Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Radon and Slabs

Radon isn’t a problem if your house is on a slab, right? To find out I went to my trusted inspector and radon tester, and this was his reply…

Radon gas comes up from the earth at a ground level slab just as it does under the basement slab.  There is an easier route for radon to enter into a basement in a home with footing tiles and an open sump crock.  But, any negative pressure inside of a slab home or a basement without footing tiles and a sump crock can draw radon up into the home through cracks in the slab floor. This negative pressure is created by items such as furnace and water heater exhausts, running a dryer or just general stack/chimney effect.  So, I have had high readings in homes on a slab, but you are correct in that it is much less frequently than a home with a basement.

So, do you want to bother with a radon inspection if buying a home on a slab? I’ll leave that decision to you 😉

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The humming garbage disposal

Ever flip the switch to your garbage disposal and just have it hum at you? Fortunately there’s a relatively easy fix… just insert a hex wrench (often one will even be taped to the disposal) into the hole on the bottom of the disposal (see picture). Turn the wrench a few times to free up the blades and you should be back in business!

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Water Heater Mainteance

Consider hiring a plumbing company to do annual service on all of your water systems, including your hot water heater. Generally the things a certified plumber will do to maintain your water heater will include:

  • Cleaning out your dirty burner chamber because it can cause a fire and can make burning less efficient
  • Flushing your tank to rid it of any sediment that may have collected at the bottom and is impeding heating efficiency
  • Testing the thermostat and pressure release valves to make sure they are operating correctly
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Central AC Maintenance

Scheduling a licensed HVAC contractor every spring for a thorough inspection & maintenance of your A/C system is a wise idea. A poorly maintained or inefficient A/C unit could be costing you huge amounts of money.

Start by trimming any plants, shrubs, or trees around the exterior A/C unit(s) if they are near or coming in contact with it. Then have a certified HVAC or other cooling specialist check the mechanical components of the system. Some of the things they should do in this annual service include, but are not limited to:

  • Inspecting condensation drains & thermostats
  • Checking the air temperature splits
  • Inspecting the compressor, motors, etc and lubricating where necessary
  • Checking all operations of your system are working at the highest efficiency
  • Checking and/or topping off refrigerant level(s)
  • Checking and/or replacing your air filter(s)
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Gutter Cleaning

Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof, siding, and foundation. It is usually recommended to clean them out twice a year, but if you’re doing this yourself be sure you have a good ladder and a spotter to help out.

You may also want to consider a professional who will generally get up on a ladder to check and clear the gutters & downspouts of debris. This work can often be challenging due to baked on foliage (spring) or frozen leaves (winter) attached to the insides of the channels. Once complete, water is generally run through the system after the channels are cleared.

In addition you should check that all your downspouts are extended away from the foundation at the ground level. It may also be necessary to regrade your soil in some spots so that all water is directed away from your home.

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Drier Maintenace

Dryers require regular simple maintenance to keep working safely & efficiently. Regular drier maintenance also helps you avoid potential fire hazards and having to do costly repairs to your appliances.

What to do
Clean your lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping the filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards. Also, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen approximately twice a year. This can generally be done using a vacuum cleaner’s flat attachment to reach down in the housing to suck out anything that has accumulated in there. At the same time you’re doing that, clean out your dryer’s exhaust duct using a dryer duct cleaning brush (it’s a stiff bristled circular brush with a flexible handle that you can buy at most hardware stores). The exhaust duct vents your dryer’s exhaust to the outside of your house and can become a fire hazard if not kept clear. Consider doing this more often (say monthly) if you do heavy amounts of laundry on a consistent basis.

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Refrigerator Maintenance

Refrigerator maintenance can be a simple DIY project that will keep your fridge running like new and can greatly extend the life and efficiency of your unit.

Every year:

  • Clean your cooling coils by vacuuming or dusting them. This will most likely require you to remove a grill grate or cover. Refer to your user manual if you need help finding them.
  • Replace or clean the water filter if your fridge has an automatic ice maker or water dispenser
  • Clean door gaskets with a wet cloth to make sure that the refrigerator is sealing properly. A solid seal will save you money and protect your food from spoilage.
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Service Professionals

If there’s one thing home owners need to do on a consistent basis it is keeping things maintained. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, walls needing a fresh coat of paint, or another project the FreedomRE Service Professionals section is here with a selection of pros you can count on for your next project.

Please note that as a community driven effort the pros listed below have been recommended by your neighbors. If you feel there is someone that should be added to the list, please comment below with all the information you have. If you have a story or a few short sentences to share that would be appreciated as well.

Painting

Floor Tile Installation

  • BLH Construction (Brad Hulliberger) – 517-490-4920

Carpet Cleaning

House Cleaning

  • Clean and Green Housekeeping Services, Inc – 517-803-9170
  • Renee’s Cleaning – 517-243-3086

Chimney and Fireplace

Emergency Cleaning and Restoration (Including mold and wet basements)

Plumbing

Concrete and Asphalt

Plowing

Appliance Repair

Roofing

Siding

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

  • Cassel Heating & Cooling Inc (Jim Cassel) – 517-699-2077
  • Oasis Mechanical – 517-714-0056

Mowing

Tree Removal

  • Minimum Impact Logging – 517-627-2485
  • Ayles Tree Service – 517-484-8318
  • Jamesons Tree Service – 989-292-7532
  • Mike’s Tree Service – 517-712-6464
  • TLC – 517-749-7912
  • Dakotas Tree Service – 517-628-2352

Wood Flooring

  • Douglas Hardwood Floors (John Douglas) – 517-861-0729

Basement Finishing

  • G.C. Frontier Builders (Van Braatz) – 517-204-3831

Estate Sales

Electrician

  • Frank Seibly – 517-256-8345
  • Rob at RWS – 517-712-6974

Windows and Screens

Garage Doors

Disclaimer/CYA: I can’t vouch for these companies and do not guarantee their work. Please do your own due diligence before hiring a contractor for any project.

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