Easy Home Maintenance: Cleaning Your Box Fans!

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 7.35.48 PM.pngRecently, we noticed that our box fans weren’t providing much cool air. Before dropping over $150 to replace them all, I decided to see if cleaning them would improve their airflow capabilities. After all, they were still functioning mechanically, they weren’t putting out the air flow they used to.

With temperatures in excess of 80 degrees almost all year round here, box fans are a needed appliance in our home. We can’t go without them, as running the AC is cost-prohibitive.

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Oh dear.

These fans are all about a year old, and while I have vacuumed the front and back of them previously (I do it once a week), they had never been taken apart and cleaned.

Gather all the tools needed before you start. For this job you will need:

  • A sheet to cover your work area.
  • A screwdriver (our fans all have Philips head screws)
  • A dish to hold the screws while the fan is disassembled
  • All-purpose cleaner. I used Comet Lilac Bliss- it’s what we had in the house, and it worked really well.
  • A stiff-bristled brush. I used the brush I use to scrub the soap scum/hard water deposits out of the bathtubs (like this)
  • Rags or really scratchy paper towels. You need something that will trap the dirt.
  • Vacuum Cleaner with a brush attachment.
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Before: This stuff was tough to scrub off!
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Once again, my Dyson Vacuum saves the day!
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After: So fresh and so clean!

Here are my tips for deep cleaning your fans-

    1. UNPLUG THEM! It seems like a no-brainer, but I’m going to remind you to not clean appliances that are still plugged in.
    2. Remove the front and back plastic pieces of the fan. Ours were held together with 6 screws.
    3. To remove the dirt/fuzz/cat/hair/whatever grossness that was on the fan front and back, I placed them in the bathtub and sprayed them down with all-purpose cleaner. I allowed them to sit for about 20 minutes while I cleaned the fan blade and fan case.
    4. Using all-purpose cleaner and a rag, carefully spray and wipe the fan blades, both front and back sides.
    5. Using the vacuum hand tool with the brush attachment, clean the interior of the fan case, as well as the backside of the fan motor. I was amazed at the amount of fuzz, dirt, and hair was around the intakes for the fans.
    6. Once the fan blades and fan case are clean, return to the bathroom and scrub the fan front and back. Rinse and dry completely.
    7. Reattach the front and back to the fan case, plug in and test out. All 6 fans worked 100% better after being cleaned. This is now a chore that has been added to the end of season home cleaning list.
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Re-assembled and working like new!

Cleaning all of the fans took about 2 hours, and that included time to make snacks for two very starving kids, let the cat in and out a few times and help with math homework. Without distractions, I could have gotten done in about an hour.

In the future, I may invest in some of these Box Fan Filters, which until today I had no idea existed.

Taking care of appliances, like these box fans is just another way that we are able to extend the useful life of often-used items in our homes, and that saves us money in the long run.

Talk Back: What types of small things do you do to extend the life of your small appliances?

Quaker Foods: $5 Rebate at Wal-Mart!

I love rebates! This rebate is great because a lot of these items are heavily requested at food banks this time of year.

Tis the season to save BIG at Walmart! Now through December 15, get a $5 Walmart eGift card when you buy $15 of participating Quaker® products online or in store. Just email your receipt to submit@quakerseasonalsavings.com and choose from over 400 Quaker® items, including your favorites like Quaker® Oatmeal, Aunt Jemima®, Cap’n Crunch®, and so many more. Head to quakerseasonalsavings.com for a full list of qualifying products.

Meal Plan Monday 3/19/18

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Bitty Bird has been sick for the past week and I’m hoping that it clears up soon. We’ve been cooped up into the house, and I want to take the kids to the park!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Grilled Chicken and veggie skewers

Tuesday:

  • D: Frittata and fruit salad

Weds:

  • D: Colonial Chowder and cheese biscuits (I’ll be posting these recipes this week)

Thursday:

  • D: Been, Rice, cheese, and veggie bowls – Think Chipotle Bowls at home. 

Friday:

  • D: Turkey Meatloaf, mashed potatoes/cauliflower, and fruit

Saturday:

  • D: Henry has been asking to go out for dinner, so maybe Souplantation (one of his favs).

Sunday:

  • D: Chef Salad/leftover buffet. I love chef salad because you can just put whatever you’ve got in the fridge in the salad.

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

Quick Dinner: Beefy Taco Skillet

Ok, so pictures with this post because I didn’t think about writing it down until after we had already eaten second helpings. I didn’t think you’d want to see a pic of an empty, dirty skillet.

This recipe is inspired by what I had in the cupboard. I really wanted tacos, but we didn’t have any of the usual fixins’, so I rummaged through the cupboard and the spice rack and here is what I came up with.

If you are wondering why didn’t I just go to the store, or send the Mister…. You mst be new here! I pride myself on being able to use it up, make do, or go without. But a woman should never be denied tacos, or a reasonable facsimile.

Beefy Taco Skillet (serves 6, maybe more)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground meat (I used beef, but you could use your fav. ground meat)
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup +1 can of water
  • 1 small tin tomato paste
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (I used Sun’s Pinto beans with Jalapeños) Pintos, Kidneys, or black beans would all be good in this recipe
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, dices (I used red)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms slices (I used fresh, but feel free to use canned, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I had leftover white rice in the fridge, but feel free to use brown if you like it better)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican or Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream (optional topping)

 

Directions

  1. Brown meat over medium heat, breaking it apart as you cook.
  2. Add chopped veggies. Cook until onions are clear.
  3. Add beans, soup, tomato paste, and taco seasoning. Simmer 10 minutes, until well combined and bubbling.
  4. Add rice and stir to coat rice and incorporate into mixture.
  5. Top with cheese and turn to low. Cover skillet, allowing cheese to melt, about 5 minutes.
  6. Top each portion with sour cream, as desired.

Serve with Tortillas and a green salad. Despite having a whole can of soup and water in it, it is not soupy at all. Cooking it on medium really tightens it up, especially once the rice is added.

When I make this again, I will be adding more veggies: 2 onions, 3 bell peppers (one red, one green, and once yellow), and 2 cups of corn kernels (probably frozen). I may also omit the can of water and add a can of salt-free diced tomatoes in their own juice. All of these changes will add bulk to the entree without adding too many more calories.

You could also top this with crushed tortilla chips and a little chopped cilantro (I am one of those people who can’t eat cilantro- it tastes like soap and makes my tummy urpy).

 

 

Where have I been?

I swear, I haven’t gone off the deep end! This is a super busy time of year for me! With Halloween in 11 days, I’m up to my eyeballs making costumes, planning treats for our play group Halloween party (gotta make sure they are free of everyone’s allergies), and getting ready for the WOW Summit that’s coming up this week (New business cards arrived Friday!!).

In the next few weeks, I’ll have some reviews of cool products my family has tried recently, tips for saving money for the holidays (nothing crazy I promise you!), cute giftable crafts (Pinterest Fail Free, I promise!!), and some yummy new recipes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.17.16 PMI’ve been working on holiday gifts for the family. Here is one of the photo collages that is going on one of those photos gifts (I told you guys, I’m all about photos for gifts- I mean it!).  It’s Lil’ Man and Bitty Bird. Mr. H is the headless adult in the photo.