Wouldn't it be nice if homes — houses and apartments and what you do when you're in them — came with an instruction manual? They don't, of course, which means that even though you're probably savvy on all sorts of home "rules," you might be missing some knowledge about certain issues and elements, too. Peruse this list of important home rules to see if there are any you didn't know you should be following.
1. You should be taking extension cords seriously
Extension cords are easily found at your hardware store and can help you bring power to all kinds of places and electronics in your home. But did you know there are rules to think about when you use them? From not overstretching them to making sure you have the right kind for the type of electronic you're powering, not using extension cords properly can lead to damage and fire hazard. We break down some don'ts in the post below:
2. You should be paying attention to freeze warnings
Whether you rent or own your home, freeze warnings during the winter can really wreak havoc to — and cost a lot of money to repair — your plumbing if you don't take steps to protect and insulate your pipes. The time to do this work is before it gets really cold, so consider doing an inventory of your exposed and vulnerable pipes this fall to do what you can to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
3. You should be periodically vacuuming your refrigerator coils
It's not a spot you usually take the vacuum to, but cleaning off your refrigerator coils periodically will help your whole fridge function better, stay safer and maybe even save you money on your energy bill.
The Kitchn has the info you need for this simple task → Why You Should Pull Your Fridge Away From the Wall Tonight
4. You should be storing your batteries properly
If you throw your batteries (particularly any 9-volt batteries) into your junk drawer to roll around and mingle loosely with other objects, you might consider another method of storage. Though the risk of fire, leaking and other damage is rare, it doesn't hurt to be as careful with these potent sources of energy as you can.
According to the Energizer website, proper battery storage is "keeping batteries in a cool, dry place at normal room temperature. It’s not necessary to store batteries in a refrigerator." And you shouldn't "...carry loose batteries in a pocket or purse with metal objects like coins, paper clips, etc. This can short-circuit the battery, leading to high heat or leakage. ... DON’T store batteries or battery-powered devices in hot places — elevated temperatures can lead to capacity loss, leakage or rupture. DON’T mix old and new batteries, or mix different types or makes of batteries. This can cause leakage or rupture, resulting in personal injury or property damage."
Need to toss some batteries? Here's how → How To Dispose of Toxic Items from Your Home.
5. You should be cleaning your dryer lint regularly
Lint can be a fire hazard, so keep that hazard as low as it can go by regularly cleaning your lint trap after each load, but also going beyond just the lint trap every now and then.
6. You should be storing cleaners safely for pets
If you don't have kids of the human variety, you might not have done much baby or toddler-proofing of your home. But just because your kids are of the furry variety doesn't mean that they don't need protection from their curiosity. Though cleaners and other toxic liquids don't seem appealing to you, you never know what Fido might feel like tasting if he comes across a new smell.
7. You should only be flushing water and wastes in your toilet
Feminine products, hairballs, floss, paper towels (for those days you run out of toilet paper) and other items just shouldn't be flushed down the toilet. They can clog your pipes and cause expensive damage. Though it can be a bit awkward, be sure that your party and house guests know the rules, too.
8. If you don't have a garbage disposal, you should be using food strainers
While we're talking about pipes, are you guilty of letting coffee grinds and other food particles slip down your kitchen sink drains when you don't have a garbage disposal? You could be creating a clogging disaster waiting to happen. Food goes in the trash or the compost unless you have a garbage disposal, so use sink strainers.