If your new house is not brand-new, there are years of other people's dirt and dust that you'll have to contend with upon moving in, even if the house looks clean enough when you purchase it. While giving everything a good wash before moving in is probably something you'll do anyway, here are some other things you should do that might not occur to you.
1. Have the HVAC ductwork cleaned.
Even though there has been no decisive evidence on the improved health benefits of duct cleaning, it's still a good idea to get it done when you're moving into a home that has been lived in before, especially if there is no indication the ductwork has ever been cleaned. Cleaning ductwork after a home purchase is a good idea because:
- you don't know the health history of the previous owners. It's always a good idea to clean ductwork if someone in the house has been ill. Ducts can store blow bacteria and germs, increasing your risk of getting sick when you first move in.
- home renovations and excessive dust can overwhelm your HVAC components. If the previous owners did any work on the house, extra dust from the renovation stays in the ducts and decreases the efficiency of your entire system.
- ducts can spread mold. If you live in a moist area where mold is common, cleaning the ducts can give you a clean slate to work with, especially if mold was present when you bought the house. Even after abatement, spores can stay in the ducts.
- contaminants can cause allergic reactions. If you have someone who is sensitive to dust or pet dander, cleaning the ducts when you buy a lived in-house is a must. Even if the previous owners did not have indoor pets, the owners before them could have, or visitors with pets could have contributed to the dander in the ducts.
2. Clean the vent or fume hood.
The previous homeowners may have left he counters spotless and a cabinets clear, but an oft avoided (or forgotten) task is cleaning the fume hood or stove-top vent. Grease from cooking can build up on and in the vent, and these can contribute to the lingering "house smell" of the previous owners. Carefully remove the grating from the fume hood and wipe the interior with degreaser. If you have custom, top-of-the-line appliances, ask the owners for the users manual to prevent damaging the fume hood. For vents, wipe every surface, including ridges that can trap grease and gunk. You can kill bacteria by rubbing some clove oil on the vent exterior; turn the vent on and let it run for a while to help distribute the cloves through the vent fan after you have cleaned it.
3. Have the carpets cleaned.
Even if the previous owners had the carpets cleaned, have them done again. You don't know who cleaned them before, or how long ago "recently cleaned" was for carpets. Pets and small children can dirty a carpet in a short period of time, which is why you should always have the job done again just to be on the safe side. This is important if you have pets of your own: pets can catch fleas or illnesses from other pets shedding on the carpet. If you're planning on forgoing the cleaning because you're planning in removing the carpet, try to have the flooring replaced prior to moving in.
Moving into a clean home is important for your health and your sanity. By remembering to clean these three overlooked components, your house really will be ready from the inside out. For more information on HVAC maintenance and duct-cleaning, contact a company like Homeplace Furnace Duct & Fireplace Cleaning.