Q • Are the newer washing machine hoses really worthwhile? — S.M., St. Louis
Most washing machine hoses are a standard garden variety, made with rubber. As any garden hose can wear out and split, so can washing machine hoses. Imagine having your garden hose filled with water with the sprayer on the end turned off. The hose will be under constant pressure, which is the same for your washing machine hoses. A bubble or crack in the hose can lead to water filling your laundry room until the water is turned off — and that's a terribly expensive thing to happen.
You can replace rubber washing machine hoses with stainless steel hoses, which aren't susceptible to bursting. Not only are the hoses inexpensive, but this is also something that most anyone can do. The hoses are available at hardware stores (about $20), and all that is needed for installation would be an adjustable wrench.
Begin by turning off the washing machine water spigots, both hot and cold. Then move your washer out slightly if you can't reach where the hoses are attached at the washer. Unscrew the two hoses, both from the spigot and the washing machine. Be careful; the hoses will be filled with water. Replace the old hoses with the new, stainless steel hoses. Before scooting the washing machine back in, be sure to turn the spigots back on, run the washing machine for a minute and check for leaks.
This would also be a good time to clean your dryer vent. The easiest way to do this is if you have an electric leaf blower. If so, move the dryer out so that you have access to wherever the vent goes into the dryer. Remove the vent by unscrewing the clamp over the duct. Pull the duct out — but before going any further, check the exhaust vent on the outside of the house. Sometimes people put screening over these, to keep rodents from entering. If you have screening here, remove it for the cleaning. Your leaf blower may be either too small or too large for the 3-inch or 4-inch dryer duct, so you may have to improvise, using duct tape or old rags around the leaf blower to prevent too much air escaping. Turn on the blower for 20 seconds or so, then go outside and make sure the old lint is coming out of the exhaust housing. If so, turn the blower back on and let it run for a minute or so.
Finally, reattach the duct to the dryer, move everything back into position, and mark this off your to-do list.
Steve Cloninger is the owner of Get It Done Home Repairs & Maintenance. Visit his website at getitdoneinc.com.