Home maintenance tips and suggestions abound on the Internet – a search about home upkeep pointers will likely yield results about everything, including the kitchen sink. But how much of the information is accurate? Avoid the pain of pouring money down the drain: take a moment to learn the truth about a few common home maintenance myths.

Myth: You can tell if your home’s smoke alarm is working by pressing the test button.
Truth: When you press the test button on your smoke detector, you’re only testing whether its sound is functioning properly. This is not an accurate way to determine if your device will detect smoke. Instead, place a burned out match under the smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are installed in more than half of homes that suffer a fatal fire, but are only working correctly in a third of those homes. (Tweet This)

Myth: Mold grows only on organic materials like paper and wood.
Truth: Mold is the “cockroach” of the fungi family and can grow anywhere, even on steel! If moisture and mold spores are present, then mold can thrive – no matter the surface. Be proactive and regularly check pipes for moisture. When in doubt about whether you have a mold issue, call a professional for an inspection.

Myth: Grass that turns brown is dead.
Truth: Brown grass is still alive; it is just dormant. It will come back if you don’t destroy it. Cool season grasses lie in a dormant state to protect themselves during long, hot periods when they do not have enough water to remain in an active growth phase.

Myth: The lower you set your thermostat, the faster your house will cool.
Truth: Your thermostat has no sense of urgency. It functions normally until it reaches the desired temperature. It does not operate faster or more slowly based on the temperature you select.

Myth: Fluorescent light bulbs are just as bad for the environment as traditional ones because they contain mercury.
Truth: Fluorescent light bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury that can seep out if they break. However, traditional bulbs emit more mercury than fluorescent bulbs in everyday use. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a typical incandescent bulb emits about three times as much mercury as a fluorescent light bulb. If a fluorescent bulb breaks inside your home, have all people and pets leave the room. Air out the room for 5-10 minutes, then collect the broken pieces using stiff cardboard, sticky tape, and damp paper towels. It is important that you never vacuum up the broken light bulb to prevent a spread of mercury.

Myth: It doesn’t matter what time of day you add chemicals to your pool. 
Truth: There is an optimal time of day to add chemicals to your pool, and that is after the sun goes down. If you add chemicals when the sun is in strong, the UV rays from the sun can reduce the effectiveness of some chemicals, specifically chlorine. 

Myth: Solar panels are unreliable because they don’t work at night.
Truth: Solar panels can’t generate power in total darkness. But home solar systems frequently generate more energy during daylight hours than a home even needs. This excess energy can be sent back to the grid for later use.

Myth: You Can’t Walk on a Metal Roof.
Truth: A properly sheathed metal roof is very sturdy. You can safely walk on a metal roof during cleaning and maintenance without fear of damaging it. Consult the manufacturer of your specific roof to determine the best methods of navigating your roof.

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