There are a few basic maintenance techniques and repairs you should know to protect what is likely your most valuable investment — your home. Homeowners can benefit from flushing their water heaters once a year and installing water softeners. Flushing the water heater will double its lifespan, helping it last for at least 12 years, says Jim Parker, co-owner of Parker & Sons Plumbing Co. The flush pushes out sediment, which can cause the lower element to fail on some electric water heaters. Those who have never flushed a water heater should watch a plumber do it first to learn the proper techniques, so they can do it themselves in the future. Installing a water pressure-reducing valve outdoors by the water meter will reduce the risk of line breaks and leaks. Homeowners also should replace their washing machine hoses every five years, Parker says, otherwise the hoses could crack and cause serious water damage to the home. Parker also recommends avoiding putting food and refuse in the garbage disposal, and never putting grease in the garbage disposal. While air conditioning repairs should be made by a licensed technician, homeowners can keep the system clean by pouring a small amount of water mixed with bleach or vinegar into the condensation line to dissolve algae, dirt, dust and insects that build up, says Michael Stetler, project manager for Quarter Moon Plumbing and Air Conditioning in San Antonio.
Also be sure to change the air conditioning filter monthly, and use a garden hose during warm weather to rinse the exterior of the air conditioning unit outdoors, Stetler says. These techniques allow the air conditioning system to keep providing a good air flow. | Read More