Eight Things You Should Clean But Probably Don’t

Eight Things You Should Clean But Probably Don’t
 
we’re always on the lookout for safe, easy cleaning tips that preferably use natural ingredients. You may have noticed how much we love to recommend vinegar as a cleanser, for example. That got us thinking about the weird stuff that needs cleaning from time to time. If you’re a homeowner, you have a lot of appliances to maintain. But it’s not just what you can see that needs maintenance. To keep your appliances running efficiently, sometimes you have to clean the weird stuff. From the back of the refrigerator to the inside of the dryer, here are eight things to regularly clean or clear on many of your most frequently used appliances:

Air Conditioner: Clear the condensate drain line
Gunk, algae, and sometimes mold, can build up over time and clog a condenser unit’s drain line, causing condensation to back up into the drain pan and overflow. To avoid the damaging water leaks that could follow, check and clear the line once per year and/or once per month during heavy-use months. First, turn off the thermostat and flip the circuit breaker for the unit to Off. To clear the drain line you can either suction out clogs using a wet/dry vacuum at the line’s exit point outside, or apply a vinegar solution. To use vinegar, locate and remove the drain line cover and use a funnel to pour a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar in the line. Allow it to sit in the line for a half hour, then flush the line with water. You may need to repeat the process, particularly if you have never before cleared the line.

Dishwasher: Clean the door gasket and the inside
Use a damp towel to clean accumulated gunk and soap residue from the rubber gasket on the door to help keep your door seal tight. Next, run your empty dishwasher through a cycle with one cup of distilled vinegar to clean out old bits of food and keep it running fresh. Repeat this process every few months. Most dishwashers also have a Cancel or Drain button: push it after every load completes and this will clear all the water from the drain hose. This is a good habit to do as it removes any sitting water in the hose. It also allows you to test the relay and pump on a dishwasher. If you can hear your dishwasher drain, those components are working correctly.

Garbage disposal: Sanitize the drain
Two different methods both work well for this task. For the first method, add a half cup of baking soda into the disposal drain. Then add one cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain. The second method is to add ice until the drain is nearly filled up, then add a cup of salt. Turn on the cold water and let water flow into the disposal, then turn it on and run it until it breaks up all the ice.

Dryer: Clear the lint… from everywhere
It is important to clear the lint from more than just the lint trap. Over time, lint builds up in the vent hose leading from the back of the dryer, the exhaust hose leading to the outside, and from the internals of the dryer. Unplug the dryer, gently pull it out from the wall, and disconnect it from exhaust vent. Use a screwdriver to remove the back panel and use a vacuum’s wand attachment to clear lint from around the drum and other internal areas. Replace the panel and remove any lint caught in the vent hose using a dryer vent duct brush. Next, plug the dryer back in and turn it on. Go outside to where the exhaust hose exits and clear any remaining obstructions.

 
Refrigerator: Clean the coils and the backside
When dust builds up on the coils, it can cause your refrigerator to run inefficiently. At least once per year, pull out your fridge, unplug it, and vacuum the coils with a brush attachment. Sometimes the coils are housed behind a grille so have a screwdriver handy to remove it. While the fridge is out from the wall, use a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to clean the back side, which will help cut down on dirty surfaces where dust likes to accumulate. (As with cleaning your dishwasher door gasket, you can also use a damp towel to wipe down your refrigerator door gasket, which helps the fridge door seal work better, too.)

Oven/Range hood:  Degrease the exterior and clean the filter
Gross, but necessary, as an oven or range hood builds up grease from cooling oils very quickly. Don’t let it build up past the point where a solution of dish soap and your own elbow grease won’t take care of this sticky problem. Once you tackle the outside, remove the filter under the hood and soak it in a tub of hot water and dish soap for at least 20 minutes, then use a sponge to remove any remaining debris, and rinse thoroughly. When the filter is dry, insert it back into place.

Trash Compactor: Disinfect the interior
Bacteria from food and garbage can quickly find a nice home for growing inside a trash compactor. Unplug your compactor and use a solution of warm water and dish soap to clean the inside, then thoroughly wipe dry. To control other odors, be sure to replace the charcoal air filter at least once per year.

Washer: Clean the hard water stains
Fill up your machine on the hot water cycle. Before it starts, add a solution of two cups of distilled vinegar and one cup of baking soda and let the treated water sit for at least a half hour. Turn the machine back on and let it run through cycle. When the washer finishes cycling, use a rag soaked in vinegar solution to easily wash off any remaining hard water stains and any soap residue from inside the washer. You may want to run one more clear water cycle before adding a load of laundry.

Before you attempt any of these DIY cleaning tasks, remember to unplug electrical devices and turn off water at the source. And always refer to your owner’s manual for each appliance before you begin.
 

 

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KEEP YOUR CAR RUNNING LONGER WITH THESE 5 PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE TIPS

Anyone can consider an automobile as an important investment – one that’s expected to stand the test of time as it serves to transport people from point A to point B. However, cars are as perishable as they can get – they’re meant to be replaced after years of constant usage, and wear and tear. If you’re the type who would stick with your old faithful through thick and thin, you’re expected to deal with numerous repairs as you adhere to a fixed maintenance schedule.

Now, if you wish to make your car useful for longer, you must practice ways on how to prolong its life. Check out these five tried and tested ways to lengthen your car’s lifespan, and you won’t have to worry about purchasing a replacement vehicle anytime soon.

  1. Don’t miss your scheduled car service

Have your car checked regularly to ensure that even the smallest ailments can be dealt with preventively. After all, there’s nothing like dealing with the problem immediately before it happens. It’s even more economical to take on a preventive approach to car maintenance than wait for greater damages to happen, which can reduce your car’s lifespan considerably. This means going in for your oil change when it tells you to, not waiting a couple thousand more miles just because it feels like you just got one!

  1. Keep your fluids in check

Check the condition of your car’s fluids so that you won’t expose it to greater chances of damage. Cars typically have transparent vessels for fluid storage, so it should be relatively easy to check whether your car’s fluids are at their right levels. Also, make it a point to conduct oil change at least every 3,000 miles or three months, so you can provide greater protection to your engine. Do the same for all other fluids as well, though make sure to consult your owner’s manual or a professional technician on when to replenish them. Technicians usually check this when you go in for your oil change…we’re serious about your oil changes!

  1. Take good care of your tires

Your tires are integral to your car’s overall operation. For that, make sure to take good care of your tires. Check if your tires are regularly inflated to the right pressure and rotated accordingly to ensure smooth and worry-free drives. Otherwise, you’d expose your car to unwanted accidents due to tire blowouts or worse, crashes.

  1. Go for smooth engine startups

Don’t just step on the gas the moment your engine hums after startup. Allow your car to reach suitable operating temperature after you start your engine. By letting your engine heat up after starting, you’re ensuring that the oil becomes hotter and thinner. With that, your engine won’t have to push itself too much, which in turn would ensure lesser chances of damage to your car’s other components.

  1. Replace your air filter

Think of having a dirty air filter as a car with polluted lungs. To avoid having your car choke on performance, make sure to have your air filter replaced with a new one once it accumulates much dirt. You don’t need much tools or specialization to have your air filter replaced. All you need to do is to consult your owner’s manual, and you don’t even need to worry about purchasing a replacement from any auto parts store since air filters are pretty much generic in design.

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Finding Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance

 

Chances are you’ve heard about full coverage car insurance, but you might not be fully aware of what it actually covers or where you can find it. Here’s what you should know before deciding whether it’s right for you.

What is full coverage insurance?

Full coverage car insurance sounds great, but the term is a bit misleading. “Full coverage” generally refers to policies that include collision and comprehensive insurance — which actually cover very specific risks — in addition to liability insurance.

What does full coverage car insurance actually cover?

Many states mandate that drivers buy only a small amount of auto liability insurance. If you cause a crash, this coverage helps pay for the treatment of other people’s injuries and repairs to their property. But liability insurance won’t pay to repair your vehicle or cover incidents that don’t involve crashing into other vehicles or pedestrians. Collision and comprehensive insurance fill these gaps:

  • Collision coverage pays for repairs to your car if you cause a crash with another vehicle or run into an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged by a covered cause, such as an animal collision, weather, a falling object, fire or vandalism.
Find the cheapest car insurance for you

How much is full coverage car insurance?

Comprehensive and collision coverage give you much better insurance protection, but they also mean higher rates.

To get an idea of how much higher, Youautomotive sampled rates for liability-only policies and full coverage auto policies in three states: California, New Jersey, and Ohio.

 The price of full coverage car insurance isn’t chump change:

  • Adding it raises Ohio car insurance rates by $362 per year — and that was the most affordable state we tested.
  • It raises New Jersey car insurance rates by $606.

But just one comprehensive or collision claim can make the cost worth it. Replacing a stolen car or repairing your vehicle after a crash could mean paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket if you don’t have the right insurance.

Where to buy full coverage car insurance

Full coverage is commonly available from any auto insurance company. We looked at average prices from the four largest car insurers for a policy that includes liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and other state-required coverages where needed. State Farm was the cheapest option, on average.

Who needs full coverage car insurance?

If you finance your vehicle, your lender might require you to buy full coverage. Aside from that, comprehensive and collision are optional, although some insurers don’t let you add one without the other.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are particularly sound investments if:

  • You have a new or expensive car.
  • You regularly commute in heavy traffic.
  • You live in a place with extreme weather, high car theft rates or a high risk of animal collisions.

However, the older your vehicle and the lower its value, the less benefit there is to have full coverage. Imagine it costs you $600 per year to add comprehensive and collision and you have a $1,000 deductible, which is the amount your insurer will subtract from a claim payment. If your car is worth only $2,000, the net value of a claim check would be $1,000 at most — so if you carry full coverage for more than a year, you won’t be able to get back more than what you paid. Checking your car’s current value at the National Automobile Dealers Association‘s website can help you decide whether full coverage makes sense.

Even with full coverage, there are other policy options you might need. For example, uninsured motorist protection, towing and labor service, and medical payments insurance all provide coverage that collision and comprehensive won’t.

How will various policy changes affect your rates? You can get insurance quotes using the Youautomotive tool and compare estimates to see for yourself.

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