Consumer Reports

Fast Home Fixes That May Save You Money Down the Road

Consumer Reports shares home fixes you can do in under two hours

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Summer was all about outdoor home improvements. Now that the colder weather has arrived, why not tackle some indoor chores?

Check the water hoses on the back of your washing machine. They should be replaced every five years. And if they look brittle, swap them out with a braided stainless steel version.

Once a year, deep-clean your dryer by cleaning out the air duct and port in the back with a vacuum and a brush made for dryer ducts. In addition, cleaning the lint out of your dryer can help the appliance run more efficiently and dry your clothes better. Plus, cleaning the ductwork can help prevent a dryer fire.

Deal with your doors by checking for loose hinges and tightening screws. If the screws are just spinning in their holes, remove them and try this contractor tip: Coat two or three toothpicks with wood glue, then push them into the screw hole. You can break off the ends that stick out. Allow the toothpicks to dry, then fasten your screws again.

In the bathroom, you can spruce up your shower. A clogged showerhead is most likely the result of hard water mineral buildup. To unclog it, remove the showerhead and let it sit on a bowl of distilled vinegar for an hour. Then wipe it clean with a sponge.

For grimy grout and caulk, try using a bleach pen. Rub it in with the tip, then rinse or wipe clean.

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If you find that bleach doesn’t get out all the stubborn stains, it may be time to recaulk or even regrout between the tiles. Caulking is an easy job you can do in about an hour or two. But re-grouting between tiles is usually a job that’s best left to the pros.

If you’d like to clean your windows, Consumer Reports says to be sure to check your window manufacturer’s website for instructions before you do. CR’s tests showed that some windows can be stained or streaked if the wrong type of cleaner is used. That includes some ammonia-based formulas and some Windex products. You can check out a quick how-to window cleaning video on our website.

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