As discussed in Part 1 of the summer maintenance blog, it’s important to annually check, change, and repair different areas inside your house. Keeping your home clean is also a big part of maintaining the health and well-being of you and your family. Vacuuming and dusting are common things you can do weekly to clean your space. Below are some less common things that you can take care of during the summer months.

Hot Water Heater and Pressure Valve

Annually draining the water heater to rid it of sediment buildup ensures that the maximum amount of hot water will keep circulating throughout the home, and it helps your water heater run more efficiently. While most units have a set of instructions for draining the water, follow these basic guidelines to get a better understanding of the process and how to perform it safely:

Before draining your hot water heater, set the gas valve to “pilot” if you have a gas water heater, or turn off the circuit breaker if you have an electric water heater. Once your water heater is in a safe “off” position, connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Place the other end of the hose in a nearby floor drain or outside your home, safely away from other people, pets, or plants since the water coming out of it will be very hot.

Next, turn off the water supply that is located by the water heater. At this point, let some air into the tank by turning on the hot water from one of your sink faucets—this will encourage the water to drain more efficiently. Now you are ready to drain the water from the water heater by opening the drain valve. Use extreme caution when opening the valve, and make sure the garden hose is screwed on properly.

Once all the water is drained, flush out the sediment by turning the heater’s water supply back on. The water will turn clear when all the sediment is rinsed from the tank. After all the sediment is gone, turn off the drain valve, close the faucet you opened earlier, and turn on the water supply. Make sure that you completely fill the hot water heater tank before turning the power back on or re-igniting the pilot light. If you’re wary of draining your hot water heater or simply don’t want to do the task yourself, ask a local Best Pick plumber to walk you through the steps or service the unit.

It’s also important to test the pressure valve on your hot water heater. When pressure builds up in the water heater, the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve opens to release the excess hot water. If this valve is not functioning properly, the pressure can become dangerous and potentially cause an explosion. To check the TPR valve, raise and lower the test lever so that it lifts the brass stem attached. You should notice water rushing from the end of the drainpipe. If this does not happen, then have the valve replaced by a professional. If you happen to notice any leaks after performing the test, there may be debris lodged in the valve. You should be able to free the debris by raising and lowering the lever several times.

Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerator coils are responsible for the main operation of a refrigerator. The EPA recommends for homeowners to keep these coils clean, which will improve the life and operation of the appliance. Before you begin to clean the coils, turn off the circuit breaker and unplug the refrigerator. If you have a water supply line connected, turn this off as well. Once the power and water supply are disconnected, you can now locate your coils; older refrigerators will have their coils mounted on their back, while coils on newer models are located underneath the refrigerator. Use a vacuum hose to remove any visible dust and dirt buildup from the coils and the fan. If you have hard-to-remove dirt, use a small brush to gently loosen it from the coils. Be careful not to damage the coils during the cleaning process.


After frequent use, your showerhead can accumulate sediment buildup, which can interfere with your water pressure. You can remove the sediment manually by disconnecting the showerhead and cleaning the filter inside. Another option is to immerse the showerhead in a bag of white vinegar, which can be tied around the showerhead without having to disconnect it. Let the showerhead soak overnight, and then scrub it with an old toothbrush; you should notice an improvement in waterflow.

Dryer Vent and Lint Screen

According to FEMA, the lint that gathers in your dryer is highly combustible, and when left to accumulate, it can ignite and cause fires. Cleaning the lint from your lint screen is simply not enough to ensure the safety of your appliance. Over time, residue from dryer sheets can create an invisible layer that prevents moisture from passing through the screen’s filter. Cleaning the lint screen with soap and water will remove the residue and allow the screen to perform properly.

Another way to increase the efficiency of your dryer is to clean the metal vent that connects the back of your dryer to the duct inside the wall. You will need a screwdriver to remove the vent and a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove the lint located inside. Be careful when cleaning the inside of the dryer vent since any tears or punctures to the material can negatively affect the operation of the component. Also, make sure to detach and clean the vent located on the outside of your house. Once both vents are clear of debris and the interior vent is reconnected, run the dryer while it’s empty to ensure the removal of all loosened lint particles. Reattach the outside vent when you are done, and make sure there aren’t any plants or lawn equipment blocking it, so air can flow freely.

Call a Professional for Your Furnace

In the heat of summer, your furnace is probably the furthest thing from your mind, but it’s important to have your furnace serviced by a professional before the harsh temperatures of winter arrive. On that same note, have your air conditioning system serviced in the winter before the warmer weather of spring and summer returns.

Now that you’ve checked, cleaned, repaired, and serviced some key areas inside your house, keep reading the EBSCO Research blog over the next couple of weeks to learn what you should check on and around your home’s exterior to ensure that your property is in tip-top shape.

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Sources: Allstate; EBSCOhost Home Improvement Reference Center: How to Build a Deck–Finishing & Maintaining Your DeckENERGY STAR; Money Magazine; New York Times; Rheem; US Fire Administration; The Weather Channel.

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