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Maintenance Tips

Plumbing Systems

An ounce of prevention will go a long way toward keeping your home's plumbing in top working order and you'll avoid costly repairs! As an example, you should periodically close and open the main water supply shutoff. This is to make sure that they're not stuck in the open position just when you have a water emergency. For tips on reducing vibrating noise in your pipes, contact us with your questions.

Faucets and Sinks

  • Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day! Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks, and always repair, a leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water damage to your fixtures and pipes.
  • Remove and clean your faucet aerators annually to ensure an even flow of water.
  • Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanity is clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.
  • Periodically check sink, tub, and toilet shutoff valves and replace when necessary.
  • Your two-handle faucets can usually be replaced with a single-handle faucet.  Contact us if you have questions.
  • Check the emergency shutoff under your sinks to make sure they're fully open.  Also check rubber washers and seals for deterioration.  These conditions can cause loss of water pressure. Contact us if you have any questions.

Water Heaters

  • Before doing any maintenance on your water heater yourself, be sure to shut off the power, and read your owner's manual.
  • At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance, and draining a gallon or so helps remove the sediment.
  • You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it's mostly yellow or sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out.
  • At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion. 

Toilets

Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should replace the tank ball. Also, check that your supply line and shutoff valve are not leaking.

Clogs

  • To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
  • Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
  • Avoid using caustic liquid drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can't snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so.

Garbage Disposals

If your garbage disposal stops working, before calling a professional, be sure to try the reset switch located in the bottom of most disposals.You can extend the life of your garbage disposal by:

  • Using plenty of cold water when running it
  • Making sure you avoid overloading it
  • Never dispose of things like bones or corn husks
  • Never using a caustic drain opener
  • Use tongs instead of your hands to remove items dropped inside.

Heating Systems

Keeping your heating systems in good working order means your utility bills will be lower, your home will be more comfortable, and you'll need to call for repairs less often.

Maintenance Scheduling

Schedule a maintenance service call before the heating season starts. This can be accomplished by signing up for one of our Service Plan Agreements. If there are any problems with your system, it's better to find out before it's freezing outside!

Filters

Replace your heating air filters every month that they're in use. Operating your system with old, dirty filters means energy is wasted and your system may even be damaged. While you're at it, check and clean the filters in your home's air cleaners and humidifiers.

System Checks

  • If you have a forced air heating system check your furnace's blower compartment and blower coils. Vacuum them if you see dirt and dust there. You should also check fan belt tension, and lubricate fan and motor bearings.
  • If you have a steam system, check the shut-off valve for leaks.
  • Bleed hot water system radiators at least once a year.
  • Don't keep clutter near your furnace. It's a fire hazard, and may keep your system from operating efficiently.
  • To make sure you're getting the most out of your heating system, keep the heating registers and vents throughout the house free of dust, dirt, and pet hair by vacuuming them at least once a year.
  • Listen for odd sounds when your heating or cooling system kicks in. If you hear anything unusual, get in touch with your service professional so you can head off problems before they become serious.
  • In winter months, set your ceiling fan at its slowest speed and reverse it in order to gently push warm air down from the ceiling without generating a breeze.