Now that summer is winding down, it’s time to start thinking about getting your home ready for the fall and winter months ahead.  The following are some of the tasks that are easier to take care of during the end of summer rather than during the fall or winter.  We will start with the kitchen and Bathrooms.

  • Refrigerator Coils: The condenser coils job on a refrigerator is to remove heat from inside the motor; and when they get dusty and dirty, it can cost up to an additional $100 a year to operate your refrigerator! The coils are located either on the bottom, behind the kick-plate, or on the back of the refrigerator. To clean the coils, first turn off the power to the fridge, then vacuum the coils using a vacuum cleaner brush attachment or if you do not have one, you can use a wand made from a cardboard gift wrap tube.
  • Water and Icemaker Filters: Be sure not to neglect your water and ice dispenser on your fridge, or the whole house water filtration system. Begin by replacing disposable water filters on your water filtration system and/or icemaker as recommended by the manufacturer (usually every six months). This will keep mold and mildew from growing in the filters and keep your water clean, fresh, and flowing freely.
  • Refrigerator Door Gasket: The flexible magnetic rubber gaskets on your refrigerator doors can and do wear out, reducing the efficiency of your refrigerator. To test the quality of your gaskets, start by inspecting the seals for cracks or tears, then clean with soap and water. Next, you will want to test how secure or tight the seal is. To do this close the door on a piece of paper, then gently pull it out. You should feel resistance if the seal is working properly. If the paper pulls out easily, you may need to realign the door or replace the gasket. If you do nothing, you are losing energy through the door via a loose seal that is allowing cool air to escape and forcing the motor to work that much harder to keep the fridge cool, again costing you hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Range Hood and Filter: By allowing grease to buildup on range hoods and over the stove microwave fans you will reduce their efficiency and shorten the life of the fans. In addition to cleaning the outer and inner surfaces of a range hood or microwave with a citrus-based cleaner, it’s even more important to remove and clean the range hood grease filter regularly by washing it in the sink in hot, soapy water or even running the filter through the dishwasher. If you can actually access the exhaust fan blades on the range hood, turn the circuit breaker off and clean the fan blades as well.
  • Bathroom Vent Fans: Bathroom ceiling vent fans collect quite a lot of dust, which can make them not only noisy but inefficient as well. It is important to regularly clean and maintain your bathroom vent fan. To do this, first remove the cover, vacuum out any dust, then spray any moving parts with silicone lubricant to get your fan quietly humming once again.
  • Bathroom Drains: There is nothing worse than standing in dirty shower water due to a slow drain to ruin a good shower. To solve this problem, remove the drain assembly and insert a drain stick in the drain pipe to pull out any hair or other clogs. Once you feel sure you have gotten the majority of clogs out, pour a little bleach down the drain, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse it with water to kill any mold or mildew lurking in the pipe. The same procedure can be used in your bathroom sink.
  • Showerheads: When the nozzles on a showerhead become clogged with mineral deposits, the spray can be reduced and start spraying in all different directions. To easily clean your showerhead, tie a plastic bag full of vinegar over the showerhead and allow it to soak overnight (or if you prefer, take the showerhead off and soak it in a pan full of vinegar), then turn on the hot water to rinse it out. If your showerhead has seen better days, and you don’t want to fool around with the vinegar trick, or you have used the vinegar trick multiple times before and the times has simply come to replace the showerhead, then be sure to investigate the water saving models.