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Home Maintenance Tips for February

Homeownership means home maintenance is always on the horizon. With some planning, home maintenance tasks don’t have to be a whole weekend of chores. We recommend breaking down annual home maintenance tasks into monthly assignments that only take a few hours out of your day.

Here’s what we recommend for February:

  • Clean the coils on your refrigerator. Dust collects on the condenser coils, and that means your refrigerator is working harder than it needs to. To keep it energy efficient, break out the vacuum cleaner and pull the refrigerator out from the wall. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum as much dirt, hair/fur (got pets?) and dust off the coils as you can. You may have to remove a grate to access the coils, so be sure to clean the grate, too. Then use a duster or cloth to get in between the coils. While the refrigerator is pulled away from the wall, vacuum the floor that’s normally under the fridge. You only need to do this chore once a year, and it will make a difference in your refrigerator’s performance and lifespan.
  • Clean out your dryer vent and duct. Clear any lint or other debris from your dryer’s outside vent all the way back to where the duck connects to your dryer. Doing this annually – or even semi-annually – will help keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible. A clogged vent or duct makes your dryer work harder, can increase your energy bills, and even be a fire hazard. Before you start, make sure a bird or other critter hasn’t made your duct into its home.

    To make quick work of it, first remove the vent cover outside (you don’t want this blowing away). Pull your dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent hose that connects your dryer to the duct. Carefully, use your leaf blower to clear the duct. Be sure to clean your vent hose, too. Then reconnect your dryer to the hose and the hose to the duct. Then reinstall your vent cover.
  • Clean your garbage disposal. While the vast majority of what you put down the disposal is ground up and gone forever, some of it can stick around, lodged in the moving parts decaying and stinking up your kitchen. First, disconnect the power; either unplug it or turn off the breaker. Now, remove the splash guard (be sure to wash it) and use a flashlight to inspect the inside of your garbage disposal for any debris that might be stuck. Remove debris with tongs, pliers or even tweezers (just not your fingers, please).Now that you’ve cleared away any stuck debris, pour in half a cup of baking soda, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

    While you’re waiting for the baking soda to work its magic, you can clean your refrigerator’s condensing coils. After 30 minutes, add one cup of vinegar and let that chemical reaction do its thing. After about five minutes, rinse the disposal with very hot water. Next, reinstall the splash guard, and grind completely two cups of ice and one cup of salt to help remove any debris or build-up on the blades. It’s like an exfoliator for the blades. For the last step, freshen up the disposal, your sink and the kitchen by grinding up small pieces of citrus peel*.

    *One important point to note: don’t use citrus peels if you’re on a septic system. Add a few drops of lemon oil instead to freshen up your disposal.

Have questions about what other home maintenance tasks you should complete annually? Check out How to Keep Your Basement Dry.


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