So Fresh and So Clean

So Fresh and So Clean

With warm weather approaching, this is the perfect time to make your list of some essential home maintenance tasks. In fact, experts say that homeowners often miss many of them, which can have serious consequences. Taking the time now to maintain your home, likely your single largest investment, is a lot easier, not to mention less expensive, than dealing with big repairs later on. Here are selections of key to-do items that can be worked on this weekend, based on areas of your home.

In the Kitchen

Clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils. Most refrigerators have condenser coils either along the bottom or back of the unit. These coils can collect dust and pet hair, and when dirty, force your refrigerator to work harder to stay cold. This, in turn, uses more electricity. Be sure to clean your refrigerator’s condenser coil once a year—or more frequently if you have pets that shed. You can use the hose from a vacuum cleaner to suck out dust particles and debris.

Deodorize the dishwasher. Your dishwasher needs periodic cleaning so it will continue to perform well and do its job. Be sure you clean the filter (usually located on the bottom inside the tub), too. Check the aisle where you buy dishwasher detergent for some easy-to-use dishwasher cleaners and deodorizers.

Clean the ice maker. This includes the water filter (if yours has one), and many new ones with ice/water through the door have an indicator that lights up. The filter helps keep your system from having a mineral buildup, which can impact the taste of the ice. Don’t forget to periodically clean your ice maker’s collection bin. If you don’t use ice frequently, it freezes into a big block and can make the ice dispenser work harder than it has to.

In the Bathroom and Laundry Room

Clean bathroom exhaust fans twice a year. These exhaust fans help eliminate odors and remove moisture that would otherwise land on surfaces, keep the room humid, and worst-case, turn into mold. Fans can’t operate properly if the cover is dirty. Just give those exhaust vent covers a thorough cleaning with soapy water twice a year.

Eliminate shower head buildup. Did you know that minerals in our water build up over time and can clog the holes in a shower head? To remove calcium deposits and other gunk, fill a small bag with one cup equal parts water and distilled white vinegar and attach it to the shower head’s nozzle with a twist tie, and let it soak for 20 minutes, and then flush the shower head with hot water before using it. This should also help give you better water pressure, as a bonus.

Keep your washing machine mildew-free. Want to stop mold from festering and growing in your clothes washer? Run a cup of white vinegar through the washing machine, using a cleaning cycle or a normal cycle with hot water, or check online for a cleaner you can just easily add. Also, if you have a front-loading washer, remember to keep your washing machine’s door open to allow the rubber seal to dry out.

Clean the dryer vent. Most people know it’s important to clean the dryer lint screen in between loads to prevent fires (and also help the dryer work more efficiently). Did you know that failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of clothes dryer fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration? Dryer vents should be cleaned at least once a year, and there are even dryer vent cleaning kits to make things easier.

Taking it Outside

Check your gutters. Spring is a great time to check your gutters for debris and ensure your downspouts aren’t clogged. Also inspect it for any loose hangers or diverters so the exiting water runs away from your foundation, and not towards it.

Sweep the chimney. If your home has a wood burning fireplace, it’s important to have it inspected at least once a year. Smoke can leave behind ash and carbon deposits, called creosote, and this needs to be removed periodically because it can lead to chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

Inspect trees and limbs near your home. If you have trees close to your home, you’ll want to hire a professional arborist to do an annual sweep of your property. These specialists can identify early signs of disease or rotting. Then, follow the arborist’s advice on what foliage to trim or cut down.

Check out these various checklists to keep you on track. Use the one that makes the most sense for you in terms of level of detail and if you like your lists monthly, seasonally, or yearly!
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist:
Annual Home Maintenance Checklist:
Healthy Homes Maintenance Checklist:
Home Maintenance Checklist:

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram