Household Chores: Do I Really Need to…?

Home & Family, Household DIY Tips
on October 13, 2014
Household Chores

You do the laundry and the dishes as needed. You may even have a regular list of spring- cleaning chores. But what about those random domestic duties that you’re not really sure you need to do, or how often?

Here are some tips:

Vacuum the coils on my refrigerator?

Yes, aim for once a year.

Vacuuming removes dust (and pet fur) that may be clogging the condenser coils and preventing them from releasing heat efficiently, says John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives for the National Safety Council. “Cleaning the coils makes your fridge operate better,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily make it safer.”

Wash my washing machine?

It might sound counterintuitive, but yes.

Detergent residue can build up inside the machine. Every so often, run a cycle with hot water and add bleach or white vinegar. Or use a prepackaged washing machine cleaner product.

Change the air filters in my house on a regular basis?


Dust can build up, reducing the air quality. Change them several times a year— perhaps more often if you have pets or allergies.


Clean out the lint filter on my dryer every time I use it?

It’s a good idea.

Getting rid of the lint will help your machine dry clothes more efficiently, which saves energy. Even more importantly, be sure to periodically clean out the hose that connects the dryer to the house: lint build-up is a fire hazard, Ulcyzki says. Disconnect the hose and vacuum or rinse it out, then reconnect it.

Change the batteries in my smoke alarms?


Smoke alarms powered by disposable nine-volt batteries need to be changed
at least once at year. If your alarm is connected to your home’s electrical system, the backup battery also needs to be replaced annually. The U.S. Fire Admini- stration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.

A fall inspection of my heating/ AC system?

You should do that, too.

Scheduling a checkup of your home’s heating system can save you money on fuel and extend the life of your furnace. More importantly, it can alert you to possible problems with your unit before it goes cold on a winter day.

Clean my gutters in the fall?


The weight of water, twigs and debris can loosen gutters and cause them to pull away from
the house. Make sure gutters are debris-free and ready to direct water away from your home before leaves start to fall. In winter, clogged gutters can freeze and force water into your home, causing costly damage.