January Home Tips

None of these are all that exciting, but they will leave you with a gratifying sense of satisfaction that you’re doing right by your home, your wallet, and your time:

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Are your emergency devices still working and fully charged? Do they need a new battery?
  • Change the air filter. New Year, new you. Keep your HVAC, home, and yourself happy this year and change this every three months, at least. So easy to forget. One idea is to pick up a subscription to FilterSnap to make your life more convenient – they’ll deliver to your door at regular intervals so you don’t have to remember.
  • Change the water filter in your fridge (if you have a refrigerator that dispenses water).
  • Unclog any drains in the house. There are multiple ways people do this, ranging from snakes to Drano. I prefer the Zip-It.
  • Refrigerator maintenance. Vacuum the coils of the fridge condenser to ensure it’s operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Buy some de-ice melt or road salt. Make sure you’re not caught with your pants down when the snow and ice hit this year. Buy the salt before you need it. I need to heed my own thoughts here, because I always forget.

Fall Maintenance

  • Insulate exposed pipes that may freeze in the winter. Don’t forget pipes in the garage, & crawl space.
  • Clean range hood filters, fan blades and housing. Clean these several times a year and remove flammable grease.
  • Deep clean the refrigerator and vacuum the condenser coils. Remove old food and clean the fridge, inside and out. Vacuum the condenser coils if you can reach them.
  • Replace weather stripping on doors and windows. A home can quickly lose heat in the winter through air leaks, resulting in a higher energy bill.
  • Clean air conditioning filters. Cleaning the filters can help extend the life of this system. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This monthly task is very important for the safety of your family. Before the season of candles, fireplace usage and cooking, be sure your alarms are working. Also, be sure you have the right type of fire extinguishers.
  • Clean out the fireplace. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have a professional chimney sweep annually inspect and remove and clean. A professional can also inspect the outside of the chimney to check for leaks and cracks.

Picking a Home Warranty

The Texas economy is on fire, and companies are flooding into our state to sell home warranties. Lucky for you, this industry is regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Companies have to be licensed and approved.

It’s easy to check if the company that is soliciting your business is here legally: just go to TREC.com and check if they are licensed.

Many companies advertise that they are local, when they are not. Some companies boast that they use only local service companies (everyone in the industry does). These companies have much to lose if they do not do an honest and professional job when they service your home. You can rest assured that if they don’t perform, your home warranty company is there to back YOU until the repair is completed.

Without a home warranty, service costs needed for repairs are very expensive. Most appliances and equipment are now operating with computer boards and more sophisticated parts than in previous years.

Buy some peace of mind to cover costs you generally don’t budget for. Trust the home warranty industry; we are here to help you!

Maintenance with Changing Seasons

The dog days of summer are barking and Labor Day is just around the bend, signaling the end of yet another epic season in the sun. But before you give your flamingo pool float one last hurrah, take a break with some home maintenance prep for the changing season ahead.

We know what you’re thinking: It’s still summer, and you’re being a buzzkill! Why worry now about what you can do next month? Well, as it turns out, some home maintenance tasks are best tackled in August, before temperatures start dipping.

  • Check your washing machine connections. With the kids home from school and loads of sweaty garments to clean, your washing machine has likely taken a major beating this summer.
  • Clear the gutters.┬áSummer thunderstorms can clog your gutters and lead to costly water damage down the road. Properly functioning gutters direct water away from your home, but muck and debris can cause water to collect around your home’s foundation.
  • Deal with wasps, mosquitoes, and other insects. Wasp activity peaks in late summer; these insects become more aggressive and are likely to sting in, you guessed it, September”! So you’ll want to spray for wasps and eliminate them, pronto.
  • Mosquito control patrol your property for stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. First drain any areas that are holding water-this step alone should significantly cut down on mosquito activity. Invest in forms of mosquito repellent like citronella plants, mosquito traps, and bug zappers.

Budgeting for heating and cooling

When you are budgeting for home costs…remember that heating and cooling account for about 50% of your home energy costs.

Here are some easy ways to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency and lower your utility bills:

Purchase a programmable thermostat.

One of the easiest ways to save money on your utility bills is to purchase a programmable thermostat and use it correctly.

Change your air filter regularly.

Dirty air filters block the airflow through your system making it work harder and also less efficient. Once a month, take out your air filter and inspect it for debris. If you cannot see light passing through your filter, it is probably time for a change.

Clean the coils on your air conditioning unit.

Keeping the AC coils on your outdoor unit clean is another easy way to keep your system from running inefficiently. The fan in your outdoor unit pulls warm air in and over the coils, but it also pulls in dirt and debris.Keep the coils clean by clearing any debris from the outside of your unit. Next, shut off the power to your system and vacuum the outside “fins” on the unit with your vacuum’s soft bristle attachment, or rinse them with a hose.

If you think your coils need a more intensive cleaning, call an HVAC professional to service your unit.

Check your home’s ducts and registers.

These are the pathways that air travels throughout your home. In order to keep the airflow in your home at maximum capacity, vacuum your registers whenever you see dust accumulating on the register.

Replace your HVAC equipment with newer, high-efficiency equipment.

If your system is 10 to 15 years old, it may need to be replaced. Consider replacing your unit with a high-efficiency unit that maximizes energy savings. This may be costly up front, but if you can afford to make the investment, it pays off big time in energy savings over time.