Homes: Using lawn-mowing time elsewhere

Proper maintenance of your AC unit helps you save money on your monthly energy bill by reducing its energy needs

  • Aug. 6, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Air conditioners should be maintained regularly.

With lawn watering currently banned in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, this summer is the perfect time to consider home maintenance projects that are not mowing the lawn.

While we are currently embroiled in the heart of the busiest season for household fans, air conditioners and, other summer-oriented household appliances, upkeep or maintenance — even hanging a clothesline — can save energy and money.

Proper minimal maintenance of household fans, also have health benefits.

With summer’s heat, it’s common to see numerous fans in area homes — be the fans built-in or portable.

All types of household fans need occasional cleaning because dirt and dust accumulates on the air blades. Then, when the fan’s turned on, its air blades redistribute the dirt back around the room. This is not only unhealthy, but it clogs air filters in air conditioners and central air systems.

Keeping up with a monthly cleaning, using proper tools, can make fan maintenance easy and fast.

Cleaning ceiling and other portable fans with a damp rag can wipe away grime and dust that builds up on air blades. Using a ceiling fan duster can help with higher ceiling fans.

Be careful not to use ammonia or bleach-based cleaners (any heavy cleaner, actually) as they can damage the finish of a fan’s blades and damage its appearance as well.

Checking the AC couldn’t hurt at this time either. It’s never a bad time to remove AC filters for cleaning.

But if you have central air-conditioning, and haven’t already done so this season, considering a professional servicing for you system can find energy efficiencies as well as developing problems.

Experts say maintaining your home’s central air conditioning system can be similar to maintaining your car. As is often the case with a car, sometimes you don’t understand how poorly your system works until it breaks down at the worst possible time, or until you get it tuned up.

Experts recommend homeowners schedule a routine maintenance appointment with a local company to keep your system performing at its peak level.

Plus, proper maintenance of your AC unit helps you save money on your monthly energy bill by reducing its energy needs.

And installing a backyard clothesline to dry laundry in the summer’s sun helps reduce dryer use, which reduces household heat while also you saving you energy-bill money. And the smell of air-dried sheets can’t be beat, right?

How about cleaning that suddenly overused barbecue or grill to lengthen its life?

Charcoal grills need to have ash removed and have residue wiped out.

Cleaning it inside and out with hot soapy water and a sponge removes most of the residue. Don’t use the grill until it’s completely dry.

A gas grill, can be cleaned by turning up the heat to high and leaving the grill cooking for 30 minutes with its lid closed.

After the grill cools, brush it and its drip pans off with a grill brush and wipe down with a damp sponge and a gentle cleanser.

Other summer maintenance project that can easily replace that lawn-mowing time can include: gutter cleaning, window washing, deck analysis and repair, garden work (add some mulch), and checking detector batteries and operation.

With all that a homeowner can accomplish with decreased lawn-mowing time, it might be worth considering a low-maintenance lawn alternative like rock gardens for the future.

But that’s another day.


Kevin Gillies is a freelance writer for Black Press.


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