Spring weather is beginning to bloom, bringing warmer weather, longer days and the perfect time to add a few projects to your home improvement to-do list. Here are a few weekend-worthy improvements to spruce up your space for the season.
1. New Life for Your Kitchen Cabinets
This weekend, freshen up the look of your kitchen cabinets with a couple of simple improvements.
First, think about replacing the hardware. Adding stylish knobs and pulls to the cabinet doors and cabinet drawers can deliver an easy new look for your space.
If you have boring flat-panel cabinet doors, you can create the look of far more expensive raised-panel doors by simply adding molding. To get this project done, take off one cabinet door and head over to the molding section of your local home center. Once there, experiment with different molding profiles and patterns by holding them against the cabinet door until you find the right look for your kitchen. Cutting and attaching the molding to the cabinets is a simple home improvement project. Be sure to attach the molding from the backside of the cabinet door using a pneumatic brad nailer or traditional brad nails, driving them at a slight angle to increase the hold.
Looking for more kitchen cabinet upgrade ideas? Read Tom's article, Kitchen Cabinets: Repair, Reface or Replace.
2. Spring into a Blooming Garden
Even though it might still feel like winter in your part of the country, it's officially spring and high time to get that yard and garden ready. If you placed mulch on your flower beds to help protect the garden beds from winter weather, start gradually removing the old mulch to allow the warmth to reach the soil. If you live in warmer parts of the country where the mulch continually provides moisture, refresh the upper layers to keep the beds thriving. Be sure to trim back any winter shrubs or plant growth to prepare and make room for the burst that's about to happen.
Learn which spring projects could save your life
3. Prevent Dryer Fires
Cleaning out your dryer's venting system is a quick weekend project and an important cleaning chore to help keep you and your family safe. Every year, an average of 14,500 clothes dryers catch fire. This isn't due to a wiring issue—rather, it's because lint collects in the dryer's exhaust ducts. Lint builds up very fast, is highly combustible and can spread a fire quickly. Cleaning your dryer vent once a year can help.
The easy way to clean the dryer vent fully is with a dryer vent cleaning brush. Start from the outside of the house, and work inward toward the dryer. You will be amazed at what comes out of the dryer vent, so keep a trash bag or two nearby.
Also remember to turn off the dryer when you are not going to be at home. Dryer fires spread quickly and destroy everything in their path, so it's definitely better to be safe and not sorry.
After the vent has been thoroughly cleaned, you can take several steps to make sure that your dryer is operating safely year-round. Always clean the dryer's lint screen after every use. Vacuum behind the dryer as part of your regular housekeeping chores. When you are behind the dryer, make sure the dryer vent duct hose is made from aluminum. If you spot an old-fashioned plastic dryer vent, be sure to replace it immediately to reduce your risk of dryer fires.
4. Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Spring also marks the beginning of daylight saving time and an excellent time to think about preventing house fires and replacing the batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Batteries in smoke detectors need to be changed at least yearly, and carbon monoxide detector batteries should be changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Be sure to give the detectors a test after replacing the battery to ensure they are working properly.
Also, if you haven't replaced the detectors in the past five years, that might be a good home improvement project to do right now. The technologies have improved, and the cost spent on new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is nothing compared to the possible dangers of a malfunctioning detector in your home.
5. All Systems Go for Summer
The weather may only just be starting to warm up, but that makes right now the perfect time to get your cooling system serviced and ready to go. Don't wait for the first superhot day to find out that your system isn't working well! If you have a central air conditioning system, schedule a service with the pros. Let them test all systems and examine duct work, making any necessary adjustments and repairs. Thereafter, be sure to vacuum all the registers and change any filters you're using to keep your indoor air quality at its best. If you have window units, remove and wash or replace the filters and then test them to be sure they are in good working order.
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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