Monthly Home Maintenance Tips

January – Happy New Year

  1. Check the operation of all ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets by pushing the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out indicating the receptacle is operating properly. Also, check the GFCI and AFCI safety breakers in the electrical panels. The buttons are typically white, yellow, or purple. Once the breaker has been tripped, move the breaker all the way to the “Off” position and then flip to the “On” position. If any breakers or outlets do not reset, contact a licensed electrical contractor to further evaluate.
  2. Double check insulation around exterior pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures. Make sure water cannot seep under the insulation.
  3. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.

February – Be a Sweetheart to your house

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Check the charge and expiration date of all fire extinguishers. Since they are relatively low in cost, we recommend replacing any questionable extinguishers in your home and garage. If you do not have any in your home, it is a great idea to have at least one.
  3. Leaky toilet tanks not only increase your utility bills, but also cause costly water damage to your flooring. Here is a quick trick to test for leaks: Add 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. This means it is time to replace the flappers in the tanks.
  4. Start planning for spring time cleaning and home improvement projects. Your house will love you for it.

March – Welcome, spring

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. As you start to think about spring cleaning, remember your heating and cooling duct. Did you know you can have them professionally cleaned and sanitized? This can help take care of those allergies before they take over. This is also an ideal time to have the dryer duct cleaned as well.
  3. Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn on the water and put your finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of the water, that pipe may have damage and needs to be replaced.
  4. Daylight saving time begins on Sunday March 102019. Test all smoke alarms and CO detectors and make sure they all have fresh, new backup batteries. Remember to reset all clocks. Especially the clock on the coffeemaker!

April – Time for some spring cleaning

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Time to start your spring cleaning chores. While the windows are open, it is a perfect time to inspect all screens. This includes 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. Spring is a great time to check and clean all of the gutters and gutter downspouts. Be careful with this. If the gutters are too high up, you may want to consider contacting a certified handyman.
  4. If you get a nice tax refund, then consider putting the extra funds into a nice house project. Remember to look for good references, reviews and contractor insurance when hiring a contractor. The cheapest route is not always the best route.

May – Enjoy the outdoors and get ready for summer

  1. Consider contacting a Licensed HVAC contractor to perform routine maintenance service this month. This will ensure your HVAC system is in tip-top shape for the hot summer months.
  2. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  3. Inspect the roof . If you are not comfortable getting on the roof, then we recommend contacting a reputable roofing company or handyman to inspect for any debris, roof leaks or damage.

June – The start of summer

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Spring and summer are the best times to have your chimney sweep inspected and cleaned. If there is damage, this allows plenty of time to have the damage repaired.
  3. Prune trees and shrubs so that the growing branches do not come into contact with your exterior of your home. Oak trees are an exception to this tip. Due to oak wilt, these trees should be pruned before February 1 and after June 30
  4. Spray down the exterior of the house. There are several types of cleaning products made for spraying the house with a hose-end canister sprayer or a high-pressure washer.
  5. Time to do a maintenance check on irrigation systems. Look for leaks or broken heads and keep an eye out for water restrictions to make sure your time is programmed properly.
  6. Tip for finding plumbing and irrigation leaks: Go to the water meter and carefully remove the meter lid. Make sure there are no plumbing fixtures or appliances running in the house. You will see a black or red triangle (for newer areas, yours may be digital). Watch the triangle or digital screen for approximately two minutes. If the meters do not move, then you should not have any water leaks. If it does move, then you may have a leak. Next, write down the number on the water meter, keep appliances off and come back in 30 minutes. 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. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Now is a good time to clean the AC unit condensate drain line. Running the AC unit removes a certain amount of moisture from the air and sweats it off at the evaporator coil. This moisture drains off into the condensate drain line. To prevent algae and dirt from blocking the condensate drain line, pour a cup of bleach or white vinegar down the line to keep it clean. Depending on your unit, this could be relatively easy process. Other units it may be more difficult and require a HVAC contractor or certified handyman. There are many tutorial videos online to demonstrate this process.
  3. Take a walk around the foundation perimeter of the home. Look for unusually sized cracks in the exposed foundation walls. Any crack wider than 1/8 inch may need to be further evaluated by the builder or foundation expert. Hairline cracks on the concrete are common and not alarming.
  4. Check the soil around the base of the foundation. The soil should be right up against the foundation wall and you should be able to see at least four to six inches of foundation wall. If the soil looks like it is shrinking or drying away from the foundation, then you may need to do 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 expansive clay, which is why 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 anything that can potentially cause pest intrusion. This includes stacking firewood away from the house, cutting vegetation off at least 10 inches away from exterior walls of the house, cutting tree limbs back at least three feet if possible, moving wood or debris away from the house, checking wood deck conditions, and replacing loose or deteriorated wood boards on the deck.

August – Summer is almost over, but the heat is not 

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Clean underneath the 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 when working outside.
  4. Try to keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible.
  5. Electric utility companies are in their peak demand season. Adjust the thermostat to around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day if no one is home to save on utility bills and help keep demand down.

September – Ready for football season 

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Time to break out the grill and do some cleaning. Get ready for Sunday BBQ and games.
  3. Clean and store any garden tools. Tools like shovels and rakes store best with a cleaning and a shot of WD-40 on the exposed metal.
  4. Find a nice day to pressure wash the driveway and sidewalks.

October – Prep you home for fall

  1. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Time to get ready for Trick-or-Treaters. Check around the front walk way and front porch to look for any obstacles that may be a tripping hazard.
  3. Fall is a great time to check and clean all of the gutters and gutter downspouts. If the gutters are too high up, you may want to consider contacting a certified handyman.
  4. We recommend homeowners drain and flush the water heater at least once a year. Depending on the location, this can be a relatively easy process. If the water heater is in a difficult area to reach, contact a licensed plumber to perform.
  5. Check outside plumbing fixtures for leaks. In addition, make sure they are insulated and have freeze boxes available to install when temperatures begin to drop.

November – Holidays are here

  1. Daylight saving time ends on November 4, 2018. This is a good time to change the backup batteries in the smoke alarms and CO detectors and check the charge on fire extinguishers.
  2. Change the return air filters in your HVAC system. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  3. We 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. Also,  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 the weather in 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. It is recommended that the air return filter be changed every four to six weeks, depending on use and conditions.
  2. Drain and remove any unused garden hoses and store away.
  3. Make sure all exterior hose bibs are covered and not dripping.
  4. Cover and/or bring inside all outdoor plants that may freeze.
  5. Make sure there are plenty of good batteries for flashlights. Candles are nice to have on hand, 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 pipes in the attics or 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 on sinks and bathtubs to help prevent frozen pipes.

Make a list of all service contractors that you use and keep it handy. We always recommend having at least three contractor names for all fields.