Do-It-Yourself Maintenance Tips
We have compiled a list of relevant and timely articles that focus on helping you do your project yourself. We put these articles on our website in hopes that they would be helpful to other homeowners. Our library of articles is growing, so check back regularly to see "what's new" in the business. These articles are collected from years of experience in the field.
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Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil each month. A dirty filter will cause excessive wear on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type. (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it’s completely dry before you re-install it.)
Keep your outdoor condensing unit free of debris. If you keep grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris to help the unit drain properly.
Make sure your outdoor coil stays in a level position. If the support for your outdoor coil shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it to make sure moisture drains out properly from under the unit.
If the exterior of your outdoor coil becomes dirty, use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact a Swick Home Services representative to schedule maintenance.
Inspect your furnace’s combustion area and vent system before each heating season. If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call Swick Home Services and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.
Winterize a Vacant Home
Preparing your plumbing for the winter is a wise alternative to frozen pipes.
Preventing Kitchen Drain Clogs
A clogged drain can be so frustrating; and, of course, it happens more often than we care to think about! Usually, kitchen sink drains clog because of a build-up of grease. The grease traps food particles, which eventually clogs the drain. Now, the bathroom drains are a different story. They are usually clogged by hair and soap. So, take some simple precautions to avoid this situation.
Scalding Tap Water
Thousands of people are scalded by tap water every year. The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association recommends that the full-on hot water temperature at the faucet be set between 120° and 125° F.
Use cold water when the disposal is operating. You can clean your disposal by grinding ice cubes. When your disposal needs a little freshening, just grind some lemon peels. Of course, you should read your maintenance manual.
Weak or changing water pressure usually points to a mineral buildup in the showerhead. Clean the outlet holes with a pin or unscrew the faceplate and soak it overnight in vinegar. Scrub it clean before replacing it on the showerhead.
Insulate those pipes before it gets cold! When temperatures are at or below freezing, running a steady drop of hot and cold water from your faucets may keep your pipes from freezing. If your pipes are not insulated, they can freeze even with a small flow of water. So, insulate those pipes! But beware; insulated pipes can freeze when there is no water movement to keep the pipes warm.
Roots can be a big problem. They can grow into the joints of the pipes. A little "root-x" flushed down the toilet can reduce the growth of roots in your pipes. It needs to sit in the pipes overnight, so do it before bed.
Clean your humidifier at the beginning of every heating season. Review your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to clean the evaporator pad and external components.
Clean Air Cleaner
The pre-filter and collection cells of an electronic air cleaner should be cleaned at least two or three times per year.
You can help to avoid mildew problems with these preventative actions. Ventilate basements or run dehumidifiers to dry the air, walls and furnishings. Don’t hang wet clothes in your closets. Keep your showers and tubs clean of soap-scum so that they dry quicker. Air-out your bathroom cabinets and kitchen sink cabinet often.
Water Moisture in the Home
Make sure that vents (with a ventilating fan) are installed in your kitchen and baths. These rooms can produce a lot of moisture. Ventilating fans are great but will be of no use if they are not turned on! So make sure that you use them!