Spring into action with spring cleaning Published March 20, 2019 By Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Blossoming flowers of pink, yellow and white fill newly green trees and fields as the sun rises on a crisp morning. A cool breeze carries little petals and pollen as far as the eye can see.For many people, pollen can be considered a nuisance due to allergies. While no one can control the amount of pollen outdoors, it is possible to replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning filters to breathe cleaner air indoors.“While the primary purpose of your air filter is to protect the air conditioning equipment, it also serves to keep the air for the space clean and healthy,” said Tech. Sgt. Russell Dutcher, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron HVAC requirements and optimization technician. “Air filter changing is a critical role in this because the filter will eventually build up a good layer of dust and particles on it which can impede air flow and reduce the function of the air conditioning system.”Dutcher continued to say, because of this, it is important to change your filter frequently, ideally once a month, unless it is not being used much and still appears to be fairly clean.“There are many different types of filters, some cheap while others are expensive high-efficiency particulate air filters that claim to remove a certain amount of animal hair, pollen and micro-organisms from the air,” said Dutch. “The HEPA filters are good for hypoallergenic reasons, but any filter will do and is far better than having none at all. For these reasons, it is very important, for the equipment and your own health, that you stay on top of changing your air filter.”While spring cleaning indoors, make sure to check for mold throughout the house. The places most likely to produce mold are bathrooms, around and underneath sinks, the attic, the basement, around the water heater and furnace, and near vents.Outdoor spring cleaning is just as important as indoor spring cleaning to prepare one’s home for whatever weather may come during the spring and summer months.“Ensure equipment is in good repair prior to use,” said Staff Sgt. Dominic Recella, 20th Fighter Wing occupational safety technician. “Wear gloves, use safety gear when handling equipment and chemicals, protect yourself from the sun and use insect repellent. Also watch out for extreme heat and know your limitations.”Harsh winter weather can be damaging to a home’s rooftop, and ensuring missing or broken shingles are replaced is imperative in preparation for the upcoming spring showers and storms.Winter can damage fences, so be sure there are no gaps in the fences and ensure locks and gates are reliable.“Use protective equipment and follow proper work practices in order to operate hand and power tools safely,” said Recella. “Utilize the manufacturer’s instructions if applicable, and keep all people not involved with the work at a safe distance from the work area.”Spring is also an ideal time to clear out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage and possible flooding in the home. Check that they are clear and directed properly so rainwater flows away from the house.Recella went on to say, when using ladders, always inspect it prior to use for any damage. Always maintain a three-point contact, meaning two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand, on the ladder when climbing, and do not use the top step or rung of a ladder as a step unless it was specifically designed for that purpose.Taking these extra steps during your spring cleaning can help keep your home clean, prevent damage to your home and ensure your family’s safety. For more tips and tricks on spring safety, call the 20th FW ground safety office at 895-1979 or the 20th CES fire station at 895-4600.