Homeowner Tips

Your new electrical or gas appliances are accompanied by instruction manuals and other papers. Look through them carefully. Remove, fill out and mail any return postcards necessary to record warranties.

Keep a list of the authorized service agencies in the back of this booklet. Read all instructional literature so that you will know how to get the best from what you own, and so you will understand all appliance warranties.

If an electrical appliance fails to work, before calling an appliance subcontractor be sure the appliance is plugged in and that no circuit breakers are tripped.

If a gas appliance fails to work, check to see that the pilot light is lit. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the main gas valve near the meter and call the utility company.
attic ventilation
If your home has a pitched roof, the space between the ceiling and the roof may have louvered openings. Louvered openings should remain unobstructed all year round.

If your home has soffit vents and/or ridge vents they should also be clear of debris. Ridge vents should be checked periodically to ensure they are secure and have not come loose in high winds.
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets should never be cleaned with harsh abrasives. Wood cabinets may be cleaned with a damp cloth & warm water.

Keep cabinet doors and drawers closed when not in use. Periodic use of silicone spray lubricant on drawers and hinges will improve operating efficiency.
caulking (exterior)
Exterior caulking will separate and deteriorate over the life of the home. If this situation is not monitored and corrected on a consistent basis, moisture can work its way behind wood trim or siding and cause serious rotting problems. Leaks around doors and windows can also result if this condition goes unnoticed for any length of time
ceramic tile
Ceramic tile floors are generally easy to maintain. To keep them looking new, you need only wipe with a moist cloth and wet mop from time to time. The grout used between ceramic tile can be cleaned using a brush and a mild cleanser. Grout sealers are available to make the grout more resistant to stains. Once again, these products can be purchased at most home care centers.
hardwood floors?
If you have hardwood floors in your home, you should consult your Manufacturer/Installers guide for care tips. Wood will expand and contract as weather changes, and it may shrink under extreme dryness or swell under extreme humidity
Many heavy-duty appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc. have motors that require servicing from time to time. Consult the appropriate service manual for care of these motors.
Your roof will give years of service if it is properly maintained. Flashings seal places where the roof abuts walls, chimneys, valleys or where two roof slopes meet. If a leak should occur, call a qualified roofer to make the repairs. If it is repaired as soon as the roofing material has dried, the cost will be far less than if the job is postponed.

A qualified roofer should inspect your roof at least every three years. If you have to walk on your roof for any reason, be careful not to damage the surface or the flashings. Be particularly careful when installing a TV or radio antenna; a careless job can cause serious leaks.
The window and door screens in homes are constructed of good quality nylon. They never need painting or other preservatives. A gentle washing and hosing about once a year is all that is needed for maintenance. Should it be needed, replacement nylon screen is available from any good hardware store. It is not necessary to remove window screens in the winter, although many people prefer to do so.
smoke detectors
Check your smoke detectors every month. The alarm should sound when you push the button. For your safety it is important that this device be kept clean and in proper working condition. The smoke detector is hard wired to your electrical system and may include a nine volt battery backup. In the event the electricity is cut off, your system will still be in use. The smoke detector will sound off to inform you that battery replacement is necessary.
To make your own inspection in the spring of each year, look for possible remains of winged insects, search the sides of your footing walls for the earthen tubes which termites build to reach the wood above the foundation, and use the blade of a jackknife to test wood for soundness. If you suspect the presence of termites, consult a professional exterminator.
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