GUEST BLOGGER: KATHY RIGGS
For some, the winter months seem to encourage a type of human hibernation and subsequent lack of energy for taking care of even simple indoor home maintenance tasks or repairs. However, taking time to address a few low-cost tasks now may prevent having to pay for more expensive repair costs down the line. Below are suggestions for your to-do list, written in part, by writer Jeanne Huber.
-Do away with squeaky door hinges. Whether simply carrying a can of lubricant like WD-40® from hinge to hinge throughout the house or powdered graphite, taking care of squeaks is simple and satisfying as the results are nearly instantaneous. If using an oil-type lubricant (like WD-40), be sure to also carry a damp paper towel or rag to wipe up any drips.
-Replace batteries for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. While batteries are seen as somewhat expensive, the peace of mind from taking care of this routine task is well-worth a few trips up and down the ladder. It can be beneficial to schedule this task on your calendar on a day that’s easy to remember year after year- your birthday, New Year’s Eve, or another easy-to-remember date.
-Test GFCI outlets. Building codes require these outlets around areas in the home that are potentially wet (e.g. bathrooms and kitchens). Testing these outlets to insure they “trip” appropriately can save you or a loved one from accidental electrocution.
-Clean out clothes dryer vent. While a bit more labor intensive, vacuuming the lint out of the back of the dryer will not only help the dryer work more efficiently but also help avoid house fires caused by lint-clogged dryer vents. You will need to disconnect the vent pipe from the dryer to accomplish this task.
-Touch up marks and scrapes on walls/floors. Depending on how long it has been since you last painted various rooms in your home, chances are there are a few nicks and scrapes that have accumulated over time. If you have a container of left-over paint, as many homeowners do, grab a small brush and do a walk-through to identify and cover the damaged spots. Many marks can simply be erased as well.
-Condition wood cabinets. It doesn’t matter if you use a wood-burning stove to heat your home, natural gas or electricity, circulated warm air will dry out wood finishes. Taking time at least once during the colder months to condition your wood cabinets, cupboards, railings, etc. will go a long way in extending their shine and overall life. Unless they are in need of removing soil or grease, most wood will do well with an application of a 2-in-1 product that both cleans and conditions—look for a product with orange oil and follow the manufacturer instructions.
-Clean and vent high-humidity areas. With windows closed and in some cases, no fans to exhaust excess moisture, bathrooms become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. If you find that towels and washcloths remain damp overnight, you may need to install a fan and/or an exhaust vent that sucks air to the outside. If this is not an option financially, use bleach and anti-bacterial cleaners to remove any current mildew. Then, consider using a small portable oscillating fan to move damp air out of the bathroom. Other options may include rotating towels more often or have hooks outside of the bathroom to hang damp towels.
For more information on simple home repair jobs that can be completed this winter, please see
Kathleen Riggs is the Utah State University Extension Professor for Iron County. Questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435-586-8132.
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