If you're noticing your house smells less than fresh, it may be a combination of trapped cooking odors (all that dining in), indoor pets and a furnace that's been working overtime with people home all day.
If you can't remember the last time you changed your furnace filter, it's probably due! On most furnaces, the filter is located behind an access panel that must be unscrewed. Check your furnace's maintenance manual for recommended filter-change frequency (often, it's monthly during the heating season and quarterly the rest of the year). If you have family members with allergies or you own pets, you may want to change every month year-round. Click and print the attached furnace maintenance log and tape it near your furnace as a reminder.
Another way to remember to change your filter is to sign up for automated filter deliveries. Search "furnace filter subscription" online for options. You'll never run out of filters, plus it's hard to ignore that box showing up on your doorstep!
When you change the filter, be sure to vacuum around the furnace and remove any items that have gotten pushed up against the furnace. You'll also want to keep your indoor heating vents free of obstructions like furniture or curtains to improve airflow.
A final thought on freshening your home: Change your vacuum filter and bag (a sneaky source of mystery odor) and deodorize your garbage disposal. To do it without chemicals, clean away any nasty residue that may have built up on the undersides of the black rubber drain flaps. Next, pour in one-half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Let it fizz and foam for about 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. Finish by grinding a quartered lemon, peel and all.
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