Here are a few simple home improvement tasks that can be done on an August weekend. You’ll need some basic tools such as a basic toolkit, a vacuum, and some mineral oil for lubrication. Some items apply to both houses and apartments.
The garage door opener is a great place to start. Quiet a noisy garage door by lubricating the chain and all the hinges. You can also lubricate the extension spring so there is less friction when it tightens. This will make it easier for the motor to raise and lower the door. The small wheels in the tracks that guide the door can be replaced easily with a premium synthetic roller wheel. These are made from a flexible material and have quality bearings that make them almost silent. Check the side and bottom seals for a good, tight fit that will save energy in the winter.
Clean lint from in and around the dryer. About 25% of dryer fires are caused by lint build-up that is ignited by the heat from the gas or electric elements. After each use, clean the lint trap at the front of the machine. This will help speed clothes drying and increase energy efficiency. However, this filter is only intended to catch most, not all, of the lint from clothes. The rest is carried through the machine to where it can build-up in the vent path and the exhaust hose. Pull the dryer out from the wall and remove the hose. Use the vacuum wand to reach inside the dryer to remove lint. The best exhaust hose is a solid metal duct or a flexible metal duct. These are fire resistant and allow lint to travel freely to the outside. Replace the plastic duct with one of these, if necessary. Have the vent hose to the outside professionally cleaned every two years.
Clean the kitchen exhaust fan filter in the dishwasher. Some exhaust fans have a charcoal filter to remove odours and particulates. This should be replaced every six months. The hood can be cleaned with a quality degreaser such as 409 or Fantastic but you can also use hot water with dish detergent and some bleach. It’s easier to clean them before they’re dirty rather than try to clean one that has been neglected. If it’s particularly dirty, the best solution is to replace it rather than try to clean it.
Clean the refrigerator, freezer coils, and drip trays. A good vacuum is helpful to clean the mechanical parts underneath. Roll it out from the wall, clean around the fridge and the floor. Watch for grease from the motor that might have dropped onto the floor. You’ll probably see a motor and some coils that are clogged with dust. Vacuum everything thoroughly. If you have an icemaker, replace the plastic hose that connects to the water supply with a braided metal hose. Replace the ice-maker water filter.
Check dishwasher for leaks by removing the access panel at the front under the door. It is held on by screws that are easy to find. Using a flashlight, inspect the space under the dishwasher for stains caused by leaking water. There are two connectors for water: in and out. Both should be dry. You can try tightening the connectors but it’s much better to replace them with a braided steel hose. The hose kit will have the new connectors and washers in the box. This will prevent catastrophic water leaks and a potential insurance claim.
Continuing with the theme of leaks and gaskets, check under the kitchen and bathroom sinks for water stains. Do all your taps shut off completely? A dripping faucet can add to your hot water bill. Look at the base of toilets for obvious stains from leaks or discoloured vinyl flooring, which indicates a damp problem. Unless you have experience with plumbing, it might be a good idea to call a plumber. He can show you what the problem is, take care of it, and provide a warranty if a leak should develop in the future.
Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Sandy Stinson, your local Lake Cowichan real estate agent, today.