Whether you live in your cabin year round or you close it up for the winter, we have hit the time for spring cleaning. ” Yes it is hard to get motivated to do this when you visit your cabin as you visit it for a vacation ” yes you have most likely just finished spring cleaning your house”, and would rather be out playing in the sun and enjoying spring after a cold winter. None the less we have to do our cabins as well. So lets get busy with some quick tips on things you should do around your cabin when you open it up for spring.
I like to start out with the fire place first since this is the worst job on the list! I like to get it out of the way ASAP.
Vacuum or dust the hearth area to prevent dust and soot buildup. Do not sweep or vacuum until all the embers have been extinguished for at least 12 hours.
Inspect the firebox and flue (Never use an abrasive cleanser inside the fireplace. Many leave a flammable residue). Remove all ash from the firebox and old burnt logs; fill any cracks that are inside. Most hardware stores will sale a filler for a reasonable price. (When cleaning your fireplace, you can sprinkle some damp coffee grounds over the ashes to keep down the dust.
The Fire Screen
Most fire screens are black painted metal, but if your screen is brass-plate, clean it as you would other brass objects.
If you have purchased one of our fire place screens to clean these simply mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar and 1 gallon warm water. Add 1 teaspoon ammonia. Dip a cloth into the solution, and wipe down both sides of the screen. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clear, warm water.
Glass enclosures for the fireplace are constructed of Window Cleaning South Shore MA tempered glass. Clean the glass facing the fire after every other fire to remove the residue of soot.
For baked-on soot, scrape the glass very with a glass scraper to avoid scratching the surface.
To remove smoke stains, mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar with 1 gallon clear, warm water. Add 1 tablespoon clear ammonia. Either spray this solution on the glass or wipe it on with a cloth dipped in the solution. Rinse with clear, warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.
We are now done with the inside of the fire place! So lets move on to the outside. If you are like us! Then you have burned several fires over the season and it is now time to clean the chimney. I first like to inspect all the brick on the outside of the chimney before I get on the roof. If I find loose or cracks in any bricks I fill them with mortar. I also use the hose and spray the chimney brick down. We seal our chimney so I like to make sure the water is still beads up! If you do not seal your chimney then I recommend it as it is a great way to help protect your brick or rock work on the outside. Of course if your water is no longer beading on the chimney! Well it is time to break out the seal and start painting.
At this point you can either call in a professional chimney sweep or do it yourself. I prefer the calling of a chimney sweep as they do this type of work all day every day and they know what they are doing and things to look for. If your cabin is located in the South Lake Tahoe area you can click this link to see a few chimney cleaners in this area.
Now that the fireplace is clean it is time to dust and vacuum the entire cabin thoroughly. We use lemon oil on all log walls and we place a pan of water on the wood stove to put some moisture back into the dry air. Next we tackle the windows.
Okay, we are sure everyone knows how to clean a window but don’t forget the window runners, check for any leaking that may have occurred during the winter and clean all the window treatments. I like to use a mixture of warm water and vinegar and I use newspaper to clean (something about the ink really puts a great shine on the windows).
Now it is time to head on out and inspect all water pipes! Since you have your cabin water on and running, take a peek under neither to make sure you have no pipes that are leaking or have burst. Nothing is worse then having water damage to clean up! So this is a major must do. Keep in mind that in spring plumbers in the Tahoe area are very busy with broken pipes! So be sure to call right away if you notice something wrong. At times we have used Lake Tahoe Plumbing and Heating to do some repair work on the South Shore, we have been pretty happy with the work done by them.
Since you are now outside looking at your pipes! It is a great time to now start in the yard. The US Forest Service in Lake Tahoe has recommended a very early clean up of dried and dead debris due to a good chance of a early fire season this year. Remove all dry material and take it to the dump. Keeping weeds, leaves and pine needles under control is a great way to help your cabin in the event of a forest fire. Also this is a great time to check all your fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and of course a great time to make sure all those squirrels have not dug holes to sleep the winter away under your cabin. I also use this time to tune up or sharpen the chain saw and work on the lawn mower if you have grass. Also it is a great time to make sure you are bear proofed for the summer (view more information about bears in Lake Tahoe over at the League To Save Bears).