Bonita Lakes ~ Homeowners Hints

MAINTENANCE ALERT !    (Maintenance alert content is taken from other community websites, public sources, various news sources and do it yourself sites.)

Contractors recommend that you inspect your showers and bathtubs 4 times a year to see if any of the grout joints are open, or caulking is worn. It is important to keep these areas sealed as water can seep into the inside of your walls, and create mold conditions which spread rapidly and cause major damage. Do not caulk over old sealer or grout, use a grout saw to remove all old cracked grout and then replace with new mixed grout.  Caulk should be scraped clean and the area then wiped with a solvent to make sure it is clean and dry before applying new caulk. Mold inside walls can spread to other walls, attic and require demolition of walls and professional cleaning.  Mold is a health hazard.  Mold damage is excluded in many insurance policies.

Garage doors travel on metal rollers in metal track and those areas must be kept lubricated in order for the door to move freely and the hardware retain the door in its proper position in the tracks.  Do not use solvent type lubricants like WD-40 on your door rollers or tracks as that will wash out the grease needed to keep the bearings free. Use only aerosol white lithium grease available at your home center. Squirt some grease into the rollers where you see the shaft enter the disk, some will be open enough that you can see the ball bearings. Lubricate your door twice a year and have it inspected, adjusted and professionally lubricated at least every 2 years.

Metal garage doors are very heavy and very dangerous.  Current building code requires that electric garage door openers have a safety device which stops the door movement upon contact with an object, and reverses the door back to the open position.  The second feature is that the door should not move if there is any obstruction in the doorway.  These features are controlled by an electric eye which is usually mounted near the floor on each side of the door.  If these become mis-aligned, the safety feature will not work.  To test your opener, take a cardboard box and place it in the doorway.  The box should block the electric eye.  Attempt to operate the door, it should not move.  Remove the box and operate the door.  Push the box back into the path of the door and break the beam.  The door should stop and reverse.  Now place the box in the path of the door on the outside so that it does not block the beam and operate the door.  When the door touches the box, it should stop and reverse back to fully open.  As you can see from these examples, a small dog/cat, your car or a child could take the place of the cardboard box.  If the safety features are not working, someone could be seriously injured.  If your door fails any of these tests, have it inspected by a licensed garage door service company and be sure to personally supervise the operation of the door until it is repaired. Manufacturers recommend that you test your door monthly.

Plumbers recommend draining your hot water heater twice a year to eliminate any sludge build up in the bottom of the tank which will contribute to premature failure.  Turn off the circuit breaker which provides power to the heater. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve near the floor, and route the water to the grass where the hot water will cool quickly and dissipate.  Keep children away from the discharge end of the hose.  Let the tank drain until the water runs cold, about 10 minutes.  Close the valve, disconnect the hose, and check for any dripping.  Turn the power back on.  You will need to wait for the tank to re-heat the water. This operation can add 2-3 years to the useful life of your heater.  If your heater is gas fired, just drain it till water runs cool, do not attempt to turn off gas. If you see rust in the discharge water, and the heater is 5 years old or more, consider having a licensed plumber check it out.

If your house is 3-4 years old, you may be spending money on water that is literally going down the drain.  Drop a few drops of red food coloring in the TANK of your toilets, and wait an hour or two.  If you see pink in the bowl, then your flapper valve is leaking.  This can represent hundreds of gallons of wasted water a month.  The good news is that most toilet parts are homeowner replaceable for under $20.  Using any kind of automatic bowl cleaner that goes in the tank is potentially corroding and damaging the internal parts, so say many plumbers. An older, leaky toilet can be completely rebuilt for under $100 by a plumber.