for Cold Climate Housing and much more

Weekly Maintenance for your Home

December – Week 48

Just like preventative maintenance on your car, if you take care of a few small items around the house every week, you can avoid many emergency breakdowns and expensive repairs.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS can stop a minor problem from becoming a major one, although you should never plan on fighting any large fire with a fire extinguisher. In less than a minute, they have either done their job, or run out of stuff. Because at best they only have enough charge to spray for about 30 seconds, you need your fire extinguishers to be fully charged and ready to go all the time. They can loose their charge over time just sitting on the wall. Take a minute to check if the charging gauge shows it is in good shape, or verify when was the last time you had maintenance done on them by a fire extinguisher company. Check the SEARCH tab above for lots of information on "Fire Extinguishers".

YES, IT IS FILTER TIME AGAIN. Seriously, there are good health and economic reasons to check all your filters regularly.

FORCED AIR FURNACES use a cheap pre-filter to protect the fan motor. It actually takes a long time for this filter to clog up so much that it affects the performance of your furnace, but then again, it doesn't really filter the air at all. All this metal or fibreglass filter does is protect the fan motor from fuzz balls. Nothing else. If you have installed a better filter, then you are actually removing some of the pollutants from the air. But with the better filters, you can quickly clog them up enough to slow down the air moving through the heat exchanger. When the airflow slows down, the furnace has to run longer to heat the house, and more heat is wasted up the chimney. In the extreme, if the filter is completely blocked up, you could overheat your fire chamber and cause damage to the furnace itself. Check your furnace filter once a month, whether it is washable or disposable. After a while you will discover what the maintenance cycle is that fits your house and your lifestyle. A no smoking, no animals and just two people family don't need to attend to the filters nearly as much as a smoking family with four kids, two cats and a dog. (The gold fish has no affect on furnace filters. Just in case you were wondering.)

If you are maintaining an electronic air cleaner, the way you clean it and the degreaser you use is critical. Click on this link for "Cleaning Instructions" for help in keeping your electronic air cleaner the best furnace filter available.

AIR EXCHANGERS are more and more common, and they have filters as well. One of the filters is used to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the house. It will need more maintenance in the spring when pollen and other particles are floating around outdoors, but could collect a lot of insects in the fall. Don't forget to check the need for cleaning the heat exchanger core while you are looking at the filters. Click here for details on "HRV Maintenance".

KITCHEN RANGE HOOD filters need attention as well, to avoid collecting organic grease that will definitely turn rancid. Here again, check your filters every month and learn what the appropriate maintenance schedule is for your house. If you always cook with steam you will need to clean your range hood far less than someone who cooks primarily with oils and deep fat frying. Although electronic air cleaners may not be cleaned in the dishwasher without risking damage, the range hood filter can be clean in the dishwasher — so you have little excuse to not keep it as spotless as the rest of your stove top.

Click here for more information on "Filters" or check out Filters in the SEARCH tab above.