Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7CALIFORNIA LIFE


Springtime means spring cleaning – and allergies.

Your nose isn't the only thing that gets a workout; so does your home's ventilation system.

During spring, pollen and other allergens are in the air, said Jim Anderberg, general manager of Beutler Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Sacramento.

"With allergens in the air, filters can easily become clogged with particles that impact air quality, and this can have a residual effect on your health," he said.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50 percent of all illnesses are aggravated or caused by polluted indoor air. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to asthma, headaches, nasal congestion, dry eyes, nausea and fatigue.

Anderberg recommends a simple spring tune-up of your home's HVAC system that includes replacement of air filters. That cleans out all the pollutants that collected over the winter months, ensuring filters can then catch spring pollens and allergens.

A tune-up can catch leaks, too, and help your system run more efficiently – and save money.

Spring also is a good time to evaluate your air conditioner overall – before the weather heats up. Your HVAC uses more electricity than any other system in your house, Anderberg noted. Switching out an old air conditioner for a new energy-efficient model may save 20 percent to 50 percent of AC energy use.

Also, the federal Environmental Protection Agency mandated that the refrigerant R22 be phased out, he added. Consider a unit that uses R401A, a more eco-friendly choice of refrigerant.

For more tips, click on www.beutlerairconditioningandheating.com.


Weed, weed, weed. Get them out before they go to seed. According to master gardeners, the most common weeds in Sacramento County right now: Filaree, wild geranium, bedstraw and such annual grasses as foxtail, barley, wild oats and bluegrass.

Instead of pulling weeds, use a sharp hoe. Cut the weeds off just under the root crown; aim for about a half-inch below soil level. That method disturbs soil less than pulling weeds and keeps new seeds from migrating to the surface where it can sprout.

Dig manure and compost into vegetable beds and let it mellow for two weeks before planting.

With warmer weather comes mosquito season. Empty standing water out of saucers under pots. Also, eliminate any other standing water that may have accumulated.

In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, endive, fennel, jicama, leaf lettuce, mustard, radishes and turnips.

In the flower garden, plant aster, celosia, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.

Protect early, warm-weather transplants with plastic two-liter soda bottles or 1-gallon jugs. Cut off the bottom and leave the top open.

– Debbie Arrington

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