7 Home Maintenance Myths, Busted

7 Home Maintenance Myths, Busted

When it comes to buying and owning a home, there’s more to think about than just paying the mortgage. You’re responsible for all the upkeep now—there’s no landlord to call when things go wrong. But what kind of maintenance is really required, and how much? What’s the best way to go about it?

Forget the hearsay and the urban legends. With so much home maintenance misinformation out there, it’s time to separate the facts from the fiction.

1. Keeping Cool

man adjusting his home thermostat

Turning off the A/C when you leave the house to save on your energy bill? Myth. That’s because when you come home and turn it back on, your air conditioner will need to work in overdrive to cool down the hot house. Instead, raise the temp 8-10 degrees on your way out. That way, your air conditioner will kick on briefly during the hottest parts of the day. Or better yet, install a programmable thermostat that you only need to set once.

2. Natural No-No

sink with garbage disposal and various vegetable skins and clippings

Cleaning your garbage disposal helps keep the blades sharp and the unit functioning properly. But did you know that using natural solutions like lemon juice, salt, or coffee grounds can actually damage your disposal and your pipes over time? The acidic nature of lemon and salt will corrode the metal, while coffee grounds can lead to nasty clogs.

Pro Tip: Go with good old-fashioned baking soda. It’s abrasive enough to clean the blades, and as a base, it won’t harm the metal. Plus—it’s super cheap.

3. Insulation Misinformation

person installing insulation in interior wall

True or False: If a little insulation is good, a lot is better.

False! When it comes to insulation, overdoing it can actually do more harm than good. You want enough to prevent the heat from escaping, but not so much that the lower layers become compressed, and therefore less effective at trapping heat. Too much insulation can also create blocked eaves or ventilation, leading to moisture buildup and even mold.

4. Guard Duty

gutter guards filled with leaves and debris

Cleaning your gutters can be a grueling task—simply because they’re so hard to get to. To reduce ladder-time and workload, many people will choose to install gutter guards. But don’t get caught thinking they don’t require any maintenance. Every 12-18 months, depending on how many trees you have in your yard, you’ll want to clear out any small debris that can and will get trapped in your gutter guards.

Pro Tip: Clean the guard and flush out the gutters to make sure they aren’t clogged, and that water flows through them easily.

5. Cutting Corners

lawn mower rolling over grass

Think you can cut your grass extra short to avoid mowing as often? Think again. In reality, this old wives’ tale is a great way to kill your yard. Scalping your lawn makes it more susceptible to weeds, disease, and drying out in the sun. Set your lawn mower blade to trim no more than one third off the top, leaving 2-3 inches of exposed grass, and enjoy a healthy lawn with strong roots.

6. Where There’s Smoke

smoke detector and a book of matches, sitting on a table

Without a doubt, you need to test your smoke alarms regularly (twice a year). But you also need to be sure you’re checking the right thing. Simply hitting the “test” button only tells you if the sound is functioning. A proper test requires real smoke: Light a long match, blow it out, and hold it up to let the smoke waft past the alarm. If your alarm doesn’t react, replace the batteries. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to replace the device entirely.

Pro Tip: Replace the batteries once a year regardless—it’s the No. 1 reason smoke detectors fail.

7. Asbestos Anxiety

closeup of asbestos fibers

Asbestos is a homeowner’s nightmare. But it’s not the end of the world. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos-containing materials that remain in good condition are relatively safe and should typically be left alone. Contaminated materials only pose a health risk when they are damaged or disturbed—that’s when they will release asbestos fibers into the air. That said, if you’re planning any kind of remodel or demolition project and you suspect asbestos in your home, you’ll need to consult with a trained professional for safe removal.

Bottom Line

After completing some successful home maintenance, you might be inspired to do a little redecorating. Renting furniture from Brook is the perfect way to switch up your style without breaking the bank. Plus, you’ll be doing the planet a favor by keeping furniture out of landfills. What’re you waiting for?

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