Most of us are spending more time at home, and many are looking for ways to stay positive and productive during these trying times. If you are caught up on work and running out of craft projects, this might be a good opportunity to turn your attention to the home maintenance tasks you never seem to have time to complete.
Since we are trying to limit our trips away from home, here are five tasks you can complete without heading to the store for supplies.
1. Vacuum Your Refrigerator Coils
You may have already cleaned your coils during your annual spring-cleaning ritual but, if not, now is a great time to help your refrigerator function properly and conserve energy. Unplug the refrigerator, move it away from the wall, remove the panel covering the coils, use a soft-bristled scrub brush to knock debris off the coils, and then vacuum the coils. It really is that easy.
2. Clean Your Dryer Vent
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 2,900 residential clothes dryer fires each year. Thirty-four percent of these fires are caused by failing to clean the dryer. The last thing you want while isolating is a fire in your home. This is one easy way you can reduce the risk of that happening.
There are lots of online resources with checklists and videos to help get you through this task, but here are the basics: unplug the dryer, move it away from the wall, remove the duct from the dryer, scoop out any visible lint, use a vacuum hose to clean the duct, find and remove the exterior vent cover, vacuum the vent, put everything back the way you found it.
3. Test Smoke Detectors
Locate the test button on each of your smoke detectors. Hold the test button down for a few seconds while you wait for the alarm to sound. If the alarm sounds, release the button and go about your day. If it does not, it is time to change the batteries – or call the electrician, if your smoke detector is hardwired.
If you need to change the batteries, you can order them online or pick them up on your next planned trip to the store. Look for five- or 10-year batteries to limit the time you spend on stepladders in the future.
4. Clean Your Drains
Baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and boiling water are all you need to clean the drains throughout your home. While this DIY drain cleaner might not break up major clogs, it is an easy, inexpensive method for regularly cleaning your drains and reducing the need for store-bought, chemical-laden drain openers.
Pour about one-half cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow this with about one cup of vinegar, which will cause a rather fizzy chemical reaction. Finish things off by pouring one to two cups of boiling water down the drain.
5. Clean Your Trash and Recycling Bins
No one wants to do this job, but regular cleaning is the only way to avoid offensive smells, ants, and sticky situations. If you clean your bins regularly, you may just need to spray them down with a hose, and then let them dry. If it’s been a while, you may need to bust out the scrub brush to really give them a good cleaning. In this time when we are making an extra effort to keep germs out of our homes, take cleaning your bins one step farther by sanitizing them with a disinfectant spray after they dry.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is the marketing director for The Davis Group and a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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