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Home care myths

8 top home care myths that are a waste of your time and money.


1. Stone countertops are indestructible In fact, stone countertops are easy to stain and scratch. Plus, regular household cleaners and mildly acidic substances, like soda, coffee and wine, can dull stone surfaces over time.

2. Your smoke detector’s test button is foolproof. The test button tells you the sound is working,not if the sensor that detects smoke is working. Use real smoke to check it. Light a match, blow it out and hold it near the detector. If the alarm goes off, it’s working.

3. Gutter guards are maintenance-free. Gutter guards may keep out leaves, but small debris can still get through. It’s best to clean them every two years— or once a year if your home is surrounded by trees—to prevent damage to your gutters.

4. A lemon is a great way to clean a disposal. A lemon’s acidic juice will corrode the metal parts of your disposal, and coffee grounds will accumulate in pipes and clog them. The best natural cleaner is baking soda, which will clean the blades but won’t damage the metal.

5. Mow your lawn short and you’ll mow less often It’s important to leave 1 to 3 inches of grass above the roots to keep your lawn lush. Removing more will leave your grass too weak to withstand weeds and pests. It also exposes the roots to the sun, causing the lawn to dry out.

6. CFLs cost too much, and are dangerous. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) aren’t as expensive as you think and don’t contain enough mercury to cause any harm. Plus, CFLs last an average of five years.

7. Trendy kitchen redo will increase my home's value. Home trends come and go quickly. Instead of remodeling in the latest look, try repainting with trendy colors. If you do opt for a full remodel, choose elements with a timeless style, like wood floors and subway tile.

8. A contractor recommendation from a friend is good enoughLook for a contractor as if it were a job inter- view. Before hiring, talk to a couple of sources, check the contractor’s online reviews and ask a local building inspector which contractors meet code on the properties they inspect.

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