Monthly Home Maintenance Tips

January- Ready to Start the New Year

  1. Check the operation of all ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets by pushing the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out at that time indicating the receptacle is operating properly. Also check the GFCI and AFCI safety breakers in the electrical panels. The buttons are typical White, Yellow, or Purple. One the breaker has been tripped move the breaker all the way to the “Off” position and thin flip to the “On” position. Make sure you don’t have any computers in the middle of saving your greatest Novel before tripping the breakers. If any breakers or outlets don’t reset then recommend contact a licensed electrical contractor to further evaluate.
  2. Double check insulation around exterior pipes that are exposed to freezing weather to be certain that water cannot seep under the insulation.
  3. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months.

February-Be a Sweet Heart to Your House

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months.
  2. Check the charge on any fire extinguishers. They will have expiration dates, but since they are relatively low in cost, it is advisable to replace any questionable extinguishers in your home and garage. If you don’t have any it’s a great idea to have at least one in the house.
  3. Leaky toilet tanks do more than increase your utility bills; they can cause costly water damage to your flooring. Try this quick trick, add some red food coloring to the water in the tank, and wait about an hour. If you come back and the water in the bowl is pink, you have a leak. If so then it’s time to replace the flappers in the tanks.
  4. Start planning any spring time cleanings or projects for the house. It will love you for it.

March- Time to Welcome Spring

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months.
  2. Before you start your spring cleaning, think about your Heating and cooling duct work, did you know you can have them professionally cleaned and sanitized? Head those allergies off before they take over. This is also a good time to have the dryer duct cleaned as well.
  3. Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and put your finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of the water that may mean there is damage to that pipe that will need to be replaced.
  4. Sunday March 12th 2017 is daylight savings time day. Test all smoke alarms and CO detectors and make sure they all have fresh new backup batteries. Make sure to reset all of the clocks on the appliances, especially the clock on the coffeemaker.

April-Time for Spring Cleaning

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months.
  2. Start your spring cleaning chores. White the windows are open, it is a good time to inspect all your screens, both your window screens and vent screens to your attic or crawlspace.  Repair any tears or bent frames, to wash your screens, lay them on a picnic table or saw horses and scrub with a soft brush and mild detergent.  Make sure they dry completely before replacing.
  3. Now is a good time to check and clean all of the gutters and gutter downspouts. Be careful with this. If the gutters are high up you may want to consider contacting a certified Handy Man to do this.
  4. If you’re getting back a nice tax refund then consider putting the extra funds in a nice house project. Remember, any contractor you hire should always have good references and reviews and contractor insurance. The cheapest is not always the best.

May-Time to enjoy the outside and get ready for summer

  1. Consider contacting a Licensed HVAC contractor to perform a routine maintenance service on the HVAC system, so that your system will be in tip top shape for the summer months.
  2. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  3. Inspect the roof . If you are not comfortable getting on the roof then would recommend contacting a reputable roofing company or handy man to inspect the roof for any debris, roof leaks or damage.

June- The start of summer

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  2. Spring and summer are the best time to have your chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney. If there is damage, this will allow plenty of time to have the damage repaired.
  3. Prune trees and shrubs so that the growing branches do not come in contact with your exterior of your home.
  4. Now is a good time to spray down the outside of the house exterior. There are several types of cleaning products that are for spraying the house with a hose end canister sprayer or a high pressure washer.
  5. Time to do a maintenance check on any irrigation systems. Look for leaks or broken heads. If any water restrictions, then make sure your time is programmed properly.
  6. A good tip to see if there any plumbing or irrigation leaks is to go to the water meter, carefully remove the meter lid(careful, these lids are heavy) and look at the meter. Make sure there are no plumbing fixtures or appliances like dishwashers running. There should be a black or red triangle. The newer ones are digital. Stare at the triangle or digital read out for approximately 2 minutes. If the meters do not move then you should be good for no water leaks. If it does move, then there is possibly a leak. If so, then write down the read out on the water meter. With everything off come back in 30 minutes and see what the number says. If the number has increased then it may be time to call a plumber to further evaluate.

July- Things are heating up

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  2. Now is a good time to clean the AC unit condensate drain line. While running the AC unit removes a certain amount of moisture from the air and sweats it off at the evaporator coil and drains it off at the condensate drain line. To prevent algae and dirt from blocking the condensate drain line, it’s a good idea to pour a cup of bleach or white vinegar down the line to keep it clean. This can be, on some units, a relatively easy process. Other units it may be more difficult and may require a HVAC contractor and certified handy man. There are many online videos and websites that can show you how to do this.
  3. Take a walk around the foundation perimeter of the home. Look for unusual size cracks in the exposed foundation walls. Any crack wider than 1/8 inch or larger may to be further evaluated by the builder or foundation expert. Hairline cracks on the concrete are typically common and typical.
  4. Check the soil around the base of the foundation. The soil should typical be right up against the foundation wall and you should be able to see at least 4-6 inches of foundation wall. If the soil looks like it is shrinking or drying away from the foundation them it may need some watering. If you have an irrigation system, check to make sure it is irrigating properly around the soil. If no irrigation system, then consider purchasing soaker hoses to use around the foundation. Most soil in the Central Texas Area is an expansive clay soil type and it is important to maintain the moisture levels in the soil to keep it stable.
  5. Check around the outside walls for any pest. Clean up any conditions that can potentially cause pest intrusion. Stack firewood away from the house. Cut any vegetation off away from the house away at least 10 inches away from exterior walls. Cut tree limbs back at least 3 feet if possible. Move any wood or debris away from the house. Check wood deck conditions. If any loose or deteriorated wood boards at the deck then replace them.

August- Summer is almost over but still Hot outside

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  2. Clean underneath range hood. Remove and clean or replace range hood filters.
  3. Outside temperatures in August and September can reach into the triple digits. Remember to drink lots of water if working outside.
  4. Try to keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible.
  5. The electric utility company are hitting there peak demand season and any help that consumers can give them will help keep demand down. Adjusting the thermostat to around 78-80 degrees F during the day if no one is home is a way to save on electric utility

September- Ready for some Football

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months.
  2. Time to break out the grill and do some cleaning on it. Get it ready for Sunday BBQ and games.
  3. Put away and clean any garden tools. Tools like shovels and rakes fair better with a cleaning and a shot of WD 40 on the exposed metal.
  4. A good time to pressure wash the driveway and sidewalks.

October- Time to get ready for Fall

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  2. Time to get ready for Trick or Treaters. Check around the front walk ways and front porches and look for any obstacles that may be a trip and fall hazard.
  3. Now is a good time to check and clean all of the gutters and gutter downspouts. Be careful with this. If the gutters are high up you may want to consider contacting a certified Handy Man to do this.
  4. Draining and flushing the water heater is recommended at least once a year. Depending on the location this can be a relatively easy process. If it looks to complicated or any a difficult area to reach then recommend contacting a licensed plumber to perform this.
  5. Check outside plumbing fixtures for leaks and make sure they are insulated and have available freeze boxes to install when temperatures begin to drop.

November- Gateway to the Holidays

  1. Time to get ready for the Daylight Savings Fall Back time. It happens on November 5th, A good time to change the backup batteries in the smoke alarms and CO detectors. Also a good time to check the charges on Fire extinguishers.
  2. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  3. Recommend having the furnace(s) serviced and evaluated so that they are running at peak performance for the winter months.
  4. Inspect weather-stripping around doors and windows and repair or replace if necessary. Caulk exterior joints around windows and doors. Caulking helps keep your house weather-tight and lowers heating bills.
  5. Time to cover outside plumbing fixtures.
  6. Depending on your area it may be time to turn off the irrigation system.
  7. If traveling for the holidays make sure you have a plan for outdoor and indoor plants.

December – Winter is coming and Happy Holidays

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. Thirty days is the longest you should wait, especially during peak usage months
  2. Drain and remover any unused garden hoses and store away.
  3. Make sure all exterior hose bibs are covered and not dripping.
  4. Make a plan to cover or bring inside all outdoor plants that may freeze.
  5. Make sure there are plenty of good batteries for flashlights. Candles are good to have but be careful of open flames.
  6. If you live in a home with a sub floor crawl space it may be a good idea to crawl under, if safe and check condition of pipes. Exposed pipe in the attics are crawlspaces should be insulated. Contact a certified or licensed contractor to perform this if necessary.
  7. If temperatures drop below freezing, make sure to open the cabinets under the sinks and drip the faucets at the sinks and bathtubs to help prevent frozen pipes.

Keep a list of all service contractors that you use and keep it handy. It’s always recommended to have at least 3 contractors’ names for all fields.