Pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum out any dust that’s collected on the condenser coils at the back. Next, remove the cover below the door and vacuum there. Finally, if you have a water dispenser, regularly change the water filter to avoid the risk of contamination.
To avoid smoky flareups, routinely use the self-cleaning function. Before you start, remove the wire racks and anything you’ve been storing in the lower drawer. Use a wet cloth to wipe out as much crud as you can before setting it to self-clean. After the cycle has run and the oven has cooled down, wipe out any residue and reinstall the racks.
Regularly rinse or replace the filters on the exhaust vent. Replace any burnt-out bulbs. Check the exterior vent cover to make sure nothing’s climbed in to build a nest.
Periodically inspect the rubber gasket inside the door for gaps or cracks in the seal. Replace as necessary. You should also regularly clean the gunk that builds up inside the door—this will help avoid leaks. If you’re finding food specks on your dishes, the filter might be clogged. Google your make and model and you’ll find a handy YouTube video (or 10) showing you how to remove and clean the filter.
Inspect the hoses for signs of wear or leaks. They have about a 10-year maximum lifespan so if in doubt, replace them to avoid a risk of flooding. If you have a front-loading machine, wipe out the rubber gasket liner inside the door after each use. Hair and buildup from hard water will also accumulate on the glass inside the door. You should wipe that off periodically to avoid leaks. To prevent the buildup of mould, leave the door and soap tray door open between uses to allow airflow for both front- and top-loading machines.
Lint buildup forces the motor to work harder, and is a leading cause of house fires. Clean the lint trap every time you use your dryer. Check the exterior vent cover every couple of months and remove clogs as necessary. Every year or so you should disconnect the hose running from the dryer to the outside and shake or vacuum it out.
For optimal efficiency, you should regularly empty out your vacuum’s canister or replace the bag. Most models also have filters that you either replace or clean. Finally, take a look at the bristles that spin around picking up dirt. Pretty gross, right? They often get hair and threads wrapped around them. You might need a utility knife or scissors to cut those loose.
Vacuum around your smoke alarms and CO detectors so dust and spiderwebs don’t clog the unit. If you have a model with backup batteries, you should replace them a couple of times a year. They’re often 9-volt batteries; keep a fresh supply on hand. Fire departments recommend doing so every time the clocks spring forward or back. Note that smoke alarms have a 10-year lifespan. If you (or your contractor) didn’t write the installation date on the unit, look for a “replace by” year on each one in the cottage.