- Clean refrigerator condenser coils or fans Just like changing the oil in your car, the best approach to maintaining your appliances is by keeping a schedule. The coils or fans beneath your refrigerator aren't something you probably look at often. But they can get covered in household lint and dirt, which will shorten the life of your unit. We recommend cleaning them twice a year (mark it on your calendar!) or, if you're a pet owner, check the coils every couple months--all that fur your dog loses in the spring will end up clinging to your refrigerator coils. Be sure to check your manual on the best way to clean your refrigerator.
- Avoid your oven's self-clean feature Many modern ovens offer what seems like a saving grace--a "self-clean" feature. Imagine never again having to reach into the depths of a grease splattered oven. The catch? This popular function can also damage your oven or blow fuses. Plus it'll probably set off your smoke detector in the process. Our best advice? Baking soda and vinegar--consider it today's arm workout and scrub.
- Rinse dishwasher filters Many modern dishwashers in the USA crush food debris before draining them to avoid clogging your fixtures. This comes at the cost of being much louder than filter-based dishwashers. If your dishwasher has a filter ideally you should clean it at least as often your refrigerator, but if you start to notice a smell from the washer when it's clean you know it's time to rinse out the filter.
- Empty your dryer lint trap after each use When your dryer can't move air efficiently it can't dry efficiently. Running a dryer with a full lint trap places undue stress on the dryer, shortening its lifespan. The best way to remember this one is to make a habit out of cleaning it immediately when you open the dryer door. If you plan to clean the lint trap after you fold your clothes you may forget as you leave to put away your clothes.
- Don't overload your washing machine We've all had nightmares of coming home to a soapy lake in our basement. Overfilling your washing machine usually won't cause it to overflow. But it can damage or break the machine. Mind the size of your load when you fill the machine and save those king sized comforters for the laundromat. A good rule of thumb for load sizes: a small load fills a 1/3 of the machine, medium fills 1/2, and a large load fills 3/4.Keep these five cleaning tips in mind and you could end up saving hundreds on your home appliances.
Your own gut may be a great check when buying a house. You know if a deal feels right for you or not. Partner with a licensed realtor who holds herself to the highest ethical standards and you may never have to worry about being part of a kickback or a mortgage fraud scheme. You may get the best prices on each part of the home buying and home owning process.
Empower yourself when buying a house
That includes getting the best deal on your closing costs, mortgage insurance rates, property appraisal costs, title fees, homeowner's insurance rates and mortgage fees. However, unless you live in the house that you buy with this realtor until you decide not to own a house anymore, benefits of working with the above the board realtor will run out.
To truly gain while buying a house, you need to trust yourself. You need to learn the ins and outs of the mortgage process. This doesn't mean that you need to know as much as a real estate with an active license. But, to protect yourself against mortgage fraud and other disadvantages, it does mean that you should know about mortgage elements like:
- Real estate agent commissions and fees, including the average and competitive realtor commissions in areas that you are looking for a house in
- Homeowner's association fees and costs that go to embezzlers (This can happen if homeowner's association board members aren't keeping a watchful eye on balance sheets, payments and bank records.)
- Down payments (In addition to knowing what the average down payment percentage is, you should know how down payments will impact your monthly mortgage installments.)
- Home inspection fees (Again, find out what the average rate for home inspection fees are in the area where you want to buy a house.)
- Mortgage insurance costs (This costs is separate from homeowner's insurance.)
- Insurance to protect your house and land, including financial protection against natural and human caused damages.
- Fees associated with the mortgage application itself (Get clear about costs that you are responsible for paying that you won't be reimbursed.)
- Values of houses in the area that you want to move into (It doesn't hurt to run comparables on houses in the area yourself.)
Know what you're getting into when buying a house
These additional costs may not be directly associated with buying a house, but they will impact your ability to make your monthly mortgage payments. At the top of the list are utility costs. Electricity and running water aren't the only utilities you may be responsible for after you buy a house. Other utility and home related costs include sewage and trash pickup fees.
After you buy a house, you may also be required to pay for gas, telephone services, oil,cable television and Internet services. You'll also have to pay to maintain your home. Maintenance costs cover repairing appliances like the refrigerator,washing machine or air conditioner.
Make sure that you can pay these costs comfortably before you take on the responsibility of owning a house. It can keep you from falling behind in your mortgage payments. It can help you to sleep good at night.
Beautiful, clean carpets bring out the best in your entire house. They are the foundation of what you feel about your home. Rare is the house that is filled with exquisite furniture and decor and dirty carpet. It may be a reason why so many people take their shoes off before they enter a relative's, neighbor's or friend's house.
How you can make carpets last longer
This shoe-less habit is one of the major ways to make carpets last longer. Even if you haven't stepped in mud or dirt, you carry dust and debris on the bottoms of your shoes. Live in cities like Atlanta, Georgia, places where pollen accumulates during early spring and you'll see how much you carry into your house right from the bottoms of your shoes.
Teach everyone who lives in your home to take their shoes off before they enter. You can also make carpets last longer if you:
- Vacuum carpets once a week. Also, vacuum carpets after you notice spills and stains. Leaving stains on carpets could cause the stains to spread or deepen. You can also try sprinkling baking soda on carpets before you vacuum them.
- Dab at stains instead of scrubbing them. Clean stains off of carpet fibers so the stains don't widen.
- Sprinkle carpet cleaners across the floor before you vacuum. Use dry carpet cleaners, as moisture can damage vacuum cleaners. Too much moisture can also cause carpets to stink.
- Apply professional scrubbers to the floor twice a month. There are floor scrubbers that you can buy at the grocery store. These small devices can help carpets last longer. Cleaners that you can rent often incorporate water into the cleaning process. Equipment that you buy often incorporates powdery or foam cleaners.
- Dry carpet should one or more rooms at your home get flooded. Depending on how much damage the excessive water does to carpets, you may have to replace a portion or all of the carpet. You'll know if you need to replace carpet after you dry and clean it. Plan on reaching out to a carpet company should mildew odors and stains continue following a flood.
- Place carpet rollers in front of doors. This helps to catch shoe stains before people take their shoes off.
- Take off or shake out clothes after you work in the yard or on a car before you enter your home.
- Open windows when you shampoo carpets to allow carpets to dry thoroughly.
Road to a beautiful, carpeted home
Just as the cement foundation that holds your entire house up is key to the look and feel of your house, carpets that line your floors also play a foundational role. To keep this carpeted foundation clean takes work and commitment.
It also takes a sharp eye. You don't have to take action each time you spot dirt or stains on your carpet. But, you do have to avoid giving into the temptation hide carpet stains and dirt. Payoff includes less allergens, insects and viruses. Make carpets last longer and you'll also gain a beautiful home.
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