What should I be doing in 2010?
by Ron Accornero
Lose weight, quit smoking, get into an exercise program, eat a better diet, keep my New Years resolutions, become more spiritual, take better care of myself, write to my relatives and learn to listen to my spouse. These are all good resolutions to be accomplished in 2010, but what about our home? Our homes need regular maintenance and this should be part of our year-end planning as well. What should we be doing to our homes at this time of the year?
•1) Test the smoke detectors. - This is a life saving device that needs regular maintenance. A $1.00 battery could save your life some day. Is this worth an annual checkup? A simple push of the test button will reveal whether it is working. It might also be a good maintenance habit to also change the battery unless the device is hot-wired.
•2) Replace your furnace filter. This will cut down on dust in your home and make your home a healthier place to live. In addition it allows the furnace to work more efficiently and save dollars. Pull out the existing filter and check the size. The replacement will be found at your local hardware store. Also check you furnace for air leaks around the unit. While the unit is running, listen and feel for air that may be coming out and heating your garage or attic rather than your home. The hardware store sells aluminum tape especially for this purpose to stop those leaks and make your furnace more efficient.
•3) Clean the coils in your refrigerator. Cleaning the coils makes your refrigerator operate more efficiently and saves energy. Pull the refrigerator out of the compartment and vacuum the coils in the back. On built in refrigerators the coils are usually located at the top and a vent screen must be removed.
•4) Clean or replace the air filter over your range. This will allow more airborne particles to exit through the exhaust rather than end up in your kitchen. Annual cleaning of the air filter area removes grease, which could be a home to some bacteria in your kitchen.
•5) Water Purifiers - Change the filters in your water purifier. These should be changed every six months. There is usually a pre-filter and an aft-filter which need changing. The reverse osmosis filter usually lasts longer depending on the hardest of the water in your area. The manufacturer usually checks the amount of particles in the water if you take a sample and send it to them.
•6) Drain your water heater annually and check for settlement. This can improve your energy costs. Mineral deposits at the base of a water heater make the job of heating the water more difficult. Also test the pressure relief valve by raising the lever so that water rushes out of the drainpipe. If this valve is not functional it could cause an explosion in your home.
•7) Test GFI receptacles - These are called Ground Fault Instruments and provide a ground so the person near the water area will not be shocked. There is a test button on each unit, which needs to be pushed.
•8) Another good energy saver is to purchase a tube of caulking from the local hardware and walk around your home and caulk every hole and crack. This keeps heat and cool inside the home.
•9) Dishwasher causing a film on your glasses? Take apart the drain in the dishwasher and clean out the broken glass and debris. Then run a cup of Lime-a-way through the dishwasher.
•10) Check your doors for weather stripping and replace any that are leaking heat to the exterior.
These are just 10 items you can do in 2010 and get your home into better shape along with your body.