Fall is finally here, and in Virginia that usually means one thing: leaves. Everywhere. But we’ve written a good bit about maintaining the exterior beauty of your home and lawn lately – and let’s face it, raking or blowing leaves isn’t rocket science. So this time we’re going to suggest a list of items that you can get done inside your home on a rainy or particularly cold Saturday.
The items on this list all come from a more complete home maintenance check list we created that you can find here. This post will call out several of the bigger items and give you a tip or two for getting them done right. Let’s get started.
Check windows and doors
Make sure they all operate smoothly without catching or sticking and that the locks engage. Also check the gaskets around each one to make sure there are no brittle spots that can easily crumble and create drafts as temperatures drop. Check for any existing drafts by slowly running your hand around the edges and feeling for temperature changes or a telltale breeze. In extreme cases, you may even see daylight shining through – these you’ll definitely want to address before heating season is in full swing.
Clean under and behind the dryer and clean out the exhaust duct
A build up of dryer lint can do more than slow down the efficiency of your dryer. It can also pose a fire hazard, especially during the colder months when the air is dry and charged with static electricity. Usually a vacuum or broom will get up most of the dust and lint that builds up on the floor around your dryer, but since you’re going to the trouble to move it, you can’t go wrong with giving the floor a quick scrub.
If your dryer is tucked into a small space like most, take the opportunity to remove the exhaust duct from the back and clean out any lint inside the dryer and the tubing. While you’ve got it off and have access to the vent, go ahead and clean that out, too. Depending on how far from the exterior of your home the dryer is, you may be able to clean out the vent with a quick swipe of your hand, or you may need to run a vacuum hose as far in as possible. If you can do the same from inside and outside the house, you should be in good shape. Once you’ve got the dryer reattached, let it run empty for a few minutes to blow out whatever you may have loosened up.
Clean your stovetop exhaust hood and filter
Grease has a way of getting everywhere. No matter how vigilant you are with lids on pots and pans, eventually, you’ll need to do more than the standard nightly kitchen clean up.
Typically, you can get the job done by just pouring a little degreaser on a cloth and wiping it away. Avoid spraying degreaser if you can so that you don’t get it in the fan motor or light fixture. Aluminum and stainless steel filters should come clean with regular dish soap.
If the grease is especially thick (perhaps you’re the one who brings fried chicken to every family function), you can have a sparkling kitchen with a few extra steps.
- Make a thick paste of water and baking soda
- Soak a cloth with hot, soapy water and use it to apply the paste to the grease in circular motions, this should loosen the grease quite a bit
- Wipe off the grease with the same cloth and rinse it in hot, soapy water
- Repeat as necessary until the majority of the grease is gone
- Remove any filmy appearance left by cleaning with hot, soapy water and then regular degreaser
Check all inside water hoses
Hoses inside? Yep, they’re hidden so we don’t always think about them, but they get used a lot. We’re talking about your appliances, and it’s important to maintain the water hoses on them. Check them on your washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker if you have one. Keep an eye out for any bubbling or cracking anywhere in the lines.
If you see anything that worries you about one of the hoses, you’re better off to go ahead and replace it. Consult the owners manual for your particular model for the manufacturer’s recommendation. But one thing is for sure when replacing a hose: don’t forget to turn the water off first!