Home Care Library
Top 5 Tasks for January
To help you get the year off to a good start, here are the top five home care tasks that we recommend you do during January that will help you avoid unscheduled repairs, save energy, and keep your family safe.
Treat Your Drains
Over time, the drains in your sinks begin to build up with gunk. If you wait for them to plug up, then you have to clear them using aggressive chemicals. Instead, we recommend that during January you treat your drains with baking soda. Just run the water in the tap until it’s very hot, then sprinkle baking soda down the drain and continue to flush with very hot water. This will remove the gunk that builds up in your drainpipes, and will keep them clear and smelling nice.
Inspect And Clean Your Refrigerator
Your refrigerator works hard and consumes a lot of energy, so it is important to conduct routine maintenance on it. At least once a year you should clean and inspect the door gasket on your refrigerator to make sure that it seals tightly. If your door gasket leaks, your refrigerator has to work harder to keep the contents cold, which will cost you more in energy. You also want to check the inside temperature of your refrigerator to make sure that it is operating properly. You can purchase a special refrigerator thermometer, or you can place a glass of water inside and put a regular thermometer in it. If the temperature is too high, then you will not be keeping your food cold enough for it to be safe, and if the temperature is too low, then you could be using too much energy.
Other routine maintenance items for your refrigerator include vacuuming around coils, clearing the drain hole and drip pans, cleaning and defrosting, changing the water filter, and checking and adjusting the levelness of your refrigerator by adjusting its feet. For more information on refrigerator maintenance, you can see the refrigerator section of our online How-To Guide: Refrigerator-Freezer
Inspect And Clean Your Microwave
It is easy to take your microwave for granted, since it is an appliance that most of us use every day, and it typically does not require much maintenance. However, during the month of January, we suggest that you take a moment to inspect and clean your microwave. In particular, we suggest that you thoroughly inspect and clean the door seal. If your microwave’s door does not seal properly, then it could be allowing dangerous levels of microwave radiation to be escaping during operation. If your door seal is damaged or the door is not closing properly, then this should be immediately repaired or replaced.
Throw Out Expired Medicines
As you may have noticed, both prescription and non-over-the-counter medications all have expiration dates written on them. During the month of January, we suggest that you look in your medicine cabinet and properly dispose of all medications that have expired. Expired medicines can become dangerous because they become chemically unstable and less potent (helpful accessory: medicine disposal system). In addition, they are risky to leave around your home if you have small children or visitors with small children. You can contact your pharmacist to find the proper method for disposing of your medications. For additional information: Why & How To Get Rid of Old Medicines
Replace Furnace Air Filters
If you have a forced-air heating system in your home and haven't changed its air filter yet this season, then you will want to replace its air filter during January. A dirty air filter makes your furnace blower work harder, and routinely replacing your filters with new ones can help you save up to $50 per year in energy. Also, a clogged air filter prevents the filter from removing particulates from your air, which can be particularly troublesome if you have people in your family with allergies or asthma. To learn more about replacing your furnace's air filter: Guide to Choosing & Changing Your HVAC Air Filters
We wish you the very best for the New Year, and hope that we have helped you get your home off to a good start with these suggestions for the top 5 routine maintenance tasks for January.
Related Articles . . .
Avoiding Common Plumbing ProblemsPlumbing problems can range from minor visible nuisances, to hidden troubles that can be causing major damage to your home and your family’s health. This article discusses how to avoid common plumbing problems. more ▶
Refrigerator Tips for Saving Energy & Food SafetyYour refrigerator is the fourth largest consumer of energy in most homes. This article and video gives you tips for reducing your refrigerator's energy use, and will also help you ensure food safety. more ▶
Microwave Safety TipsA microwave is easy to use and a great time-saver, but it can also be a cause of burns, kitchen fires, and sickness from under-cooked foods. Here are 55 tips for operating your microwave safely. more ▶
Why & How To Get Rid of Old MedicinesMedicines can help you feel better and keep you healthy, but when they are past their expiration dates, some medicines can become toxic. Here's why and how you should get rid of old medicines. more ▶
Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air FiltersFor saving energy and improving air quality, changing the air filters for your furnace is important. This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself. more ▶