Hosting family and friends make the holidays a special time of year, but having extra people staying in your home can put a strain on your home’s systems and appliances. Check out these five ways to avoid a holiday home breakdown:
1. Run your oven through its self-cleaning cycle long before the guests arrive.
You’ll want your oven in top shape for cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, or for keeping your Chanukah latkes warm (especially if you’ve got the kind of family members who will judge you based on the cleanliness of your oven).
Running the self-cleaning cycle before the big day also helps reduce the risk of kitchen fires.
Doing this chore early allows time for that funky oven self-cleaning smell to dissipate before your houseguests arrive.
Warning: If you have pet birds, put off using the self-cleaning cycle unless it’s warm enough to put their cage outdoors. The fumes created by the cycle can make them ill or even kill them.
2. Treat your garbage disposal right.
Holiday meal preparation puts your garbage disposal through a real workout. Some disposals are better than others at handling hard or fibrous foods. It can’t hurt to be extra careful with your disposal during the holidays.
•Feed vegetable peels into the disposal in small amounts with the water running.
•Avoid grinding fibrous foods like celery, corn husks, artichokes and pulpy insides of pumpkins or squash.
•Grind bones, fruit pits and other hard materials only if your disposal is designed to handle those kinds of foods. Even then, do a small amount at a time.
3. Protect yourself from washing machine hose problems. Damaged or ill-fitting hoses can lead to floods.
Inspect the hoses that connect your washing machine to the hot and cold water spigots in your laundry room. Look for blisters or cracks. If you see any, replace the hoses before using your washing machine again.
Better yet, upgrade to stainless steel hoses so you don’t have to worry that your rubber hoses will spring a leak and flood your home.
4. Clean the lint out of your dryer vent.
Worst case scenario: The lint in your dryer vent causes a fire. Best case scenario: The lint in your dryer vent causes your dryer work inefficiently.
You can have the dryer vent professionally cleaned or, do it yourself.
Gardus makes a vent-cleaning tool that attaches to a cordless drill. If you take on this task yourself, follow the product’s directions carefully. If the vent brush breaks off inside your vent, you could end up having to cut through the ducts to get it out, or pay a professional duct cleaning company to remove it.
5. Get your septic tank inspected and pumped, if needed.
Getting your septic tank inspected and pumped protects the system and extends its life span. When solids build up, they can move into the drain field, which puts a strain your system.
Got guests visiting from the city? They may not know that flushing anything unnatural (other than toilet paper) down the drain can harm your system.