Hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, pliers, levels, and wire cutters are examples of common household tools that are often left out in places such as basements, garages and tool sheds. Tools are tough, but they are not indestructible and exposure to the elements can take its toll.
Below are some tips on how to take care of your tools and store them properly so that you get optimum use out of them.
1) Clean, Inspect and Care for Tools
Make it a habit to clean tools after each use before you return them to storage. Wipe them down with a rag or old towel and be sure they are free of dust, grease and debris before you put them into their proper places. This is also an opportunity to look for any damage originally defects. Check your tools' handles for splinters, breaks and cracks. Also, make sure that metal parts show no signs of corrosion or rust. Repair or replace any tools that show signs of damage.
2) Store Tools Properly
A proper storage system is a must for hand tools. A toolbox, storage container, shelving unit, or a combination of all of these can be used to keep your tools protected and in peak condition. Ideally, your storage units should be kept somewhere with minimal exposure to moisture and temperature changes. Remember to keep tools in their respective places or hung on designated hangers when a job has been completed.
Power tools such as electric drills, saws, sanders and nailers need routine maintenance just like your hand tools. Because of their mechanical and electrical parts, power tools are more susceptible to problems caused by poor maintenance, dust and debris accumulation and general malfunction. The following are some helpful tips on how to clean and properly store your tools.
1) Keep Power Tools Clean
Dust and grime can bring your power tools to a grinding halt if left unchecked over time. Wipe them clean with a rag after every job has been completed and then store them. Deep clean periodically by using a damp cloth. Get into exhausts and intakes and other hard-to-clean areas with lightly oiled cotton swabs or other slender tools.
2) Store Power Tools Correctly
Keep your power tools protected from dust, moisture and other adverse conditions by storing them properly after use. Keep them in their original cases if possible, or tuck them away in storage drawers or tool chests, preferably in a garage or basement with a moderately controlled climate. This not only protects them; it also keeps them organized so you can easily find the tool you need when you need it.
3) Inspect for Wear or Damage
Periodically inspect power tools for any signs of wear or damage. Pay special attention to power cords. If you see frayed insulation or exposed wires, have the cord repaired or replaced immediately by a professional, unless you have the expertise to do it yourself. Damaged power cords can potentially lead to injury from electric shock or can cause a fire. Also, check the cord’s prongs to see if they are bent or loose. If any are, repair or replace.
4) Lubricate Moving Parts
Keep moving parts lubricated for premium performance. Not only does it keep the mechanics of a tool running smoothly, it also decreases the chance of rust developing. While common machine oil is a good choice, consult your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends or requires a specific type of oil.
5) Keep Batteries in Shape
Cordless, battery-powered tools are convenient and portable and have become very popular for contractors and homeowners alike. To keep them running efficiently and effectively, it is essential for their batteries to be maintained.