I love hearing about cool tricks that don't cost a penny. OK,
this one costs a penny. Just one penny.
Before you leave on an extended vacation (or, frankly, even an
overnight), fill a small container with water and freeze it. Then
put a penny on top of the ice container. If the power goes out
while you're away--which, sadly happens all too often in the
Chicago Parent readership area--the ice will melt and the penny
will drop to the bottom of the container. If that happens--even if
the ice has re-frozen--seeing that penny at the bottom of the
container will tell you that the power was out, possibly long
enough to have ruined the food you kept there.
Without the penny, chances are the food could have thawed and
re-frozen before your return. And you won't know the food went bad
until, well, you serve it to your family.
Great tip, huh? It comes from Steve Ash, Service Director for PartSelect.com, a do-it-yourself appliance
repair resource. His other tips are more generic, but just as
Refrigerator: Consume or discard any
perishables before you leave. No one wants to come home to the
smell of spoiled milk.
Garbage Disposal: Run a cycle to clean the unit
and prevent odors from any buildup hiding beneath the drain while
you're away. Add a cup of vinegar to your rinse for an extra-deep
Washer: Leave the lid/door open to let the
basin dry completely. Chances are you'll have plenty of laundry to
do upon your return, so you'll want the washer to be empty
and fresh. And don't forget to disconnect the unit's water
And, finally, before you walk out the door, unplug everything,
including your dishwasher, washer, microwave and coffeemaker to
conserve energy. And, of course, turn off and unplug the iron. If
you have any worries about a potential flood, consider
disconnecting the water supply to your appliances as well,
particularly if you're planning and very long family vacation.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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