SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 DAII.YIIKRAl.n SECTION H PAGE 3 H Chores: Furnace filters need changing Continued from Phgc I changed about every three months, said Scott Keck of Arlington Heights, who goes by Scotty the Handyman. A whole-house water filter could wait a few months longer. However, there are extra- efficient filters that work for three months and extra thick ones that last for five or six months. Bigelow Homes installs the filters rated for three months because new homeowners are busy with so many things those first few months, said Chad Bailey, construction manager. Here are some other tasks that might sneak up on you. • Vacuum your refrigerator. Not the inside, but rather the vent at the bottom front. And every now and then pull put the fridge and vacuum behind it, if you're brave enough to face what's back there, Pierce said. This is to promote air circulation so those coils can do their cooling. • Pierce is also a proponent of having air ducts professionally cleaned every few years — especially after remodeling projects or if anyone in the family has allergies. • Every outlet near a sink or tub should have a ground fault interrupter. The bad news is sometimes those aren't working, said Keck. He suggests buying a $10 tester at a hardware or big box store. And we probably don't need to warn you to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working and have new batteries. It is recommended you change the detectors twice a year when we change to daylight- saving or standard time. If you haven't done it yet this weekend, hop to it. • Sump pumps are no one's favorite topic, but this is the TAN IT | AKUSAN/tj:irusan(r/kliii lyhcrald.com Janet Velez learns how to change the furnace filter in her new home from Chad Bailey, construction manager for Bigelow Homes, right. perfect time of year to check diem and make sure they are operating, Keck said. You'll need the pump for the spring thaw and rains, and they are harder to find in stores then when many people realize they need new ones, he said. You should hear the pump operating every now and then even in the winter, Pierce said. If you have a finished base- ment, a battery-operated backup is recommended. One chore is making sure there is enough water in the battery. • Even if you cleaned your gutters last fall, they should be cleaned again to prevent any spring ice dams, which can lead to water damage to your ceilings and upper walls. • Your clothes dryer can keep running even if die vent is clogged, but it won't dry the clothes, Pierce said. GI'.OKGK I.F.(:i.AIRK/|;lcclairc(fi>(lailylicriil(l.i-i>iii Mark Stefani, right, construction manager for King's Court Builders, shows Joanne Swanson how to vacuum the refrigerator vent in her new Elgin home. Chore checklist • Change filters, etc. Furnace Humidifier Water purifiers • Vacuum refrigerator vent • Check ground fault interrupters • Change detector batteries • Check sump pump and backup • Clean gutters • Clean dryer vent • Drain hot water heater • Check window caulk • Keep sink drains clear The longer the vent the more prone it is to collecting lint. You might be able to clean the duct from the inside by removing any flexible metal for cleaning. The hard metal in the wall will not fill up as much, he said, but it might require a professional duct cleaner when the job needs to be done. • Every time you take a shower or bath, run the fan vent, said Pete Stefani, president of King's Court BuUders, which builds in several communities including Aurora, Elgin and Napervilie. "Homes today are so tight the humidity can damage the drywall and paint," said Stefani. "People don't understand the power of humidity." • That brings us to the lowly hot water heater. At least a few gallons should be drained now and then to remove sediment. This should make your heater last longer. But be careful and follow directions. For one thing, the water is very hot. • So many houses these days have vinyl siding and clad windows. But if you have any wood trim on die exterior of your house, paint it every two or three years and check your caulking every year, Stefani said. The wood will deteriorate if the finish is not kept up, and water can get into your home if the caulking is not in good shape. • In a newer house your outdoor faucet is probably frost proof. But that feature won't work if you don't disconnect the hose before freezing weather hits in the fall. • If you have trouble with grease or other debris blocking your sink drain, Keck recommends pouring some bleach down it every once in a while. And orange or lemon peels will keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh. GREAT VALUE! $124,900 2BR/2BA spacious unit wilh iill appliances, including washer iV dryer! Large balcony >t just steps to the pool! Mctra & shopping nearby! Call lor nil tile details! 1 st Class Schaumburg Office 2006 & 2007 ARLINGTON HEIGHTS! $139,900 Updated 1st II condo with intercom in a desirable 2-story building! 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