5 Fall cleaning tips with surprising benefits
Being tidy is generally a good thing. It can save you money. Sometimes it can even save your life. You may not have time to do a deep clean this fall, but think about doing at least these five things. They may not be top of mind when it comes to cleaning, but they can have an outsize effect on your wallet and safety.
Being tidy can save you money and your life
- Use a soft brush attachment and vacuum your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you change the batteries. The dust, pollen, cooking haze, cobwebs, and other material that build up can hamper your alarms’ ability to detect and warn you of dangerous levels of smoke/carbon monoxide. The debris can also trigger false alarms when sensors misinterpret it as a dangerous level of gas or smoke. Unfortunately, some people remove the batteries out of exasperation, potentially making a very expensive and even deadly mistake.
- Clean your dryer’s lint trap, vent, and ductwork. Built-up lint cuts down on your dryer’s efficiency by reducing airflow and retaining moisture. That can really run up your electric bill. In fact, clean the lint filter after each use. According to the US Fire Administration, dryer fires cause about $35 million in property loss annually; failure to clean the lint filtration system is the leading cause of those fires. Learn more about preventing dryer fires from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (PDF 80.7kb).
- Clean your roof gutters or have them cleaned. You probably know that clogged gutters and blocked downspouts can cause rain and snowmelt to flood your cellar instead of flowing away from your house. But you may not know that leaves and other debris in your gutters are actually fire hazards that easily ignite even in cold weather; all it takes is an airborne ember from a heating system or outdoor fire. Since your roof and fascia are right next to that potential blaze, make cleaning out your gutters a priority, and avoid a potentially expensive or deadly fire.
- Clean your pantry and wipe it down to get rid of crumbs, dust, and spills; you don’t want to attract winter-hungry mice looking for an easy meal. They can contaminate your food, damage the structure of your house, and spread disease-causing bacteria. Besides the cost of removing the mice, you’d likely face the costs of replacing spoiled food and decontaminating your food areas.
- Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Chimney fires are very dangerous and can be caused by a buildup of creosote (created by burning wood and fossil fuels), organic debris such as leaves and twigs, and even old bird’s nests. Do it now. Don’t wait until winter when the cleaning and repair companies are busy – not only could you end up paying a premium but you may have to wait for months for any needed repairs.
Your life is likely pretty hectic right now. While you may not get to shampooing the carpet or vacuuming your upholstery this season, you can use these five safety-promoting and cost-saving cleaning tips to help you prioritize your plans.
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