15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Have (Part 1)

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Plunger: A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems. With a plunger on hand, you can usually get the water flowing again fast. It’s best to have two plungers: one for the sink and one for the toilet.

Combination Wrench Set: One end of a combination wrench is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, so it’s handy to have set of different sizes in both types. For the most leverage, always pull the wrench toward you. Also, avoid over-tightening.

Slip-Joint Pliers: Use these to grab hold of a nail, nut, bolt, and much more. These pliers are versatile because of their jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many things. They also have a built-in slip-joint, which allows you to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

Adjustable Wrench: It can be somewhat awkward to use at first, but an adjustable wrench is ideal when you need wrenches of different sizes. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging a bolt or nut.

Caulking Gun: Caulking is a quick way to seal up gaps in tile, cracks in concrete, and leaks in certain types of piping. Caulking can provide thermal insulation and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
(405) 905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com

We Cover All of the Bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Should you cover your A/C unit for the Winter?

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People tend to have firm opinions about whether or not they should cover their air conditioner for winter, so here’s the skinny on both sides:

Benefits of Covering:

  • Protects your condenser from the elements
  • Provides cover from ice, debris, snow, etc.
  • Prevents your AC from getting “weather-beaten”

Benefits of Not Covering:

  • Deters animals from seeing your AC as a cozy, protected home for the winter
  • Prevents moisture from collecting inside your unit
  • Allows for ventilation

So how can you get the benefits of covering your air conditioner without dealing with the all of the potential consequences? One of the easiest ways you can do this is by just covering the top of your unit. Ideally, you want to prevent damage from above while also allowing for ventilation. You can either use a piece of plywood to protect the top of your unit from falling ice as well as snow accumulation, or you can duct tape a garbage bag around just the top of your system to allow ventilation from the sides as well as cover from the top.  From Arcticac.com

Remember, if you decide to cover your unit, you should make a reminder to yourself to remove the cover in the spring.  You will likely damage your condenser unit if you run the A/C with the cover still in place, obviously costing you far more than any savings reaped from the cover. You may remove power from the outdoor unit as a safety (at the home service panel, if marked, or at the unit disconnect).

Based on the information here and my personal experience, I recommend that you just leave it uncovered.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com

We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Garage Door Safety

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The garage door is the largest moving object in a house. Its parts are under high tension. All repairs and adjustments should be performed by a trained garage door systems technician. To find a technician, visit the International Door Association website. If the garage door appears inoperable or out of plumb, do not attempt to operate the garage door opener. If the door appears plumb, you can perform some basic testing to ensure that your garage door is operating as it should.

Photo-Electric Eyes

Federal law states that residential garage door openers manufactured after 1992 must be equipped with photo-electric eyes or some other safety-reverse feature. If the garage door has an opener, check to see if photo-electric eyes are installed. They should be near the floor, mounted to the left and right sides of the bottom door panel. The beam of the photo-electric eyes should not be higher than 6 inches above the floor.

Non-Contact Reversal Test

This check applies to door systems that are equipped with photo-electric eyes. Standing inside the garage and safely away from the path of the door, use the remote control or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, wave an object in the path of the photo-electric eye beam. The door should immediately reverse and return to the fully-open position.

Contact Reversal Test

This check applies to doors with openers when the opener’s force setting has been properly set, and when the opener reinforcement bracket is securely and appropriately attached to the door’s top section. If you’re concerned that a contact reversal test may cause damage to the garage door or its components, don’t do it.

Otherwise, begin this test with the door fully open. Under the center of the door, place a 2×4 piece of wood flat on the floor in the path of the door. Standing inside the garage but safely away from the path of the door, use the wall push button to close the door. When the door contacts the wood, the door should automatically reverse direction and return to the fully-open position.

If your garage door fails or is slow to respond to any of these tests, contact a qualified technician who can check for any necessary repairs or upgrades.

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Dishwasher Cleanliness during the Holidays

Like everything in your home, your dishwasher needs some attention and maintenance occasionally to keep it in working order and smelling fresh!

The cleaning process is pretty simply with a little bit of direction.

Supplies you will need to clean a dishwasher:

Distilled White Vinegar

Baking Soda

Old soft toothbrush, q-tips, toothpicks

Soft cloth

Paper towels

 

Steps to clean a dishwasher:

  • Start with an empty dishwasher.
  • Fill one side of kitchen sink with distilled white vinegar water, about 1-2 cups vinegar with half a sink of water.
  • Remove the utensil holders and racks. Wipe them down checking  for stuck-on food bits and debris in the bottom of washer.
  • Remove and disassemble the arm and grate and filter, if you have one, from the floor of the dishwasher.  Place in sink to wipe down with damp rag and vinegar water.  Make sure the holes that spray the water out on the blades are clear of tiny bits of food, you can use a toothpick to clear them if necessary.
  • Using paper towels, remove debris and food gunk.
  • Use a damp rag that’s been wet with vinegar water to wipe down inside and edges of door, use a toothbrush or q-tip to get in tiny places. *if you are having trouble removing some gunk, try using a soft toothbrush and a baking soda paste.
  • Reassemble and replace all parts.
  • Run the garbage disposal and dump a cup of ice cubes down while it’s running, to help remove any debris in the garbage disposal.
  • Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and turn it on to Energy or Low Wash. Stop the machine in mid-wash, so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, then turn on to finish cycle. (sometimes I will let it sit over night, and turn it back on to finish when I get up)
  •  When done, wipe out the inside with dry paper towels.
  • Don’t forget to wipe down the outside while you’re at it.  Depending on the type of dishwasher you have,  spray the front of your dishwasher with a mild spray cleaner or stainless steel cleaner.
  • step back and enjoy your clean dishwasher!

Autumn Home Maintenance Tips

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Be sure to:

  • Check and change your furnace filters.
  • Clean and check gutters for leaks, misalignment, or damage (use extra caution when climbing ladders to clean gutters, hang holiday decorations, etc.  Always wear protective gloves when doing outside yard and home work.)
  • Have your furnace serviced by a licensed HVAC contractor.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check and replace home fire extinguishers that have expired.
  • Have rock salt, sand, and snow shovel on hand to keep walkways and driveways passable.
  • Know where your water shut-off valve is in case of frozen, burst pipes.
  • Check plumbing shut-off valves for proper operation.
  • Drain outside faucets and cover with a styrofoam insulator.
  • Winterize your sprinkler system.
  • Drain hot water heater to remove accumulated sediment (consult a licensed plumber prior to performing this maintenance task as older hot water heaters may be better left alone).
  • Check for proper flow of water in your faucet aerators.  If the flow is reduced, clean the aerator screens.
  • Check the attic for evidence of any leaks, check insulation and add any if needed, and check for evidence of birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc.  Check for proper ventilation.  Repair as needed.
  • Check countertops for separations at sinks and backsplashes; re-caulk where required.
  • Check for loose or missing grout or caulking in tiled areas; re-grout or re-caulk if needed.
  • Check shower doors and enclosures for proper fit, and adjust if needed.  Check caulking and re-caulk if needed.
  • Check caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors.  Check window and door screens.  Adjust or replace if needed.
  • Check fireplace flue, and clean if needed.  Check fireplace brick and mortar for cracks or damage.  Repair as needed.
  • Lubricate garage door rollers.
  • Remove debris from around air conditioning units, and clean with a garden hose (be sure to disconnect the unit from power  before cleaning it or have your licensed HVAC contractor perform this service for you).  Remove window air conditioner or protect with weatherproof cover.
  • Clean refrigerator coils.
  • Check the roof for leaks and damaged/loose/missing shingles.  Check vents and louvers for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.  Check flashing around roof stacks, vents, and skylights for leaks.  Repair as needed.
  • Clean and check chimney for deteriorating bricks and mortar.  Check for leaks.  Check for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.  Repair as needed.
  • Check exterior walls for deteriorating bricks and mortar.  Check siding for damage or rot.  Check painted surfaces for flaking.  Repair as needed.
  • Trim shrubbery around walls.  Remove tree limbs, branches, or debris that can attract insects (no wood or shrubbery should be closer than 3 inches to your house).  Maintain grading.
  • Check concrete and asphalt for cracks or deterioration.  Reseal or repair if necessary.
  • Examine septic system drain field of flooding and odor.  Repair as needed.  Have tank pumped yearly.
  • Clean and store or cover lawn and patio furniture with weatherproof material.
  • Close swimming pool for the winter.

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