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Category: Interior Maintenance

Interior MaintenanceMaintenance

How To Inspect Your Washing Machine Hoses

Over time, it’s normal for your washing machine hoses to start to wear and tear and will eventually break. Therefore, it’s important to inspect your washing machine hoses at least once a year to ensure that they are in good working condition. You don’t want to deal with any unexpected leaks!

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

Washing machine hoses wear out quickly and eventually will crack. This can cause leakage in your hoses, which will result in unnecessary water damage to your home.

Tasks can be done by: a homeowner, cleaning company, handyman

Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect the hoses

  • Inspect washing machine hoses for leaks or cracks in the hoses. Also, inspect the general condition of the washing machine hoses, because its common for the material to wear out overtime.

Step 2 – Fix any problem areas

  • Tighten hose fittings as necessary to ensure no leaking.  If hoses appear cracked or worn, consider replacing them with new hoses. 
  • Remember to close the water valves before removing the old hoses.
    • Tool List: pliers – channel lock

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Exterior MaintenanceInterior MaintenanceMaintenance

How To Inspect Your Dryer Exhaust Duct

Over time, lint will get sucked through filter barriers and gather within dryer vents. This can lead to unexpected fires that come with huge dangers and expenses.

This is a Safety Task!

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 2,900 house fires are the results of dirty dryers. If you see lint sticking to walls, floor, or dryer, this usually is a sign of a clogged or leaky vent. Lint is very volatile and can catch fire very quickly. Additionally, you also want to make sure no unwanted critters live in your dryer vents, which prevents the vent from performing correctly.

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

Dryer fires are usually always caught too late. Additionally, there will be more damage to things within your home than just your dryer in most instances.

Tasks can be done by: homeowner, cleaning company, handyman

How To Inspect Your Dryer Exhaust Duct | Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect dryer exhaust duct

  • Inspect the outside vent opening for lint build-up or other obstructions.
  • Move your dryer out and remove the exhaust duct. Inspect inside to see how much lint has built up over time.

Step 2 – Clean the lint

  • Clean outside dryer vent of lint or other obstructions. For instance, obstructions could include animal or rodent nests, so be careful doing this step. Call an exterminator if you encounter anything you don’t feel comfortable dealing with.)
  • There are many different ways you can remove the lint from your dryer exhaust duct.
    • Tool List: extendable brush, vacuum
    • Supply List & Costs: trash bag – heavy duty

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Cleaning MaintenanceInterior Maintenance

Make Your Mattresses and Cushions Last Longer

Doing this task can extend the lifespan of your mattresses and cushions and make them overall more comfortable sitting in because your favorite spot will wear down after long periods of use.

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

Over time, mattresses & furniture cushions wear out, especially creating indents where your favorite spot is. Flipping & rotating them can help them to stay comfortable.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner or cleaning service

Make Your Mattresses and Cushions Last Longer | Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect mattresses and cushions

  • Go around your house and inspect all the mattresses and furniture with cushions. You’re going to want to look for heavy indents within the material or cushions that aren’t as comfy as they used to be.
  • Look to see if the cushions are reversible (able to be flipped) or able to be rotated.

Step 2 – Maintain everything

  • Flip over reversible cushions.
  • If you aren’t able to flip over your cushions because they aren’t reversible, you can at least rotate them, so you aren’t sitting on the same spot repeatedly.
  • Rotate and flip mattresses every six months to keep them lasting longer.

Whether they are cushions on your bar stools, couch cushions, and especially your favorite chair! You will definitely see a comfortability change in your seats or bed after flipping or rotating them. This can also be a great idea for improving your guest room!

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Also, check out another interesting article- How To Clean Your Windows and Window Screens!

Cleaning MaintenanceExterior MaintenanceInterior Maintenance

How To Clean Your Windows and Window Screens

Spring is a great time to start cleaning your windows and washing window screens. Windows that don’t operate properly can be a safety hazard for families in the case of intruders, so it’s vital that they open, close, and lock efficiently. Window screens with rips and tears aren’t doing their jobs because they eventually let dirt and insects inside during warmer months when windows are open.

This is a Safety Task!

If dirt and dust get into the locks, they may not function properly, preventing you from keeping intruders out or opening them in an emergency.

This is a Health Task!

All windows and screens require a good cleaning. Screens can collect grime, dirt, and dust, which can cause illness or allergies within the home. In addition, if screens are torn and windows are open, unwanted bugs can enter the house.

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

If windows that need glazing are not glazed and sealed, they may eventually have to be replaced, which is expensive. If they are not properly cleaned, dust and dirt can get into the sliders, window frames, operating mechanisms, or locks resulting in restricted use of the windows.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, window cleaning company, handyman

How To Clean Your Windows and Window Screens | Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect windows and screens

  • Inspect your house for damaged screens and broken windows. Some windows will lose their seal and look dirty, but the cloudy area is between the glass. The only way to fix that is to get a replacement glass or order a new window.
  • If you have old wooden windows, sometimes the glazing will fall out, which can cause the glass to break or fall out. However, if the glass is still good, you may be able to reglaze it and save on the cost of new windows. (Glazing is a caulk for windows. It weatherproofs and seals vulnerable areas but can deteriorate over time and should be replaced.)
  • If the windows need painting, make a note of this.
    • Tool List: ladder – step ladder

Step 2 – Cleaning window screens

  • If you’re cleaning multiple screens, you should label each screen, so putting them back isn’t difficult.
  • First, remove the screen from the window. (If you notice big rips and tears within the screen, it would be a good time to replace them).
  • Next, mix one cup of household ammonia with one tablespoon of dish detergent in approximately three cups of water, then pour it into a spray bottle.
  • After removing the screens, determine where the best place is to wash them. Depending on the weather, you can do this outside on the porch or deck. Otherwise, use your bathtub and run them under warm water one at a time.
  • Spray the screen with the solution you made, making sure to cover the entire screen with the solution.
  • Now use a scrub brush to remove any grime or dirt gently.
  • After scrubbing, run the screens under warm water to remove any excess residue.
  • Lastly, gently shake the screen free of water and allow it to air-dry.
    • Tool List: spray bottle, brush – flexible, hose – garden
    • Supply List & Costs: dish soap, ammonia – household  $0

Step 3 – Clean windows

  • While your window screens are air-drying, grab your preferred window cleaning solution and clean the windows inside and outside.
  • At this point, if you noticed that the glazing around your windows is peeling away, you can attempt to fix this if you feel comfortable enough. You can pick up some glazing putty at your local hardware store, but if you don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself, you can call a professional.
  • If you made a note earlier about needing to repaint windows, this would also be the step to get that done the way you prefer.
  • Once your screens are thoroughly dried, reinstall them in their appropriate spots.
    • Tool List: ladder – stepladder,
    • Supply List & Costs: cleaning solution – window

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Interior MaintenanceMaintenance

How To Test Your Thermostat

Keeping tabs on your thermostat throughout the year can significantly benefit you, especially if you live in places with fluctuating temperatures. Being on top of how your thermostat is functioning can end up saving you money in the long run. In addition, homeowners are switching to programable thermostats. This allows them to determine when heat is necessary and when it isn’t—no need to heat your home to your comfort level when you are not home and waste energy. Continue reading to see how to test your thermostat!

This is an Energy Efficiency Task!

Many homeowners look into upgrading or investing in a programmable thermostat to help reduce heating and cooling costs.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, handyman, heating and air conditioning contractor, electrician

How To Test Your Thermostat | Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect the thermostat

  • Inspect the unit and make sure it’s free of any dust buildup. Dust can interfere with how the thermostat works.
  • Test to see how well the system functions. If the heater or a/c does not come on when you turn on the thermostat, check to make sure the batteries are good or if they need to be replaced.
  • Ensure the current temp is higher or lower than your desired temp; otherwise, your unit will not kick on.
  • It is always a good idea to pay attention to which way the battery is installed. (+) (-)
    • Tool List: Battery tester

Step 2 – Thermostat maintenance

  • If you notice any dust buildup, blow any dust off the unit or wipe it down with a dry cloth. You can also use a vacuum, but make sure you do not damage the unit by trying to vacuum too close. If you use a vacuum, it’s best to reverse the vacuum hose and blow the dust off the unit.
  • If you need to replace batteries, use the correct batteries and attach the thermostat back to the housing on the wall.
  • Finally, always be sure to test everything after you’ve done maintenance.
  • If you feel your thermostat is old and needs replacing, you could look into getting a programmable thermostat for your home. This could result in money savings in the future, e.g., rising or dropping temperatures when the house is unoccupied during the day.
    • Tool List: Vacuum cleaner
    • Supply List & Costs: compressed air can, replacement batteries

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Interior Maintenance

How To Clean Air Supply and Return Registers

Cleaning your air supply will improve the air quality within your home. This is how to how to clean air supply and return registers.

This is a Health Task!

Getting rid of the dust in your home is a great way to keep you & your family healthy. This prevents dust, dander, and animal hair from spreading throughout your house.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, cleaning company, handyman, HVAC duct cleaning company

How To Clean Air Supply and Return Registers | Task Steps

Step 1 – Locate your air registers

  • Locate where the air registers are and check them for dirt and dust on and/or in them.
  • Once you have located them, wipe your finger or a dark cloth on the surfaces to check for dust.

Step 2 – Clean your air registers

  • Remove the floor registers and place them in a sink full of hot, soapy water.
  • Next, take a bristle brush and clean inside the ducts or loosen the dust from the duct’s sides.
  • Then, take a vacuum hose to the inside of the ducts. This will pick up any loose dust and dirt that you knocked off with the brush.
  • Lastly, use a damp microfiber cloth and reach down into the duct as far as possible, wiping the interior clean.  You may need to rinse the cloth repeatedly because you might find a lot of dust and dirt the first time you do this.
  • Before putting the register back, check to see if it has an open and closed vent. If so, put a little lubricant on the mechanism and work it back and forth so the register opens and closes easily.
  • Test to make sure everything is working.
    • Tool List: Vacuum, bristle brush, hose
    • Supply List & Costs: soapy water, damp microfiber cloth

Step 3 – Air Exchanger – if applicable

  • Read the maintenance and cleaning section in the owner’s manual for your exchanger.
  • Turn off power to the system.
  • Change and clean filter.
  • Vacuum and wipe down air vents inside and outside.
  • Replace filters.
  • Turn the system on. 
    • Tool List: Vacuum, bristle brush, hose
    • Supply List & Costs: soapy water, damp microfiber cloth

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Cleaning MaintenanceInterior Maintenance

How To Clean Curtains and Drapes

Most curtains and drapes can go ages without proper cleaning, resulting in dust and dirt building up on the fabrics. Usually, seeing that curtains and drapes are the barriers between an open window and our home, ensuring they get cleaned annually can lessen the risk of unnecessary allergens within the home.

This is a Health Task!

In other words, dust and dirt buildup can cause allergies.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, cleaning company, handyman

How To Clean Curtains and Drapes | Task Steps

Step 1 – Check the tags on curtains and drapes

  • First, you will want to go around your home and remove all the drapes and curtains you want to clean.
  • The most important thing for this task is to check to see if the manufacturer recommends steaming, washing machine, or dry cleaning. Ignoring this can cause damage to your curtains or drapes.
  • Some products only recommend vacuuming softly.
    • Tool List: ladder – stepladder, vacuum cleaner, laundry basket

Step 2 – Clean the curtains and drapes

– If the care tag says dry cleaning:

  • Does the care tag say dry cleaning? Take the appropriate curtains/drapes to the dry cleaners to ensure they are cleaned correctly.

– If the care tag says steaming:

  • Does the care tag say steaming? Make sure your steamer has an upholstery attachment, then follow the instructions on your steam cleaner.
    • Tool List: steam cleaner

– If the care tag says you can use a washing machine:

  • Does the care tag say you can use a washing machine? Take the curtains outside and shake them to eliminate as much dust as possible.
  • Put them in the washing machine using cold water and a little bit of gentle laundry detergent.
  • Lace curtains should be washed in a mesh bag if hand washing is not specified.
  • Only clean one or two panels in your washing machine at a time, depending on the thickness of your curtain fabric.
  • Hang curtains to dry (outside if possible).
  • Lastly, iron your drapes using the appropriate fabric setting before hanging them back up.
    • Tool List: laundry basket, iron

Step 3 – Clean the curtains and drapes

  • Next, Once everything is clean, you should hang them back up, regardless of what methods you needed to go through to clean your curtains and drapes.
    • Tool List: ladder – stepladder

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Cleaning MaintenanceInterior Maintenance

How To Properly Clean Household Items and Declutter

It’s always a great idea to get a head start on spring cleaning! Getting rid of excess dirt and dust-coving unused objects can help eliminate potential allergens hidden within your home. A clean, decluttered home can also boost your overall mood. This is how to properly clean household items and declutter!

This is a Health Task!

Getting rid of the dust in your home is a great way to keep you & your family healthy. It also aids with allergies.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, cleaning company, handyman

How To Properly Clean Household Items and Declutter | Task Steps

Step 1 – Decluttering

  • Walk around the house and try to declutter all items you don’t need out in the open anymore. Use plastic storage bins to help with the declutter process and label while putting in storage.
  • You can wipe objects down as you go with a damp cloth. Then you can place them in places you feel fit.
  • If you come across items you don’t want to own anymore, and then you can always take them to a nonprofit or a thrift store.
  • Anything that can cause a trip hazard or fire hazard should be moved to a more appropriate location.
  • Also, walk around areas that you need to get to in an emergency, e.g., gas shutoff, electric shutoff, water shutoff, or fire extinguishers, and make sure you have no clutter blocking the way.
    • Supply List & Costs: cleaning cloth – damp/wet

Step 2 – Cleaning up

  • Walk around the house and wipe your finger on furniture, cabinets, doors, light fixtures, and the floor. If you see a heavy presence of dirt or grime that comes off onto your finger, then you know it’s a good time for dusting.
  • There are arguments on which is the best way to dust. You can either use a duster or use a damp cloth. Using a wet cloth to clean will reduce the number of particles floating around and settling back on surfaces after everything is dusted. Make sure you keep cleaning in the bucket of water.
  • Either way, work down from the highest part of the room to the lowest. You determine which method serves you better.
  • Once dusting is complete, use a vacuum to suck up the dust that migrated to the carpet. Don’t forget to also vacuum the furniture.
  • After vacuuming, use a reliable glass cleaner on all your windows and glass doors.
  • Finally, give your floors a good damp mopping to pick up the dust that settled onto the floors. You can vacuum instead of mopping if you see fit. Start from the end of the room and mop/vacuum towards the doorway.
  • Now would be a good time to use a polish on wood furniture if you want.
    • Tool List: Duster, vacuum cleaner, mop, bucket – medium
    • Supply List & Costs: cleaning cloth – damp/wet, cleaning solution – glass, dish soap, polish – wood

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your outdoor A/c Unit in tip-top shape! Now you know how to clean your outside air conditioner unit!

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Interior Maintenance

How To Inspect Your A/C Condensate Pan and Overflow Line

Usually, with A/C units, when the warm air crosses over the cold evaporator coils, condensation will occur and drip into the condensate drain pan below.  Ensuring your A/C unit’s condensate pan & overflow line are working correctly will help keep your house safe from unwanted water damage. It is easy for debris to get into the overflow pan and clog the drain hole, which forces water to overflow. As the weather gets nicer & temperatures start rising, the number of service calls to HVAC professionals significantly increases because this can be a common issue within many homes. It’s a good idea to inspect before the damage happens. This is how to inspect your a/c condensate pan & overflow line!

This is a Safety Task!

Overflowing water can get into electric switches or light fixtures, which causes a short that can result in a fire.

This is a Health Task!

Excess moisture can cause mold and mildew throughout the home.

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

Cleaning the air conditioner’s drain line will prevent the system from overflowing the drain pan and causing water damage to the ceiling, walls, or floor.  The damage can require the replacement of insulation, drywall, paint, and flooring. Data shows damages costing up to $10,000 for this minor oversight by homeowners.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, handyman, plumber, HVAC company

How To Inspect Your A/C Condensate Pan & Overflow Line | Task Steps

Step 1 – Inspect the drain line for clogs

  • Check the drain line, which usually is a PVC pipe located near the outdoor unit and attached to your house’s outside roofline or wall. Most drain lines come out of the side of the home to allow the condensation water to drop to the ground.
  • Check to make sure there is nothing that can block the drains. Sometimes mice, squirrels, or birds build nests in these areas, which can cause blockage. Also, blowing attic insulation can get into the pan and clog up lines.
  • Not seeing visible blockages also doesn’t mean your drain line is entirely in the clear. In the next step, you’ll test how well the drain line works by pouring water into the pan and seeing if it drains.

Step 2 – Inspect condensate pan

  • Grab a flashlight and locate the condensate pan, which should be underneath the evaporator coils in the AC unit in your ceiling or utility room.
  • If you notice any small cracks or imperfections in the pan, you can always use silicone caulk to fix problem areas.
  • You can test the efficiency of this pan by pouring a few cups of water into the pan & observe what happens. If water doesn’t flow freely down and out of the drain line, there may be a clog along the way.
  • Otherwise, if you notice that everything is draining properly, then you’re done testing the efficiency of your condensate pan & overflow line.
    • Tool List: flashlight, bucket – medium
    • Supply List & Costs:  Caulk – silicone

Step 3 – If you have a clogged system

  • If you have a clogged system, pour white vinegar or bleach into the pan, which should drain through the pipe and clean out the drain lines. Only use bleach if you plan on running your A/C unit throughout the summer.
  • Flush the pipe out with water to ensure everything is flowing freely and operating as it should.
  • Test to make sure everything is working. If there is still a clog somewhere within the pipe, you can utilize a stiff brush to get inside the drain that you can’t usually reach.
  • If you cannot get everything draining correctly, calling an HVAC professional would be a good idea.  
  • Otherwise, if everything does seem to be draining well, then your maintenance, for the time being, is complete.
    • Tool List: bucket – medium, brush – bristle, pipe cleaner, watering can
    • Supply List & Costs: white vinegar

If you discover problem areas, it’s best to call a professional to inspect the issue. Then, have the situation assessed to determine whether or not your issue is resolved.

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Interior MaintenanceMaintenance

How To Change Your Furnace or Central Air Conditioner Filter

Clean units will also provide healthier air into your home without fear of tons of unwanted allergens floating about. Taking the proper care of your central A/C unit can ensure the likelihood of efficient airflow within your home. This is how to change your furnace or central air conditioner filter!

This is a Health Task!

A clean A/C unit will ensure that the air quality in your home is healthy and will prevent a lot of allergic reactions.

This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!

Consistent A/C maintenance will prolong the unit’s lifespan. When filters are not cleaned regularly, more stress is put on fans, motors, and pumps, which may cause expensive failures.

Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, Handyman, HVAC professional

How To Change Your Furnace or Central Air Conditioner Filter | Task Steps

Step 1 – Getting Prepared

  • Turn on the system and determine how good the airflow is coming through the ducts.
  • Put your hand in front to feel the air or hold a tissue in front and see if it moves away from the air ducts as the air blows out.

Step 2 – Clean or replace A/C filter

  • While dealing with an A/C system, replacing the filter is recommended. Locating the filter can be difficult, but the most commonplace is in a return register or at the furnace blower unit, usually in your basement, garage, attic, or utility room. Return registers are located in central locations like ceilings or walls where the air is sucked out of the room and back into the air blower area.
  • Ensure that filters are clean; if not, you need to determine if they are reusable or need to be replaced. Most metal and plastic filters are reusable & will need a good cleaning before use. Any kind of cardboard or fiber type of filters are most likely not reusable, so purchasing a new filter for your system is recommended.
  • Most A/C filters are found inside your home. Make sure that if you need a replacement filter, it is the correct size. If you can reuse filters but dirty, you can soak the filter in some hot soapy water until it looks clean and new. You can hose off the filter outdoors for a quicker cleaning process till it looks nice and clean.
  • Make sure the area around the filter is cleaned up before inserting the replacement filter.
  • When putting in the new/clean filter, an arrow is usually printed on the filter, indicating how it should be inserted. Insert the filter arrow towards the unit.
    • Supply List & Costs: filter – heating and ventilation

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your unit in tip-top shape! Now you know how to change your furnace or central air conditioner filter!

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