Fight Disorganized Crime
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Safety and Economy Tips for Your Home
the long warm fall the weatherman is promising, but keep in mind
that cooler weather is just around the corner!
a head start on home maintenance to avoid last minute rushes when
cold weather threatens.
our handy checklist.
Have the furnace serviced for the
fall heating season. You can do it yourself, or purchase the
services from your gas or oil heating supplier. Keep your
furnace functioning effectively to reduce your heating costs and
prevent safety problems from noxious fumes.
Open the furnace humidifier damper
on units with central air conditioning and clean it by vacuuming
Check to see if the pilot light is
on for furnaces that don't have the electric ignition. If
there is no flame, you might need to call the gas or oil company
to turn it back on. In other cases, make sure ventilation
is VERY good, then light a long match and turn on the
fuel. Use the match to quickly ignite the fuel to restart
the pilot. If it doesn't start, let the fumes dissipate
before trying it again.
and/or change your air filters. Clean filters will allow
air to circulate more freely and reduce smells in the
house. The reusable ones will also need a good
washing. Vacuum them first, then put them into the
dishwasher or soak in a hot solution of water and dishwashing
liquid. Swish them around to help loosen the soil.
Rinse well and air dry.
If you have an electronic air
cleaner, now is the time to give it a good wash. You can
put the cells into the dishwasher, or use something like a
window cleaner or "formula 409" to loosen the soil
before soaking them in a hot solution of dishwasher
detergent. Plunge them up and down in the solution, and
for stubborn bits, try one of those narrow brushes for cleaning
teapot spouts to get in between the fins.
Avoid touching the fine wire that is between the fins on one
side of the air cleaner cells. If these are broken, they
must be replaced or the unit will short out instead of zap the
solids out of the air. Also ensure that the other side
which has the narrow metal plates visible has no point at which
the plates are touching each other. Use long nosed pliers
to straighten any bent spots if required.
Rinse them well and air dry, or put them into the unit without
turning it on. If you have your fan on, the circulating
air will dry the cells in a few hours.
Note that every 5-10 years, you should send the cells out for an
"acid bath" to really clean the metal fins. Soil and
oxidation build up over time and will decrease the effectiveness
of your electronic air cleaner.
and Wood Stoves
you plan to cozy up to the fire in the fall, then clean the chimneys
on any wood-burning appliance as soon as the summer
ends. Gas or oil burning fireplaces and stoves may
require professional servicing to ensure the fuel flows properly and
to prevent fumes from entering the house.
Clean the fireplace and stock dry
wood to be ready for cozy evenings before the fire.
winter, the air is dryer than a desert in the average central heated
house. (That's why you have to mist your houseplants!)
Servicing your humidifier will depend on the type.
Drum and plate types
will need the reservoir, plates, and/or drum and wick filter cleaned
or replaced. Corroded and worn parts should be
The type with the
constant trickle of water over a large mesh filter will need to be
cleaned, as well as having the water supply checked to ensure it is
flowing properly. The large waffle-like filters need replacing
every 2-3 years. If it crumbles on you when you put it in to
soak with some vinegar, then it's time to replace it.
Expect rain! Clean
any debris from the gutters and eaves troughs and downspouts.
Reattach any loose sections and ensure water flows away from the
house. You may need to repeat this once the leaves have all
fallen too, as they always seem to end up in your
Now is also an excellent
time to install gutter covers to keep leaves and debris out!
Consider one of the new "gutter guard" systems available.
Care for your central
and window air conditioners now too. Vacuum and then wrap the
outdoor portion of air conditioning systems to keep them clean.
a head start on the big fall cleanup by
cleaning up spent plants, dead leaves and overgrown plants to remove
"hiding places" for night prowlers that may range from
dogs and raccoons to burglars! Make sure there are no hiding
places around entry doors and windows to foil the presence of animal
droppings AND break-in artists.
Ensure your garden and
house lighting is in good working condition - replace bulbs, clean
shades and covers. Replace those outdoor faucets with
freeze-proof ones too before it's too cold to work outside.
Get ready to drain your hoses and watering systems to prevent
breakage from freezes.
Wrap evergreens and
tender shrubs to prevent damage from any heavy accumulation of
falling leaves later in autumn.. As we progress into fall, more
wrapping will be required to prevent winter snow and wind/sun
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