It’s your move-in day and, while it may be more fun to plan all the vintage items you’re going to put in your living room, the reality is that there are certain parts of your new place that need to be cleaned—stat. Even if the past owner hired a professional to deep-clean after they moved, there are some sneaky, behind-the-scenes spaces that should be checked out.
1. Dryer vent
The lint in your dryer doesn’t all go into the trap—some can get stuck in the dryer vent or even the exhaust duct. Turns out this is a notorious source of home fires. For safety and sanity’s sake, you should immediately take a look at these mundane but oh-so-necessary underpinnings of your new space when you move in, says Mina Fies, the creator of the Renovation Roadmap, an online resource to help homeowners oversee their remodeling projects.
2. HVAC vents
It’s always a good idea to clean your HVAC grilles, registers, and diffusers the week you move into your new space. You never know how many years of dust and dirt are lurking behind their metal facades. Once you do clean them, make sure they stay clean by changing all of your air filters. Not only will they prevent system damage and keep you breathing cleanly, they’ll also keep your energy bills low, says Justin Krzyston of Stonehurst Construction, a contracting firm in Los Angeles. “Sometimes those systems are overlooked during the inspection process,” he says. “To ensure your safety—and increase the efficiency of each item—you should have a professional do a double check on the filters.” Change them every three months and perhaps more during the summer.
A special tip for new homeowners: Cluttered gutters aren’t just unsightly—when filled with debris, they run the risk of damaging shingles and rooftops. “I would recommend getting them cleaned when you first move in and again six months later in order to avoid water damage to your home,” Krzyston says. If you want to give it a go yourself, here is Apartment Therapy’s Gutter Cleaning 101.
Bonus: Chimney flue
Lucky enough to have a fireplace? Make sure you clean the flue, stat. “A dirty chimney can cause long-term problems, including becoming a fire hazard, so it’s better to get your chimney cleaned as soon as you move in so the rest of your years in your home can be enjoyable,” Krzyston says. Tip: Always make sure to have your chimney inspected annually.