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Free Home Maintenance Tips from Leo Enterprises

For Paint - Keep a "wet" paint sample (liquid paint in a baby food jar) for future matches.
It is easier to compare and match. Especially when they have some teenager working in the paint department at your favorite paint store.

Old Formica - Will develop stains particularly in scratches. A small amount of straight bleach on a damp rag placed on the stain for 5 to 15 minutes will probably remove the stain. A regular application of a polish like Gel Gloss ® will help prevent future stains.

Chemicals - Never mix any product containing bleach with any product containing ammonia!
Toxic fumes are produced and can be Fatal!!

Toilet - A toilet may get a (lime) ring around the bowl at the water line. Chemicals will aid in removal but mechanical means are sure. After purging the bowl of water with a String Mop ® , dampen a Pummie Stick ® and vigorously rub the affected area until the ring is removed. This will not damage the porcelin. Pummie stick costs about $2.00 at a hardware store.

Stained Glass Vases - Fill the container with warm to hot water and place one or two denture cleaning tablets in it. Let stand overnight. Dump the solution and thoroughly clean and the mineral stains will be gone.

Flowers - Re-cut all flowers before placing in water. Put your flowers in warm to almost hot water. Add an asprin and a few drops to a capful of bleach in the container will retard bacterial growth and the flowers will last longer.

Paint Disposal - Paint containers must have almost no residual paint in them and be dry before disposing of in your residential waste stream. If you have some left, dump in on a flat surface to dry and dispose of the dry paint in your regular waste.

Florescent Tubes - Virginia statutes require these to be disposed of properly. Some hardware stores do this for cost. Commercially they can be disposed of by one of several companies with a minimum pick-up of 100 tubes.

Smoke Detectors - Think about replacing them if they are 5 years or older. The average life span of one is about 5 years. In a dirty environment (garage) you may want to do this more often since the collector can become contaminated. If your detectors aren't hard wired, consider doing this when you replace them.

Roof Vents - Occasionally check these (gable, soffit, etc.) to ensure they are clean. Obstructing airflow can cause improper circulation and a buildup of moisture in your insulation.

Garage Doors - New openers have child protection devices. If you have children and an older opener, without this device, consider retrofitting one. Parts for this are about $40 and can be installed in about an hour. Periodically pull the safety release cord to ensure the door disengages and re-latches. If you have a garage with no service door, a locking release device (about $10) can be added so you can get in if the power or opener fail when the door is down. This way you don't have to break a window and crawl in.

GFI Ground Fault Interrupter - These are used in newer houses and re-models. You can extend this protection to several outlets from one GFI outlet or protect an entire circuit with a GFI circuit breaker.

Light Sockets - Older light sockets may begin to fail as indicated by flickering lights or new bulbs "blowing out" after a short interval. In many cases the socket alone can be replaced without replacing the entire fixture. To give sockets their most useful life use only bulbs of the proper rating.

Outlets - Over time, frequently used outlets tend to loose their gripping power. If you have sockets in which plugs feel loose, replace them to prevent excess load and possible fire. To meet top standards, maintain sockets at a 3-lb. pull-out. One way to test this is with a fish scale secured to a "dummy" plug.

Door & window security - Simple methods of securing patio doors & casement or sliding windows is to drill a hole through the moveable window into the frame and inserting a nail or screw. A piece of wood to prevent movement is another simple method.
For More Security and Products Click Here

Caulking - This is a simple way to help weatherize a building and an ongoing requirement in many areas of the home. Tubs, showers & countertops will probably need caulking every several years. Silicone caulk is a superior sealant providing good adhesion and leak protection when applied on clean surfaces. I recommend this when your original DAP ® or butyl (rubber based) caulk fails.

Dryer Vents - Many manufacturers recommend cleaning your vent pipe on an annual basis. You may find this isn't an absolute but if you have used the curly plastic or metal tube, do it. The pockets created in this tubing collect lint and do pose a potential fire hazard. If at all possible, use rigid pipe at least the size of the exhaust hole of the dryer. A 4-inch diameter is typical. The shortest length and fewest bends will give you the best and safest drying results. The typical through the wall connection restricts the flow of air. Choose the one with the least restriction. A straight through vent with moveable vanes appears to offer the least restriction. Venting inside to retain moisture and heat may be an option for you although it is not recommended because of potential carbon monoxide and excess moisture. Personally, I do this to maintain moisture and have suffered no ill effects in 18 years of this practice.

Outside faucets - Hose bibs, as they are called, are a potential for winter disaster. Older homes typically do not have "frost proof" faucets and need attention before cold weather. A separate valve, on the line to the faucet, must be shut off. Then the outside faucet must be opened to allow the water to drain. This should prevent freezing and a broken pipe. If you do have "frost proof" faucets, you still have to disconnect any attachment to allow the faucet to drain naturally.

Fire extinguishers - This is a highly recommended and inexpensive addition to any home and is required in many businesses. A number of types are available, but the best, for all around use, is an ABC unit, usable on any fire. Proper location and knowing how to use it is very important. Your local fire department may have training available. Home users typically do not have their units checked annually but businesses are required to. In addition, monthly checks are required. Not checking your unit (s) may affect your insurance, particularly if you have a claim.

Fire Exits, Signs & Routes - Although home owners don't typically have these they should at least have an exit plan and keep their pathways clear for any emergency. Most businesses are required to have lighted exit signs and possibly emergency lighting, in good working order. A typical unit will have a sign, lighted at all times with a minimum of two bulbs, a battery pack, that operates if the power goes out, and low voltage bulbs that light the sign when on battery. If you have these it is necessary to perform periodic maintenance checks and service. If you don't, state or municipal code or your insurance carrier may require them. Optionally, you may wish to provide these as protection for your staff and clients.

Dust - Refrigerators & furnaces are often neglected. However, they cost you more if not maintained. An annual cleaning of your refrigerator coils & fan areas is recommended. If you have pets, quarterly may be a better option. The dust, dirt, pet hair & "stuff" that builds up on a refrigerator causes it to work harder and not cool as efficiently. The extra charges on your electric bill depend on the condition of the refrigerator. At least the furnace has a filter to remove dust, pet hair etc. but if you don't change the filter regularly (monthly with the mortgage payment) you will have higher gas bills from caused by inefficiency. When you change the filter, spray it with EnDust ® or another product to make your filter as efficient as possible.

Windows - When cleaning windows use of 000 steel wool will remove grime build-up and not scratch the window.

Dishwashers - Run at least once a month to ensure the pump vanes stay free. A malfunctioning soap dispenser is one of the most common problems and can often be repaired and not replaced. Do not rinse dishes so well that the soap doesn't have any soil to properly activate.

Storage - Often storage is at a premium but do not block your electric panel. Commercial code requires about a 3-ft. clearance for safety and access. The same applies to furnaces, hot water heaters & similar appliances. If you have sprinklers in your home or business, do not store anything closer to the ceiling than about 24 inches. Any closer makes the units ineffective. Although you may be able to have up to 10 gallons of combustibles in a building without a separate enclosure, they must be kept in their original or approved container a safe distance from all sources of heat & flame. Note: Latex paint is considered a combustible.

Bathroom Locks - If you have small children or elderly adults in your home or business, determine the method of opening the lock from the outside and hang the proper tool high on the doorframe for emergencies.

Bathroom vents - Children, particularly teenagers fail to turn on the vent when they take their 30 minute showers. If you have a vent, the unit can be wired to turn on when the light goes on. This will help prevent excess moisture ruining your walls & ceiling.

Sump Pumps - Sump pumps are needed in many buildings but they don't always work when needed. Test them on a regular basis (with water in the pit) and repair or replace them if they don't work correctly.

Gutters - Clean them at least twice a year and make sure the downspouts & laterals are also clean. Also make sure you clean the single git out too. It adds a lot of weight to your gutters. This is the biggest reason why gutters pull away from the house.


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