Along with the promise of longer, brighter days and green hillsides comes the not so fun elements of the season – spring cleaning. We may have become pros at ignoring that thick cobweb hanging from the living room ceiling, but spring signifies it’s time to finally roll up our sleeves and do something about it.

Keeping our homes in tip-top shape is also a matter of safety. Homeowners can use spring cleaning as a reminder that it’s time to switch out batteries for fire and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as taking old batteries to be recycled. As you go about your own spring chore list, there’s plenty more that you can do to keep your family not only happy and healthy, but also ensure you’re not wasting any resources.

Gas burning appliances such as furnaces and water heaters are a big concern, as not only do they account for a big part of energy bills, but they can also produce dangerous levels of odorless carbon monoxide. In addition to making sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly, it’s always a good idea to have these and other gas burning appliances inspected by a professional.

You can take your spring cleaning to the next level by making sure everything is running efficiently as well, starting with regularly switching out the filter for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. You can ensure your heating and cooling systems are running even more efficiently by properly setting the thermostat. A good guideline is 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer.

While you’re cleaning, remove items around the water heater that could be fire hazards. It doesn’t hurt to check its temperature setting as well. While most come out of the factory at 140 degrees, a majority of homes would be served perfectly well by 120 degrees, which would of course save on some energy costs. And here in the Golden State, new and replacement heaters must be anchored or strapped in order to resist damage during an earthquake. Make sure your unit is fastened, and if not, stop by a hardware store to pick up an approved bracing system.

Remember to keep an eye out for cracks, gaps and openings throughout your home, as these let dust, allergens and other pollutants in. Some common places to check include electrical outlets, doors, window frames and baseboards. You’ll be able to take care of the easier ones using a caulking gun, but a contractor can help you find the trickier ones and properly seal them. Having better control of what’s coming in and out of your home is going to keep the use of your heating and cooling systems in check year round.

With some extra steps, you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing that not only is your home dust bunny free, but also a safe and healthy environment.