By Laura Foster-Bobroff, Networx

Maintaining a home can be time consuming, but it is ultimately more efficient than making repairs. Problems always crop up, but with a regular preventative maintenance routine, expensive repairs can be avoided in these commonly overlooked areas:




Homeowners forget appliances are an integral part of the home, but neglected appliances can lead to problems like leaks, poor energy efficiency and in extreme cases, cause fire hazards.


?  Dryers should be properly serviced on a regular basis. Clean lint from the dryer after each load to minimize clogging the vent pipe. Clean and/or replace the vent pipe on an annual basis as well. Once a month, use a vent brush to reach beyond the lint trap where lint will collect. Keeping vents clear will make clothes dry faster, as blocked vents do not allow humidity to escape.


?  Dishwashers should be regularly cleaned by running them through a high temp cycle using one of several products available to eliminate hard-water buildup. Cloudy glasses despite the use of a rinse agent are a sure giveaway that it’s time to do this!


?  Refrigerators have wheels for a reason. Move them out from the wall at least once every six months and vacuum the floor under them.  Then, using a narrow-tipped accessory, remove dust and dirt in cracks and around coils. Dirt, dust and pet hair insulates coils causing the compressor to work overtime to maintain the temperature. Keeping the refrigerator clean will save money and extend the life of the appliance.      


?  Vents and Filters: Twice a year, clean venting fans in bathrooms, where dirt and bugs accumulate. Clean bathroom fans will do a better job of removing humidity and reduce the risk of mold in shower areas. Remove filters from stove vents and soak them in a solution of vinegar and baking soda to dissolve grease. A plugged-up range hood will do nothing to eliminate cooking odors! Air conditioners also need to have filters changed and/or cleaned each year, removing allergens and dirt and keeping them at peak performance.   


Doors and Windows


Squeaky doors? Stuck windows? Petroleum jelly is a cheap lubricant and works miracles.  Lubricate hinge pins to eliminate squeaking. Coating deadbolts lightly will make them slide smoothly past the strike plate. For slider doors and windows (especially those with old-fashioned storms), vacuum and clean out dirt from tracks, then lubricate so they slide side-to-side or up-and-down with ease. Door locks can be lubricated with graphite "grease" (a non-melting friction enhancer). Squirted into locks, it will stop the fight of turning the key in the door.