Tools are necessary for maintaining and repairing things around your home, garage and lawn. Keeping these items in tip-top shape means that they function reliably when you need them. Here are some tips for storing, cleaning and maintaining common household tools and equipment to extend their longevity.
1. Protect tools from moisture damage. Humid environments and weather exposure can wreak havoc on electric motors or metal tools. Always store your tools in a dry place to prevent rust and electrical issues. Metal tools can be oiled with a spray-on lubricant or even vegetable oil to protect the metal from oxidizing and to keep screws, bolts or hinges from seizing.
2. Replace any equipment that has a damaged power cord. When the rubber coating peels away from the inner wiring, the wires are exposed, and they can cause a dangerous shock or even a fire. Periodically inspect the cords on wet/dry vacs, pumps, power tools, and other electrical items to look for signs of melting, fraying or other damage.
3. Do not use damaged extension cords. As with the cords attached to appliances and tools, extension cords with exposed inner wires are dangerous. If the outer casing is nicked but the jacket around the individual wires is not compromised, you can wrap it the damaged area securely and thoroughly with electrical tape, but replace it if it begins to wear or peel.
4. Coil your hose neatly for storage. Not only does this look tidier, but it prevents kinks and bends that can compromise the flow of water when you use it again. Before storing your garden hose for the winter, ensure that there is no water trapped inside the hose that could freeze and cause splitting.
5. Wash paint brushes and rollers each time you use them. Leftover paint in the bristles or nap of your painting equipment will dry, rendering your brushes and rollers useless. Water-based paints clean up with just soap and water, while oil-based paints must be removed with solvents such as mineral spirits or turpentine.
6. Organize your tools instead of storing them in a heap. Not only does this make it easier to find the right pliers or screwdriver, but your tools are less likely to become entangled or cause damage to one another. For instance, removing drill bits from drills before storage can keep them from snagging on other tools and breaking.
7. Repair or replace tools with loose handles, peeling grips, or other hazards. This is especially important for shears, pruners, lawnmowers or other tools with sharp blades or edges, because they could come loose while you work, causing injury.
8. Pay attention to routine maintenance schedules for certain equipment. Lawnmowers, for instance, may need to have their spark plugs replaced periodically or their engines drained for the winter. Other equipment requires periodic lubrication. Following these directions prevents damage to the motor.
Properly storing and maintaining your tools ensures that they will work properly and safely when the need arises. Use these tips to keep your tools free from rust and other kinds of damage, and they should see you through years of home-improvement projects.