11 Home Maintenance Myths You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
by Matt Hermes
on Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 at 1:45pm.
Owning a home involves work. You know there are home maintenance tasks to keep up on, but are you doing these tasks correctly or as often as you should? We busted 11 home maintenance myths you'll wish you would have known about sooner.
Save Energy by Turning the Air Conditioner Off When You’re Not Home
You may think you’re saving on energy costs if you turn your air conditioner off when you leave the house in the morning, but this isn’t the best way to save money. “The problem here is that when you come back home and turn your system back on, your AC unit will have to work overtime to cool your house back down, negating any energy savings you’ve accrued,” according to National Property Inspectors. Instead, just adjust your thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer when you leave home (and don’t miss these other air conditioner maintenance tips).
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Gutters Only Need to be Cleaned in the Fall
If you think you only need to clean your gutters in the fall, think again. Gutters can get clogged with debris that prevents them from directing the flow of rainwater away from your home any time of year, resulting in damage to your home’s interior and exterior. “Clogged gutters can also become attractive homes to insects, rodents and mold. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your gutters cleaned in both the summer and fall,” according to Las Vegas company, First Quality Roofing and Insulation.
More Insulation is Better
Adding insulation is a home maintenance task many homeowners will have to tackle at some point. However, more isn’t always better. “While you want enough insulation to prevent heat escaping into the attic, going overboard can actually cause problems,” according to National Property Inspectors. “For instance, overloading your attic with insulation can cause the lower layers to compress, which diminishes its effectiveness. You can also end up blocking your eave or soffit ventilation, leading to heat or moisture buildup and mold problems.”
The Test Button is the Best Way to Check Your Smoke Alarm
By pressing the test button on your home’s smoke alarm, what you’re really doing is testing whether the sound is functioning properly, according to Security First Insurance. Instead, to properly test your smoke alarm, place a newly burned out match under the device. The smoke should cause the alarm to sound. Experts suggest you test your smoke alarm at least once in the spring and once in the fall.
If Your Carpet Feels Dry, It’s Safe
The bad news is, even if your carpet feels dry after having a water incident, that doesn’t mean it’s completely dry. “That’s because standing water can seep beyond the carpet and underlay, and into the subfloor,” according to People’s Trust Insurance Company. “Mold can grow in wood and concrete subfloor environments, and letting it linger can lead to serious and expensive issues.”
LULUART/SHUTTERSTOCKhe Bathroom Exhaust Fan is Maintenance-Free
You may think you can save money on furnace filters by replacing them just once a season, but actually your filter should be replaced more often. “If you live in a dry, dusty environment, chances are you’ll need to replace them about once a month. If you live in an area that’s more humid and features lush landscaping, you’ll be able to get away with replacement every three months or so,” according to National Property Inspectors.
Tip: If you can’t see a light shining through your furnace filter, it’s time to replace it.
If Your Home Contains Asbestos, It Must Be Removed
Many homes contain asbestos because it was widely used in building materials up until it was banned in 1978. However, if you do have asbestos in your home, you may not have to worry about removing it. According to the EPA, asbestos only poses a health risk when the material is friable (crumbled or pulverized) and fibers can be released. “If building materials in your home aren’t damaged and won’t be disturbed, you do not need to have your home tested for asbestos. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone,” the EPA says.
Your Dishwasher Cleans Itself
It may seem like since your dishwasher cleans all your dishes it is self-cleaning, but that isn’t the case. To keep it running well and smelling fresh, you should periodically clean the dishwasher. Remove any debris from the tub and filter to make sure it drains properly. Then, place a couple cups of vinegar in a clean bowl near the center of the bottom rack and run the dishwasher on a normal cycle without detergent. This will help sanitize and deodorize the washer. If your dishwasher still has a funky smell, it might be time to clean out your filter.