Include electrical safety in spring cleaning

            As you give your house a good cleaning this spring, don’t overlook your appliances and electrical fixtures.

            Here are 5 items you might not have thought to clean:

            1. The stove’s exhaust hood. A year’s worth of home cooking—especially after the holidays, when your home has been full of company—can leave grime and grease build-up on the hood. That build-up, which also includes food particles and dust, can catch on fire. Remove the hood and clean the filter and all surfaces.

            2. The back of the refrigerator. When is the last time you pulled it away from the wall and vacuumed the coils? A rule of thumb: Do that every two or three months. Dust on the coils prevents the appliance from operating efficiently. Once they’re clean, push the fridge back toward the wall, but don’t let it touch. Air needs to circulate around those coils.

            3. The dryer vent. The lint that collects in the dryer duct presents a fire hazard. Snake it out at least twice a year.

            4. Ceiling fans. It’s easy to overlook dirt and dust that you can’t see. Drag a small ladder into the house so you can climb high enough to wipe down the tops of the blade. If your fan has a built-in light, remove the decorative cover and rinse out the dust and dead bugs. Let it dry completely before replacing it.

            5. Baseboard heaters. They’re a catch-all for dust, pet hair and whatever falls off of a nightstand or end table that’s pushed against the wall. If they get dirty enough, they can prevent the heat from operating efficiently and an even leave black stains on the nearby walls. To clean them, shut the power off to the heater, remove the cover, lift out debris (and retrieve any lost items you find in there), and vacuum inside with a soft brush attachment.