Colorful Book Spines
Studying in a Library
Student Behind the Books
Pile Of Books
Electrical Work

Maintenance is a partial or total renewal of an item. Maintenance reduces the physical age of an item or can even “zero time” the item by rejuvenating some or all of its components. By contrast, Nowlan and Heap describe “service” as “activities necessary for achieving the design life of the asset”. Service is something that we have to do, operationally, if we wish to achieve the item’s inherent reliability.

A service plan normally covers the parts and labour of certain items when a car is due for a service. Service plans do not cover wear and tear items. That is items which throughout the normal course of using a car will deteriorate to some level. Examples of this are the tires, the brakes, the shocks, the battery, wipers, globes, fuses and the drive belts.

Items that are normally covered by a service plan include air filters, oil filters, fuel filters, lubricants such as oil, spark plugs and coolant.


A maintenance plan covers everything that is also covered by a service plan which includes the labour and parts associated with the servicing of the car. In addition to this it will also cover certain wear and tear items and may even include items such as refilling the air condition system. It is important to note that different manufacturers have different items that are covered by a maintenance plan.


A Service Plan assists you in being able to pay for the basic (and full) service requirements for your car. Its intention is to help you budget for when your car, (usually a used car) needs an engine service with a reliable service centre. Generally speaking, a service has 2 parts – a major service, which often includes a cam belt change and a minor service – sometimes called an oil service. There are many more details about major and minor service procedures, and they do differ from car to car, so we won’t go into any more specific detail here.


A car maintenance plan is kind of a super plan – it has all the elements of a Service Plan, including a Warranty against mechanical failures and then it covers wear and tear items as well. Typical Wear and Tear items include brake pads & linings, wiper blades, shock absorbers and mounts, batteries, globes (light bulbs), aircon gas, etc. Basically anything that has a natural wear cycle and needs to be replaced as performance degrades. So a car maintenance plan is all encompassing and more suited to a younger car that has not done excessive milage.


Lighting in homes usually accounts for up to 25% of electricity bills. It is the third biggest energy user in most homes, after environmental heating/cooling and water heating. However, it is probably the easiest area to save in with the new energy-efficient bulbs.


You can start saving a whopping 70-90% right away by simply screwing in new LED of basic energy saver lights in place of the standard Edison bulbs. LED lights last longer. LED’s also look better for effects and decorative purposes but generally cost more than normal energy saver lights (CFLs). While they are generally excellent for overhead use and for lights under cabinetry, they are not as suitable on table lamps. CFL light appears much like the incandescent light we’re used to, and looks nothing like the harsh lighting we associate with offices or school buildings. But the primary disadvantage to CFL lights is the mercury contained in the bulb, which is a dangerous heavy metal. When buying CFLs, make sure they either have the Energy Star logo or come with a warranty. The cheaper CFLs can burn out fast.


Lights use electricity for every second that they are on so you’ll save electricity every time you turn the lights off.


If you can’t remember to turn off the lights throughout your house, a motion-sensor switch will shut them off for you automatically. Motion-sensing wall switches are extremely affordable.


Replacing 75-watt bulbs with 15-watt bulbs reduces energy usage by 80%. Replacing them with lower wattage rated LED or CFL lights saves even more.


Using natural lighting saves energy and produces a nicer environment besides. Modern skylights are available which only let in the light and not the heat.

Use LED decorative and holiday lights

LED Christmas lights use 84% less electricity than standard holiday lights. LED lights also generate much less heat and last longer since don’t burn out like normal bulbs.


Use daylighting instead of turning on lights. For more privacy, use light-colored, loose-weave curtains to allow daylight into the room. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.

Decorative Lighting
Filament Bulb
Warm Blurry Lights
Stage Lighting Setup
Patio Lights
Small Light Bulbs
Abstract Lights


  • Use task lighting

  • Turn off ceiling lights and use table lamps, track lighting and under-counter lights in work and hobby areas as well as in kitchens.

  • Take shorter showers

  • Hot water is expensive. If two people in your home cut their shower time by a minute each, you could save a considerable amount

  • Turn water off when shaving, washing hands or brushing teeth

  • Reduce your hot water usage by 5% to save

  • Fix leaking faucets

  • Fixing a hot water leak in your faucet can save by reducing hot water consumption

  • Unplug unused electronics

  • Standby power can account for 10% of an average household's annual electricity use. Unplug unused electronics

  • Ditch the desktop computer

  • If you're still using that old desktop, recycle it and switch to your laptop. If you use your laptop two hours per day, you'll save.

  • Not recording or watching anything? Unplug the DVD player or VCR

  • Turn off your DVD player or VCR when you're on vacation or away for the weekend. Do that for a combined two months a year and you'll see a practical saving

  • Recycle or donate that old TV

  • Recycle or donate your old T.V. Even if you're just using it an hour a day, it’s wasting a lot of money every year. New TV sets are more energy efficient.

  • Manage your thermostats

  • Make sure your thermostats for geyser, refrigerator(s), air-conditioning, jacuzzi or pool are working properly and are correctly set. Lower your thermostat by two degrees can save 5% on your heating bill. Lowering it five degrees could save 10%.  

  • Be strategic with choosing window coverings

  • Choose window coverings that promote airflow through your home, allow natural light but block the afternoon sun.

  • Reduce heat usage in the kitchen

  • Avoid using the oven in summer – try salads, smoothies or outside braai. You'll reduce the heat in your home and save on your home cooling costs.

  • Run full washing loads

  • Cut one load of wash per week, even if you're already using cold water only, and you could save a lot on laundry costs.

  • Wash laundry in cold water

  • By switching from hot to cold water for an average of three loads per week, you could save up a considerable amount on your energy bill.

  • Naturally dry your laundry. Hang clothes to dry

  • If you do eight loads of laundry a week and use your clothesline you could save a significant amount

  • Toss a dry towel in the dryer when drying a load

  • A dry towel added to your dryer load can significantly reduce drying times.

  • Be efficient with refrigeration

  • Keep your fridge and freezer at their ideal temperature. For your fridge this is between 2°C and 3°C and your freezer should be at -18°C.

  • Unplug your second fridge

  • Unplug that second fridge and save. Freeze plastic jugs of water and use them in a cooler when you need them.

  • Keep the fridge door closed

  • Make sure you leave the refrigerator or freezer door closed always.

  • Close windows when using the air-conditioner

  • Make sure you close all windows when using the air-conditioner.

  • Skip the heat-dry setting for the dishwasher

  • That heat-dry setting is expensive. De-select it and let your dishes dry naturally

  • Use the microwave

  • A microwave takes 15 minutes to do the same job as 1 hour in an oven and will save you a lot.




  • Clean/Vacuum the Back (Condenser Coils)

  • The idea of pulling your refrigerator away from the wall isn't exactly at the top of anyone's to do list, but it can help so much. So much dust and dirt gets trapped behind your refrigerator (especially if you have pets) and this collects on the condenser coils. The condenser coils of your refrigerator remove warmth from the unit. If these large coils on the back or underside of your fridge start to get dusty, it becomes difficult for them to continue operating in the efficient way they were designed. If these coils are working twice as hard as they are meant to, it causes heightened energy consumption that could eventually lead to problems for your appliance down the line. To make sure that your coils are properly cleaned, invest in an inexpensive bristle brush to easily remove any dirt that has accumulated over the years. You don’t have to clean the coils often, just enough to prevent build-up that affects the unit’s performance. Once you've cleaned them off, the heat from your refrigerator will be able to be carried away without as much resistance, making your cycles run for a shorter period.

  • Check the Door Seal; Keep the Doors Closed

  • No matter what type of refrigerator you have, this is the most obvious—and cheapest—way to reduce your energy usage. Standing in front of an open fridge can and will have a large impact on your energy bill. As the cold air escapes from your appliance, it requires more energy to return it to its intended temperature. If possible, decide what you want prior to opening the doors of your refrigerator or freezer. Making decisions before cracking open your fridge allows you to limit the amount of times you open it, which as a result will conserve a great deal of energy in your home.

  • Use a thin piece of paper or paper note to check whether your seal is air-tight. Hold it up next to the closed refrigerator door and see if it flutters at all. The rubber or plastic door seal on your refrigerator can be easily replaced and although it might seem like a pain, we promise it's not. No one wants to pay to refrigerate their entire kitchen, especially when it's only a few bucks for a new gasket!

  • Cover Everything

  • Unless you're keeping crackers in your fridge, most foods in there contain moisture. When left uncovered, foods will leach this moisture into the air and the compressor in your refrigerator will have to work twice as hard to remove it. Plus, most foods will suck up smells of other foods and that gets bad.

  • Let Your Food Cool Before Putting it in The Fridge

  • If you made a big batch of soup and you're tired, and you decide to just toss it in the fridge, your refrigerator will have to pull double duty to cool it down. Try to let foods sit for as long as possible (without bacteria cooties growing) before putting them in the chill chest.

  • Even the smallest details can save you a great deal of money on your next energy bill. By allowing your leftovers time to cool down after a meal, you are reducing the amount of heat added to the interior of your appliance. You should also properly store your food in protective wrapping or Tupperware prior to placing your dish in the refrigerator as it prevents any residual heat from escaping into your unit.

  • Fill Empty Spaces with Water

  • Using empty soda bottles, juice containers, or even water jugs can help keep your fridge full when you aren't packing it to the gills. It helps keep things cold so your refrigerator doesn't have to work as hard. As a bonus you will always have cold water for use. If you are using a freezer, try and keep your freezer filled. Frozen blocks of food keep freezer temperatures more stable.

  • Protect Your Fridge from High Heat Sources

  • To keep your food chilled to the perfect temperature, the compressor kicks into high gear when it’s near sources of heat. Not only does this cause your fridge to work harder, it’s a quick waste of energy and may even shorten the lifespan of the appliance.

  • When designing your kitchen, try to keep your refrigerator away from the stove, oven, dishwasher, or any other appliance that may omit high levels of heat. It’s also wise to keep it out of prolonged amounts of direct sunlight to prevent it from working in overdrive.

  • Take Advantage of In-Door Water & Ice Dispensers

  • Rather than opening your freezer door to get some fresh ice cubes or grab a bottle of water, use the in-door feature to reduce the frequency in which the doors are opened. This simple step can easily improve the efficiency of your appliance, saving you money and potentially increasing the lifespan of the unit. If your refrigerator doesn’t have an ice dispenser built-in, you should consider buying a portable ice maker for your countertop. This handy appliance allows you to get the ice you want without ever having to open your freezer.

  • Organize & Remove Clutter from Your Refrigerator

  • Harness your inner neat-freak and organize your refrigerator and freezer’s interior. When your items are easy to find inside of your fridge, you can spend less time with the door open tracking down your food, ultimately reducing the amount of energy you use. You should also consider reducing the number of items on the top shelf of your refrigerator, especially large bread items, food boxes, or serving dishes. This is a prime location in your fridge, and should be used for your most used items. The easier they are to grab, the quicker the door closes. Additionally, larger objects stored at the top of your appliance may trap heat inside of your unit, which eventually forces your compressor to work harder to overcome and costing you more money in the long-run.

  • Check the Temperature Inside; Don’t keep the fridge too cold

  • Unnecessarily colder temperatures waste energy. Like your air conditioner, turning the temperature of your appliance up slightly can translate to huge savings on your electric bill. For your unit to provide the greatest efficiency for your family, set your refrigerator temperature to between 3-8°C and the freezer to between -18-22°C. If your appliance does not provide exact degree readings, setting your unit to the midpoint on the temperature dial usually does the trick. When switching over to a new temperature level, keep in mind that it can take up to 24-hours for the update to fully take effect. But, you will start to notice your energy usage going down by the time the next bill shows up. To test the temperature, leave an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the middle shelf for 24 hours. In the freezer, place a thermometer among packs of frozen food.

  • Activate the Power-Saver Mode

  • While not all refrigerators are equipped with this feature, many modern appliances now have compact heaters that are built into the walls to inhibit humidity from condensing on the external surface. Unless you have a great deal of noticeable condensation on your unit, you can activate the energy-saver or power-saver switch to easily disable this feature.

  • Reduce Your Frost Accumulation

  • Depending on your refrigerator, it may require manual defrosting. Buildup can accumulate on the coils inside of your refrigerator forcing your unit to work overtime. If you do not regularly defrost your refrigerator and freezer, it may be difficult for the appliance to maintain cooler temperatures. This frost buildup can cause a large waste of valuable energy and cost you quite a bit of money on your monthly bills. If you do not have air conditioning and live in a hot, humid climate, it is even more imperative that you regularly defrost your refrigerator. Do not defrost the fridge with a knife as you could puncture the cooling pipes. Switch it off and allow the ice to thaw. If you need to defrost the fridge urgently, pour some hot water on the ice. 

Refrigerated Goods





  • Baking soda

  • Water

  • Rubber gloves

  • Damp dish cloth

  • Plastic or silicone spatula

  • Spray bottle

  • White vinegar



Empty the oven: Remove your oven racks, pizza stone, oven thermometer, and anything else you have inside the oven. Set aside.

Make a baking soda paste: In a small bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio of both as needed until you have a spreadable paste. For me this took about 3 tablespoons of water to get the desired spreadable consistency.

Coat your oven: Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements. I used gloves for this portion as my oven was pretty grimy. It helped me really get in there and coat the dirtiest nooks and crannies without having to worry about all that grime under my nails. The baking soda will turn a brownish color as you rub it in; it also might be chunkier in some places than others. That is fine. Just try to coat the whole oven to the best of your abilities, paying extra attention to any particularly greasy areas.

Let it sit overnight: Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight.

Clean your oven racks: Meanwhile, clean your oven racks. See the full cleaning tutorial here.

Wipe out the oven: After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can. Use a plastic or silicone spatula to help scrape off the paste as needed. I found that the damp cloth was enough for me, but a spatula might come in handy in those hard-to-reach places.

Spray a little vinegar: Put a little vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.

Do a final wipe down: Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking-soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone. Add more water or vinegar as needed while wiping to really get the oven clean and shiny.

Replace your oven racks: Replace the oven racks and anything else you keep in your oven, and you're done!


Even if you only fix meals a few times a week, your cooktop or stovetop can harbor remnants of every meal you make. The most particular housekeepers can become distraught at the seemingly endless chore of keeping cooktops clean, even with a daily wipe down. An overflowing pot or oil build up can present a complicated mess to attempt to remove.


Conventional stove tops are notoriously difficult to clean. Their size, shape and frequently caked-on reminders of meals long past can make all the elbow grease in the world seem like a waste of time. Cleaning your stovetop can save you money because it will usually help the unit last longer. However, there is no need for harsh chemicals that can damage surfaces and make you sick. Many people are now transitioning to green methods to clean their cooktop.

Here are eleven easy methods to make your cooking surfaces sparkle like new again without you breaking a sweat. Before you begin, refer to the owner’s manual that came with your cooktop.


1. Ammonia

While ammonia is not ideal for cleaning everything, nothing tackles the baked on grime on burners better. With this method, there is less work for you to do. Just put the removable burners into a zipper-top bag, add ammonia and seal. Leave everything on your porch overnight. The next day, rinse them off and see how they shine.


2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Few other cleaners pack this amount of power. Brush off and discard any remaining debris on your stove. Sprinkle the complete surface with baking soda and then drizzle with the peroxide. Watch as it fizzes and breaks down the baked-on gunk. Simply rinse and dry once the stains have been lifted.


3. Boiling Water

If you have no extra products around the house but need to clean your cooktop quickly, try boiling water. Gently and carefully pour the boiling water over the dirty surface. If you let it sit until it cools, the tough stuff will simply wipe away. If necessary, scrub stubborn areas with a bit of soap on a sponge. This is a simple and eco-friendly solution because it uses completely natural and chemical-free elements.


4. Salt and Baking Soda

Blend one tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of salt. Next, add one tablespoon of water and mix the paste together. Dip a rag into the mixture and scour gunk away. Pour mixture on overflows. It absorbs liquid and makes clean up a breeze.


5. Vegetable or Olive Oil

This method calls for you to pour a little vegetable or olive oil out onto your stovetop. Using a cloth, scrub the oil into the caked-on messes. Then spray it all down with an all-purpose cleaner. This works wonders on the hood of your stove as well.


6. Soap and Water

For this method, remove electric burners from the stovetop. Using a cloth and a little mild dish soap and water, rinse any residue from the coils. For any cooked-on food debris that does not come off, mix a thick paste of equal parts baking soda and water, and then apply it to the troublesome spot. After about 20 minutes, scrub and rinse the burner. Replace the burner after it is thoroughly dry.


7. White Vinegar

White vinegar is the ultimate cleanser. It is used to clean glass stovetops by loosening streaks and stains. Just mix one part white vinegar to two parts tap water in an unused spray bottle. Next, spray the solution on your glass cooktop and wipe. The acidity of vinegar helps remove the grime. You can use this mixture for every day cleaning and disinfecting around your kitchen.


8. Baking Soda and Lemon

Lemons have natural grease cutting characteristics, and baking soda has natural antibacterial properties. Baking soda contains extremely fine particles that help remove baked-on stains but is gentle enough not to scratch the glass. Simply sprinkle a handful of baking soda on a glass stovetop. Then rub the surface using a slice of lemon. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any remnants of the baking soda particles and lemon pulp.


9. Dish Soap and Baking Soda

Combine equal parts of dish soap and baking soda in a small bowl. Mix it together until it creates a frosting-like consistency with a slightly foamy texture. Next, apply the mixture to drip pans generously. Scrub down on the pans to loosen up the grime. Transfer the drip pans to zipper-top bags for about an hour, then move the pans from the bags and scrub the gunk away.


10. Commercial Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaner works well for cleaning gas stovetops. Place the removable parts on a newspaper outside or in a well-ventilated area and spray with a commercial oven cleaner. Leave them coated for a few hours or overnight. Next, scrub the burners in hot, soapy water. Use the rough side of a sponge on non-coated grates. For coated ones, use a soft cloth. Let the pieces dry completely before you replace them.


11. Razor Scraper

For those tough-to-remove burned-on stains, try using a scraper. All you need to do is simply hold the razor blade at an angle to the stovetop and firmly scrape away the residue. Once you’re done chipping the burned-on stains off of your burners, you can simply wipe away remaining residue as usual.


Prior to trying any of these methods, make sure that the stovetop is cool. With a damp paper towel, wipe away any loose crumbs. Your cooktop can look new again with these helpful cleaning tips. Remember to clean it after each use to avoid having to do a thorough, deep clean again. Regularly buffing your stovetop helps make it easier to deep clean. Be sure to continue regularly cleaning off the burners in order to prevent oils from building up and damaging your unit.


The longer you delay cleaning your cooktop, the more that grime can build up. Keeping it clean is critical from an aesthetic and a practical standpoint. Without proper maintenance, fuel ports and hood vents can clog, causing damage. Once you thoroughly clean your stovetop, maintain it after every use to avoid having to deal with a heavy cleaning job again.