Money Saving Maintenance tips

for the Home.

All Forced Air Systems: Conventional filters on forced-air systems should be checked monthly and cleaned or replaced as needed. Electronic filters should be checked monthly and cleaned as needed. Care should be taken to ensure the interior components are installed in the correct orientation after cleaning. Noisy blower sections should be brought to the attention of a technician. All types of furnaces and boilers should be inspected by a qualified technician every year to ensure that all the components are operating properly and no connections are loose or burned.

Gas Furnaces and Boilers: If gas odors can be detected, call the gas company immediately. Do not turn on any electrical equipment or use anything with an open flame. Gas furnaces and boilers should be cleaned and serviced annually. The exhaust pipe should be checked for loose or corroded sections. The heat shield (located where the burner enters the heat exchanger) should be checked to ensure that it is not loose or corroded. Burn marks around the heat shield or soot on the front may indicate a draft or combustion problem. A technician should be contacted.

All Hot Water Systems: Radiators and convectors should be inspected annually for leakage (particularly at the valves). Radiators should be bled of air annually, and as necessary during the heating season. Circulating pumps should be lubricated twice during the heating season. Expansion tanks should be drained annually.

Electric Heat: Electric furnaces and boilers should be inspected by a qualified technician every year to ensure that all the components are operating properly and no connections are loose or burned. The fuses or circuit breakers in some electric systems can be checked by the homeowner. Electric baseboard heaters should be inspected to ensure an adequate clearance from combustibles and they are keep clean. Baseboard heaters which have been mechanically dam-aged should be repaired or replaced.

Oil Furnaces and Boilers: Oil systems should be checked by a qualified technician on an annual basis. Oily soot deposits at registers of forced-air systems may indicate a cracked heat exchanger. A technician should be contacted. The exhaust pipe from the furnace or boiler should be checked for loose connections or corroded sections. The barometric damper on the exhaust pipe should rotate freely. The chimney clean out should be cleared of any debris. The oil tank should be inspected for leaks. Soot on the front of the furnace or boiler may indicate a draft or combustion problem. A technician should be contacted.

Wood Stoves: Wood stove chimneys and flues should be checked for creosote build-up and cleaned at least annually (more frequently depending upon use). Clearance to combustibles around wood stoves should be maintained at all times. If there is any doubt about the safety of a wood stove, contact the city building inspector immediately.

Heating Ducts: Have your ducts cleaned at least every 5 to 6 years, this keeps your furnace clean and will increase life expectance.  Make sure your ducts have no cracks or leaks in the ductwork and tape were needed.

Water Heater: Drain tank at least every year and flush it out.  Remove the elements and soak in vinegar, then scrape off scales.

Electrical Systems: To prevent power outages, be sure there are not too many appliances plugged into one circuit and breaker box is up to code.

Plumbing Systems: Avoid flushing any paper products other than toilet paper down the toilets. Check for corrosion, leaks, and add a clean out compound to system once a year.

Air Conditioning: Check filters every month. Have annual system maintenance done one month before the air conditioning season begins.  Keep the condensing unit free of debris.

Humidifiers: Water levels in humidifiers should be checked and adjusted monthly. Interior components should be replaced on an as needed basis. The pad on drum type humidifiers should be replaced annually. The water supply to humidifiers should be shut off for the summer months and activated for the heating months. On systems with air conditioning or a heat pump, the damper in the humidifier ductwork should be closed during the cooling season.

Microwave Oven: Do not use pans or dishes that are metal or have a metallic trim.  Only use mild soap and/or baking soda to clean the interior (abrasive cleaners or scouring pads can damage the lining).

Refrigerators: Clean the interior shelves, shell and gaskets every three months.  Once a year, clean the coils on the back or underneath.

Range and Oven: To avoid damaging the burners, do not use extra large and heavy cooking pots or pans.  If you have a self-cleaning oven, do not use any other method to clean it.

Garbage Disposal: To clean the disposal, push a full tray of ice cubes through it while running cold water.  Always remember to run water during use and for at least two minutes after you finish.  This prevents stoppages.  Don't put spaghetti and noodles down it.  It can plugged up your sewer lines.

Washer and Dryer: Clean the lint screen after each load of clothes has been dried and the unit is empty.  To adjust the level of your washing machine, turn the legs clockwise to lower them or counterclockwise to raise them.

Hot Tub/Spa/Pool: Keep a proper water level and drain as needed to keep clean.  Consult your pool and spa company for suggestions about maintaining your particular system.

Foundation Walls: Foundation walls should be checked for evidence of deterioration, dampness and movement. Limited dampness from slow moisture migration can be anticipated with most older foundation walls. This will often result in minor surface deterioration. Semi-annual inspections allow for monitoring of this situation.  Cracks and voids should be filled. Filling cracks allows for easy monitoring of movement between inspections. Access hatches should be provided to all crawl space areas.

Wood Framing: Exposed wooden structural components in the basement should be checked for evidence of rot and insect infestation. Deterioration usually results in sagging structural components.

Wall and Ceiling Surface Cracks: Wall and ceiling surface cracks should be monitored for evidence of significant movement.  Minor movement due to normal settling and shrinkage should be anticipated.

Door Frames: Door frames should be checked to determine their square-ness. Door frames showing significant movement over a six month period are normally indications of more serious problems.

Grading: The grading immediately adjacent to the house should be checked to ensure a slope of one inch per foot for the first six feet away from the house (where practical). Catch basins should be cleaned and tested.

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