We’ve been hearing some interesting home maintenance myths lately that has us thinking it’s time to separate fact from fiction. So just call us Adam and Jamie because we’re ready for some serious myth-busting. Luckily (or unfortunately?), there’s no need to blow anything up.
Myth: Exhaust fans aren’t needed in bathrooms with windows
Fact: While technically that is true per building code, a window often doesn’t ventilate a bathroom adequately — especially if it’s not opened. An exhaust fan helps prevent mold and mildew from forming. So even if it’s not required, it is highly recommended.
Myth: Exhaust fans are protected by a cover so they don’t get dirty
Fact: Pull off the cover and you might be surprised by just how dirty the fan is. Exhaust fans need to be vacuumed to remove dust from the motor every 6-12 months to keep it working properly and efficiently.
Myth: A brick in a toilet tank saves water
Fact: Displacing water in a toilet tank can certainly save per flush, but a brick is not the way to do it. Particles and material can break off the brick and get into the plumbing, causing damage. Instead, fill plastic bottles or a gallon jug with water and place them in the toilet tank. It’ll require less water to fill and therefore, less water will be flushed. Or better yet, consider installing a low flow toilet.
Myth: Flushable wipes are flushable
Fact: No matter what the label says, most plumbers (and AAA House Manager) advise against flushing anything but toilet paper. Plumbers even have stories about the damage they see caused by “flushable” wipes. In reality, they just don’t dissolve as well as toilet paper and often cause clogs that require a professional to fix.
Myth: Dishwashers are self-cleaning
Fact: While your dishwasher is great at what it’s designed to do — wash your dishes — it’s not great at washing itself. In fact, you’ve probably noticed bits of debris after a wash that weren’t rinsed away. For a quick cleanup, place a cup of white vinegar on the upper rack and run a hot water cycle. Follow up by sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and running a second hot cycle. This will clear away grease, grime, stains and odors. For a more thorough clean, Good Housekeeping has these great tips for what to clean on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Myth: Use a lemon to clean a garbage disposal
Fact: A pulverized lemon is only good for deodorizing a garbage disposal, not cleaning it. And only small pieces or just the juice should be used to avoid clogging the drain line. For an actual cleaning, pour ½ cup baking soda into the disposal, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then flush with hot water.
Myth: Gutters only need to be cleaned once a year
Fact: We always advise cleaning your gutters — or having them cleaned by your AAA House Manager — in the fall after your trees have lost all of their leaves, but once a year may not be enough. Debris can collect in gutters and cause blockage for rainstorms any time of year. In addition, insects, rodents and mold all find cluttered gutters a nice place to call home. Put it on your calendar to clear them out in the fall and spring or summer.
Bonus Myth Buster: Gutters with a gutter guard still need to be cleaned. Small debris like seeds, flowers and pine needles can still get in. Depending on how messy your trees are, you may only need to clean them once a year, but they’ll still need to be cleaned.
Heating and Cooling Myths
Myth: Furnace filters need to be replaced once a year
Fact: Disposable filters should be replaced every one to three months. Of course, there are factors that can contribute to needing or wanting to change them more often; pets, if you live in a dusty and dry area, or you suffer from allergies. If you have a washable filter, hold it up to a lightbulb or the sun. If you can no longer see the light coming through, it’s time to clean it.
Myth: Closing a vent in an unused room saves energy
Truth: It may seem like a waste of energy to heat or cool a room that is not being used, but closing the vent could actually damage your system. That’s because it’s designed to deliver the same amount of air, so closing vents increases the pressure in the ducts. Over time, this can damage the blower itself.
We have all received mistaken or outdated information about home care along the way, so if you’ve been practicing some of these myths, you’re not alone. You may have even learned the truth along the way firsthand. If not, the good news is, it’s not too late. Just a few changes in practice will set you back on the right track!