Appliance Maintenance 2017

With the holidays over and we are a month into the New Year, now is a good time to consider adding “keeping up on home maintenance to your resolutions.  We can help with a checklist of items to maintain routinely to help you avoid future issues and make your home warranty work.

  1. CHANGE YOUR FILTERS

We know you hear this all the time, but it reduces your energy bills, keeps your home cleaner and makes your  Heating and Cooling system last longer. A filter rule to follow is if you can see through the filter it will only filter very large items (a dear old boss of mine used to say only filters the dead mice.  Since in the Southwest we live in dust bowls you defiantly need at least a 1” pleated filter.  It must be changed at least every two months and if you have pets once a month.

  1. TEST THE CARBON MONOXIDE AND SMOKE DETECTORS

The consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every year to ensure they are properly working. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the of the home.  If your home has more than one detector most likely they are on a circuit so when you change one battery you must change them all or the one beeping will continue. Again, because we live with a lot of dust, make sure to vacuum the detectors every 3 to 6 months. Dust getting in the detectors can move when the air comes on whether cool or warm causing the alarm to think it is smoke causing the unit to beep at inopportune times, say 2 AM.

3. CHECK AND CLEAN THE RANGE HOOD FAN

Over time your range hood fan may become blocked with grease and grime so that it loses its effectiveness. If you cook over gas this is extremely important to have your hood fan venting to the outside.  There are tutorials online that show how to clean this filter with simple natural items such as boiling water, baking soda, and a good de-greasing dish soap.

4.VACUUM REFRIGERATOR COILS

This simple task can extend the life of your refrigerator.  It will make the refrigerator operate more efficiently reducing utility bills. Dust or pet hair on the coils can cover them and cause them to overheat burning out condensing unit causing the refrigerator to need replacement.

Stay tuned next month for more items to pay attention to.

Reduce Health and Safety Issues During the Holidays!

We Americans always equate the holidays with food, family and football.  Baking, cooking, sharing and enjoying food with family & friends, but you hate that noisy hood vent fan.  You tend to leave it off?  If you are cooking with a natural gas not using your hood vent becomes a health issue and even deadly. Gas kitchen ranges releasing unvented combustion products into the kitchen are common in many homes. Studies show carbon monoxide concentrations in the kitchen are elevated when the stove is used without using the range hood.  The main pollutants released from a kitchen range are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water vapor.

How serious can these pollutants be?

 Carbon monoxide is a deadly toxin. In one study, 51 percent of kitchen ranges tested raised CO concentrations in the room above the EPA standard of 9 parts per million. Five percent had carbon monoxide levels above 200 parts per million. How serious are the other pollutants? Nitrogen dioxide is a respiratory irritant produced when the nitrogen in the air combines with oxygen in the burner. The increased incidence of asthma in the U.S. suggests a link between unvented gas heaters and health problems. What about carbon dioxide and water vapor? Carbon dioxide is a non-toxic gas produced during complete combustion. At higher concentrations CO2 can cause drowsiness, headache, and lead to a “stuffy” feeling in a home. Excess water vapor can lead to problems with mold, wood rot, and peeling paint.

Carbon monoxide from kitchen ranges is a common reason for elevated concentrations of CO in homes. Kitchen ranges are required to produce no more than 800 parts per million (ppm) carbon monoxide in an air-free sample of the flue gases. Continued operation of a kitchen range producing 800 ppm in a tight house without extra ventilation will cause carbon monoxide levels to rise quickly to unacceptable levels. Field technicians report most kitchen ranges can be tuned to produce less than 50 ppm.

How can the adverse health effects from using a gas range be reduced?

  1. Always follow operating instructions carefully:
    • Do not block air vent holes.
    • Do not cover the vent holes on the bottom of the oven with foil.
    • Keep the unit clean.
    • Do not operate with the oven door open.
    • NEVER USE A KITCHEN RANGE TO HEAT THE HOME!
  1. Always use the kitchen range hood fan, vented to the outside, when operating the kitchen range.
  2. Have the range serviced when:
    • Burner flames are not blue.
    • The burners do not light properly.
    • The burners or pilot produce soot.
    • Carbon monoxide concentrations in the house increase during operation of the range.
  3. Evacuate the house, and call for assistance from outside the house if there is a smell of natural gas or LPG.
  4. Install a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector in the home.

How important is installation and use of an exhaust hood vented to the outdoors?

VERY! Even when the kitchen range is properly tuned, there will be some carbon monoxide produced along with carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water vapor. Kitchen range manufacturers recommend installation of a range hood to exhaust the combustion products along with cooking odors, grease, and moisture produced during cooking. Failure to use the range hood exhaust fans results in indoor air pollution.

What should be considered when purchasing an exhaust hood?

It must seal tightly and vent to the outdoors, operate quietly, and have sufficient capacity to remove cooking fumes. A caution: exhaust fans depressurize the house and may cause down drafting of vented furnaces, water heaters, boilers, fireplaces, and vented room heaters. Adequate make-up air into the house must be provided for the kitchen exhaust hood. Have a qualified heating contractor install the exhaust hood and run a “worst case” down drafting test to ensure that all the systems work correctly.

We at National Home Warranty want you, your family & friends to have a safe, healthy and fun holiday season with lots of food and entertaining. We sincerely hope you will take these suggestions to heart when celebrating.

It’s Summer-How does your A/C Blow?

You wouldn’t drive your car for years without a tune up and expect it to keep running efficiently would you? Don’t forget the tune up on your Air Conditioner or Cooler. It is going to get hot. The sooner the better. Call Air Tropics and have it checked out. Better yet call me for a Home Warranty and our $100 service maintenance agreement will cover our vendor coming out to clean the coil, check the refrigerant levels and generally make your air conditioner run more efficiently. Mention to Air Tropics that you are a Military member or Veteran, First Responder’s let them know. They have specials for you. OH YES and CHANGE THAT FILTER EVERY MONTH-we do live in a Dust Bowl!

No air gets through this filter and it will burn out your motor and compressor. This filter burned out a blower motor and the compressor.  $1000 Repair1  $12 filter.

National Home Warranty USA's photo.

Happy New Year of Home Maintenience

Happy New Year!

Now that the celebrating of a New Year has ended and 2016 has actually begun, it’s a great time to get your home-maintenance items in place.

Here are a few easy ones for your home during this cold weather that has hit the desert:

  1. NO CHIRPING —What’s more annoying than a chirping smoke detector? Before it begins, give it a look. Test the batteries in your smoke detector, and, if needed, change them out. Also make sure you vacuum the detector. Living in the desert means dust everywhere. Removing that dust can save the chirping from even happening.  When your heater turns on it can move the dust around and cause the detector to sense movement and make it start chirping.  In homes built after 1996 or so the smoke detectors are put on a circuit so that if one goes off you must check and change the battery for each detector in the home or it won’t stop chirping.
  1. CHIMNEY SAFETY — Chimney fires are easy to prevent with a little maintenance, so before you light that first fire of the winter, check your chimney for buildup (or better yet, have it professionally cleaned). Make sure there are no obstructions to cause smoke to back up inside the house as well as make sure your flue is open before starting the fire.
  1. PLANT RESCUE — Bring any warm-weather plants indoors or to the garage, so they have a fighting chance to survive the winter (unless you have already killed them … RIP). Add mulch to your flower beds to create a warm layer for the plants. It’s also a good idea to have a few blankets or towels ready for your most delicate plants, in case we have some deep or extended freezing weather.
  1. WINTERIZE — Make sure that all crawlspace openings are closed to prevent cold air going under the house and straight to the pipes. Assuming you haven’t done this already, drain and disconnect your garden hoses and wrap/insulate all exterior pipes and install faucet covers to protect your spigots. This includes draining the evaporative cooler line or insulating it as well as any exposed Pool pipes.
  1. FILTER CHANGE — This is a two-minute fix! Hooray! Change out your HVAC air filter. It will help your system run more efficiently and save you some money not only on replacing a unit but utility wise. If you are a renter this is important and will keep your family comfortable.
  1. APPLIANCE TIME — A great indoor project during cold weather is appliance maintenance. Give your kitchen appliances a deep clean, including the refrigerator coils, dryer vents and in the front of the dryer, front load washers clean out the trap in front with a wet/dry vac, the dishwasher filter, and get food off stove and oven coils.

Every model is different, so check your manufacturer’s instructions on how to do it. If you’ve lost the manual, Google the make and model and you’ll likely find a free printable replacement manual. If your fridge has a water filter, check it to see if it’s time for a filter replacement.   A clogged filter can keep the ice maker from working as well.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the 5 P’s-Its freezing in Southern Arizona!

I know you hear it on the Weather Report “Southern Arizona is in for a Hard Freeze so don’t forget to wrap your pipes, cover the plants, bring in the pets and people.  The one that seems to cause the most problem though is one that is never mentioned-circulate your pool filter over night.

Yes-that is when it gets the coldest and if things are going to freeze it will be between mid-night and 8:30 am.  Wrapping the pipes for the pool doesn’t hurt, but running the filter during those hours will keep the water moving so it can’t freeze.  This will keep your pool pipes from freezing and exploding.  These types of issues are not covered by Home Owners Insurance or Home Warranty coverage.

So today and for the next few days change take care of the 5 P’s – People, Pets, Plants, Pipes and Pools.  Life will be less stressful during this upcoming Holiday Season.

 

Slow Drains, Exhaust Fans not working, Smoke Detectors Going Bannanas-Help is on the Way!

Some of the Claim Requests this week could have been avoided with a few simple Hacks.  This saves the service fees that you have to pay and is less expensive .

Drains are running slow? 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup baking soda  mix them and pour them down the drain, Pour 1 cup of distilled vinegar.  Let this mixture bubble and sit for 15 minutes.  While doing that boil a quart of hot water and after the 15 minutes pour the hot water down the drain.  This will dissolve hair, dissolve grease, and make the drain run smoothly.

Exhaust fan is not working?  Take the time to dust and vacuum the fan.  We do live in a dust bowl so these fans suck out bad odors, humidity etc.. so the dust will also be going up these fans.  Enough dust or even dust and humidity will clog that fan from moving.

Finally the smoke detector goes off in little bursts when the Air Conditioner or Heater comes on.  Vacuum or dust the smoke detectors.  Collecting the dust and having air blow over it will cause the alarm to go off.

Also if an smoke detector goes off and won’t stop.  You most likely have more than one detector.  Pull the batteries on all of them.  They are on a circuit so the current must be broken at each to stop alarm.  May as well replace all batteries a the same time once a year.  Note it on a calendar or pick a notable day to remember each year.

Hope some of this information will make your home run smoother and save you money.