Sure, spring cleaning is one thing. When the weather changes, any chance to be outside is a good one– even if it’s tackling major housekeeping chores that were avoided during the winter months. When the sun is out and spring is in the air, somehow it’s just more inviting to freshen up the household. But Fall has its own important “pay attention to’s”, particularly with winter coming up behind it. The idea is to prevent some expensive fixes. There are obvious chores like cleaning gutters, but there are also some, that you may just not be aware of. For a variety of home care ideas, I love the site: http://premeditatedleftovers.com.
For today, here are some not-so-obvious items that should be on your Fall maintenance list:
Flush the water heater. This is one job many conscientious homeowners overlook, but it’s a fact that corrosion-causing sediment shortens a water heater’s service life. Additional reward: that sediment reduces efficiency, so clearing it out will cut power bills all winter long. While we are talking about water heaters, now is a good time to take a good, hard look at yours. If it’s at the end of it’s lifespan, you might want to think about replacing it, before you wake up to no hot water on a cold winter morning.
Check for water leaks. This one is easy. Take a reading on the water meter, then turn off all appliances that use water (and don’t flush for a couple of hours). If the meter has changed, scout for the leak—leaky hoses are prime suspects. If you come up empty, a plumber’s expertise is probably indicated—better now than in the dead of winter.
Empty the drip pan. Most refrigerators have a drip pan down behind the kick panel. Be careful when you pull it out—it’s probably full of water, and possibly mold. If mold has clogged the drain line that leads down to the pan, shaping a metal coat hanger to clear it is standard practice.
Soak the clothes dryer’s lint screen. If gathering the lint off the dryer screen no longer clears it completely, you can remove the greasy film that develops by soaking it in a dishwasher soap-hot water bath, then gently brushing and rinsing.
An associated but more obscure tip: if clothes are still wet after ending the auto dry cycle, it could be caused by dryer sheet residue that builds up on its moisture sensor bars. Your dryer’s user manual will show where the metal sensors are located—on older models, they are usually found on the back wall of the drum; on newer models, on the inside front near the lint screen. After unplugging the machine, the white buildup can be cleared with some fine grit sandpaper, followed by polishing with a clean rag.
Needless to say, Fall is a great time to clean out closets and cabinets and wipe down with vinegar, deep clean upholstery and curtains. Now that Indian Summer has finally come to Greenwich and elsewhere, opening the windows and using some elbow grease for a day isn’t so bad.