gives you a little bubble while the salt is a good safe abrasive.  Safe for food areas.

  • I use the soda water and vinegar on paper towels and lay on lime stains too.  Easy, fast removal of hard to clean lime stains.

    Clean and dust off the tops of ceiling fan blades. I use a paper towel slightly damp to catch the dust so I'm not cleaning twice.

    Remove screens and clean outside windows.  I use two old hand towels - one soaked in windex and the other dry to make fast work of it.  Use and old scrap of carpet or soft brush to clean screens.  If you get most of the dust off while screens are dry it will make it a quicker and easier clean up with soap and warm water.

    Finally, replace the air filters in the house and clean out the fans in the bathroom and kitchen.