5 home habits to break in 2016


Washer and dryer

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Often when we think of home improvement, we think of the large projects we’d like to tackle: remodel the kitchen, replace the furnace or fix the roof. However, with most things in life, the little things mean a lot. 

You can make small-scale home improvements in your everyday life that will increase the longevity of your home and appliances. To help you get started, here are five bad house habits to break:


1. Stop overloading the washer and dryer

It’s tempting to stuff one big load into the washer or dryer instead of breaking it into two loads. You’re saving money that way, right? Wrong. Overloading the washing machine and dryer makes the appliances work harder, and leaves dirt and soap residue because water can’t move freely through the clothes. Conventional wisdom says to fill the washing machine, whether front loading or top load, no more than three-quarters full.


2. Don't neglect the dryer vent

Sure, you’re vigilant about cleaning the lint screen inside the dryer, but that’s not enough. Unfortunately, the lint screen doesn’t catch it all and plenty gets stuck in the lint trap housing, dryer duct, dryer vent and even the dryer itself.

Basically, lint is everywhere and needs to be removed — it’s a fire hazard. Dryer vent cleaning can be a DIY job, but you’ll sleep better knowing it was cleaned professionally. Dryer vent cleaning typically costs around $100.


3. Quit abusing the garbage disposal

The name “garbage disposal” makes people think the little machine under the sink can handle all manner of food scraps. It can’t. Fibrous foods, such as celery, potato peels and asparagus, are a garbage disposal’s nightmare. Other items that wreak havoc and may cause a garbage disposal repair include eggshells, grease, pasta, rice and beans.


4. Avoid overusing the self-cleaning feature on your oven

A self-cleaning oven is a dandy appliance, but don’t be fooled by the convenience and use it solely to clean your oven. Temperatures rise as high as 800 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit during cleaning and electrical components on a self-cleaning oven often fail afterward. Use the self-clean option sparingly, and make sure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines.


5. Don't damage your hardwood flooring

Be cautious about the products — even those marketed as safe for wood — used to clean hardwood floors as you could do more harm than good. Some cleaners harm the finish on flooring and leave a film. Avoid using a wet mop or steam cleaners on hardwood floors because too much water causes wood to warp. Cleaners with abrasive particles can scratch wood. Instead, use the manufacturer-recommended cleaner and a micro-fiber mop to clean your wood floor.


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RELATED: Are you incorrectly cleaning your hardwood floors? Here’s what to avoid.

Author: This article was written by Oseye Boyd, Angie’s List.