Tag Archives: home maintenance

Essential Maintenance Tasks for Appliances


Today’s typical family home is a buzzing hub of activity where meals are cooked, homework is done and family game nights are contested. In the background of it all: the home appliances that keep home life moving along. Focusing on a few maintenance tasks can keep home appliances performing efficiently and effectively.

Maintain tools

Keep appliances and cleaning tools running well so they continue to get the job done. Replace vacuum belts periodically to keep your vacuum cleaner running like new, and swap out lawn mowers’ spark plugs once a year to ensure the mower is easy to start. Stock up on extra batteries for cordless vacuums, leaf blowers or other lawn equipment used frequently.

Focus on filtration

Replace vacuum cleaners’ accessories often for best performance. Bags need to be replaced every one to two months, while a new filter is needed every three to six months. A full vacuum bag or clogged filter can inhibit the vacuum’s effectiveness, reducing suction and leaving allergens and dust behind. Washable filters should be replaced too, as they may begin to lose effectiveness after a couple of washes.

For great vacuum performance, use Arm & Hammer vacuum bags and filters to capture allergens, dust and pet hair from surfaces. The bags and filters also safely and naturally absorb offensive smells through the odor-fighting power of baking soda.

In addition to vacuum filters, make sure to replace HVAC filters. Furnaces and central air conditioners run more efficiently and provide higher quality air filtration with clean filters. Change filters frequently to keep home heating and cooling at a high level.

Clean appliances

While every appliance has a unique way to clean it, they all have one rule in common: Never, ever let spills or splatters linger. Whether it is on the stove, in the microwave or in the refrigerator, the longer deposits remain, the harder they are to clean. Keeping these appliances clean will mean that a deeper scrubbing is only needed occasionally.

Refrigerators – Twice a year, pull out the refrigerator to clean behind and under it. Mop the floor and use a vacuum to remove dust from the coils in back. This will decrease the stress put on the motor and can prolong the life of the refrigerator. Use soapy water to clean shelves, and a damp cloth to remove fingerprints from the front or sides.

Dishwashers – About once a month, check and clean the drain and wipe down the door seals and spray arm.

Oven – Embrace the self-cleaning option on the oven to do the heavy lifting whenever it is needed. Wipe down the inside of the door and creases to ensure there are not crumbs accumulating. Soak burners, knobs, racks and hood vents twice a year to keep them free of grime.

Microwave – Clean the rotating microwave plate weekly in the dishwasher. When needed, put a bowl of water with lemons in the microwave and run it for three minutes, then let stand for five minutes before wiping down the inside.

Washing machine – Always wipe out the machine to ensure there is no water left sitting in it. For a deeper clean, run the washer with bleach in the dispenser, pause the machine and let the bleach mixture settle for an hour, then complete the cycle before wiping it out.

Coffee maker – Hand wash the filter tray, exposed areas, and crevices weekly, and run water with a bit of vinegar through – without coffee – to clean the inner mechanisms.

Safety first

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in the home to keep families safe – but they need new batteries to ensure equipment is working as it should. Every six months, change the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms and make sure fire extinguishers are still in place and not expired.



Don’t Fence Me In


The famous cowboy song may not want to be fenced in, but there are definitely times when a fence is exactly what we want. When it comes to neighbors, it really is a coin toss…and there’s nothing worse than when it lands the other way. If there are little family members in the household, both human and otherwise, it practically becomes a necessity. Of course it could also be as simple as you wanting to add a little enhancement to your landscape. Big, small, cosmetic, security, wooden or natural, a fence is one housing accessory that has an answer to any, and all, of your needs. And what better time to add “new fence” to your honey-do-list than in the summer? But before you head on over to the nearest home improvement store, there are a few things to consider…

If you plan on lining your property line with this new fence, make sure you know where your property line is located. You really don’t want to peeve the neighbors by going too far over. You can check this line by going over your house location drawing or plat. If you don’t have them, check with your county offices. They generally have a free download on their website for you.

Once you know where you can put your fence, the next step is check with any type of city zoning regulations regarding height and other restrictions. If you have an HOA, finding out their rules will also need to be a priority. There is no sense in taking the time to build a fence you may have to tear down because drivers can’t see around it or learning after the fact that you can’t plant that shrub in your neighborhood or have a synthetic grass upfront.

And if you are planning to add a fence along your property line, here are just a couple of neighborly tips: Give your neighbors the heads up. You don’t have to give them all of the details, but a simple “Hey, I’m thinking about building a fence.” would be a lovely gesture. If you’re going with wooden option, give them the pretty side. It’s actually pretty typical for you to have the crossbars. And finally, maintenance. It’s your fence, it’s your problem. All of the upkeep and repair is your responsibility.

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