Some things get better as they age – like wine and cheese. However, this concept does not apply to many of your household items that you use on daily basis.
The experts tell us that if we don’t routinely purchase new mattresses, pillows, and kitchen sponges we could actually be doing damage to our health. From food storage containers to HVAC filters, you might be surprised how frequently you should be replacing these items.
Throw Pillows: Every Two to Four Years
A lot depends on the wear and tear, but if you clean the pillows inserts every four to six months and replace the covers if there’s a stain, you can get more mileage out of them. Plus recovering them gives your space a renewed sense of style.
Mattress: Every Seven Years
Experts suggest that a good rule of thumb is to replace your mattress every seven years. In seven years, the mattress will most likely not be providing you the most comfort and support. Keeping your mattress in a dust mite resistant cover will also keep your mattress fresh and less likely to cause allergy-like symptoms to develop.
Bed Pillows: Every Two Years
Just like your mattress, pillows are a haven for dust mites. Zipping your pillows into a pillow protector underneath your pillow covers will not only keep the pests at bay – it will protect it from oils from your skin and prolong the freshness of the pillows in between washing them.
Duvet: Every Five Years
In colder environments a thick comforter is a necessity for many months of the year. To keep them in good condition – and some style to your bedroom – it’s a good idea to use a duvet cover. While a cover might need to be replaced over time, it’s far more affordable than dry cleaning or purchasing a new down comforter.
Towels: Every Two to Three Years
Eventually, even the most expensive towels will get thin and lose their absorbency. Depending on what kind of water service you have, they might also get a little funky from well water or rough from chlorine.
If you notice they’re losing their absorbency—or worse, starting to smell—it’s time to donate them to an animal shelter and treat yourself to new towels.
Bath Mat: Every Two Years
This actually gets more wear and tear than your towels, but you should replace it for similar reasons: It’s less absorbent or it starts to fade or smell.
Kitchen Sponges: Monthly
Bathed in soap, water and food particles multiple times daily, sponges are pretty disgusting. No, really. Filled with bacteria and mold, they’re the top source of germs in your home, according to WebMD. You can extend the life by placing them into a dishwasher or soaking them in a little hot bleach water but if neither of these solutions appeals to you, consider replacing them altogether with a dish brush.
Plastic Food Storage Containers: Every Two to Five Years
Be on the lookout for scratches and cracks. If you spot one, toss the container now to steer clear of food spoilage or germs. If you are not fond of disposable containers for environmental and health reasons, glass food containers are readily available, easy to clean and safe for reheating in microwaves or ovens.
Smoke Detectors: Every Ten Years
If it chirps after you’ve replaced the batteries or there’s no sound when you perform the monthly test, it is time to replace them. It’s also a good idea to change the batteries in all your smoke detectors at the same time to avoid monthly trips to the hardware store.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Every Five to Seven Years
Most carbon-monoxide (CO) alarms are backed by a five- to seven-year warranty, but they typically emit a chirping or signal when they’re nearing the end of their useful life. This signal differs from the one that indicates a low battery. If there’s a problem with the unit, a model with a digital display will show an error message, and one without a digital display might flash LEDs in a particular pattern.
Heat Pump: Every 12 to 15 Years
Some experts say it’s all about energy efficiency, so replacing your heat pump every 10 to 12 years will keep your electric bills down. Others say maintain it well and keep it running until it literally dies on you and you can get another 3 to 5 years from it. Make sure you have the correct size for the heat and cooling load it will have to provide, based on square footage of your home.
HVAC filter: 1-3 months, Depending on Season and Usage.
If you are running your heat pump or forced air unit year-round, it is more likely to clog, so you should replace your filter once a month. This is especially important if you have pets or someone in your home who suffers from allergies or respiratory issues.
Fire extinguishers: Every 10 years
Portable extinguishers may lose pressure over time and become ineffective whether or not they’ve been triggered, according to the National Fire Protection Association. If your extinguisher is rechargeable, have it serviced every 6 years or when the pressure is low. (Look for service companies online under fire extinguishers.)