Annual Preventative Maintenance
As we start the new year of 2012, it’s appropriate to remind all residents of some preventative maintenance that should be done at the beginning of the year. Skipping this simple and inexpensive maintenance could result in hundreds of dollars of repairs in the future.
I change the batteries in my smoke alarms on New Year’s Day while recovering from the night before. If you did not do this, you should do so in the next week. The effective life of a smoke alarm is ten years. If you have lived in Sun City for ten years or more, you should buy all new smoke alarms and replace your old ones this month.
If you have a basement with a sump pump, there is a discharge hose on the sump pump outlet outside your house. You must remove the discharge hose from the sump pump outlet pipe. If you don’t, water in the hose could freeze and block the water from flowing out into the yard. This plug will increase the back pressure on your sump pump and could burn it out. It also will prevent excess water from being expelled from the basement and could cause a flood.
If you haven’t noticed, there is a shut off valve under every sink and toilet in your house. These are there so that if there is a leak or you need to change a faucet, you can turn off just the affected fixture and not the main water valve to the house. If you ignore this valve, when you finally need it, it will be corroded open and you will not be able to close it. Every year you should go around the house to each shut off valve and turn it off and then back on. This will break away any corrosion that has built up, and the valve should be good until next year when you turn it off again. If you can’t turn the valve, DO NOT use a metal wrench to close it. There is a plastic wrench designed for this job. It is called the Gordon wrench. On their web site:http://www.gordonwrench.com/ there is a video to show how it works and information on ordering one.
You should be changing your furnace filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you can’t remember when you last changed it, go to your furnace and change it now. If you have an electrostatic filter, the element should be washed according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, usually every three months. This week would be a good time to wash the filter element.
If you have a programmable thermostat, it has batteries in it. Mine has two ‘AA’ batteries. They last more than a year, but if you can’t remember when they were last changed, just change them now.
There is also a 9V battery in the garage door keypad. I learned about this a few years ago, when we arrived home from an evening walk and could not open the garage door to get back in the house. This battery lasts about five years, but you should check it during your annual preventative maintenance.
If you have any battery-powered clocks, this would be a good time to check those batteries.
Check your doorbell button by pressing it, and listen for the bell. If the bell does not sound, the button is probably bad and should be replaced. If the plastic button cap is broken or the light is burned out, replace the button.
J. N. pointed out that in the last issue on light bulbs, I misstated the life of incandescent light bulbs. The correct value is about 1000 hours. The CFL bulbs last about 9000 hours, and the LED bulbs last 25000 hours. Enjoy all the savings with the new technology light bulbs.
If you have suggestions for future tips or have questions about maintenance around your home, submit them to email@example.com.