Your Home Maintenance Guide

home maintenance

home maintenance

Home is where you rest your head. Home is where your family eats dinner. And home is where the best memories are made. The ways in which we value our home may differ but the common sentiment is that it’s the place where we feel most secure. Keeping that security alive often includes maintaining the areas that risk the potential of causing damage.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or are well into owning your third or fourth home, performing routine maintenance can be a tricky task. It’s not always clear how often one needs to check the kitchen’s exhaust fan. But it’s precisely those details that make a difference. So we thought it’d be a good idea to break down how often something needs to be inspected or replaced on a monthly and seasonal basis.

Your Monthly Checklist

  • Change out the air filters. Most manufacturers will say that HVAC filters need to be changed every 30 to 60 days. This will ultimately depend on a couple of factors. For one, if you own a cat or dog, you’re looking at an average of every 60 days. On another note, if you suffer from allergies, you’ll want to bump that up to every 20 to 45 days, depending on the severity of your symptoms. But if you’re hardly ever home or this is a seasonal residence, you can extend that length up to 90 days.
  • Check and/or replace the batteries of your smoke detectors. You’ll want to install a smoke detector on every floor of your home as well as the basement or attic. As a rule of thumb, be sure to check each detector’s batteries at least once a month. It only requires a couple of minutes and the difference a smoke detector makes is significant.
  • Clean the garbage disposal. There’s debate over how often the garbage disposal needs to be cleaned—some say once a week, others claim once a month. This will depend on how often you throw food waste down the drain. But at least once a month you’ll want to thoroughly clean it using baking soda and hot water. First, throw in a couple of ice cubes into the disposal then flush them down with baking soda and hot water.   

Every Three to Four Months

  • Check door and window locks. With everyday use, door locks can become loose or require some finetuning to ensure they’re performing optimally. A door lock that’s too tight or too difficult to open is not safe. The same applies for home windows. You want to make sure that you can open them without any trouble. Once March, June, September, or December roll around, be sure to perform a routine check on your doors and windows.
  • Check the exterior of your home. Look for any cracks in the walls, the chipping of paint, or any missing roof shingles. By inspecting the exterior of your home, you’ll uncover any potential damage that can be addressed early on or before the start of a new season, which may bring unpredictable weather. You should have a professional roofer inspect your roof.

Your Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips

Each Winter

  • Check the basement and/or attic for any leaks– By spotting leaks in the basement or attic, you can avoid the damage that’s caused when those leaks spread to the rest of your home, often leading to mold.
  • Clean the exhaust fan grill– Your stove and oven will see a lot of oil and different chemicals splattered throughout. It’s important to clean both the exhaust fan in order to rid it of the grease that will collect over time. Leftover grease can easily start a fire if you’re not careful.   
  • Inspect your roof– Have your roof professionally inspected just to be sure no repairs are needed.  

Every Spring

  • Remove leaves or outside debris from gutters- Keeping your gutters clean is important for your home’s exterior and interior. Since gutters control the flow of water, they also keep your roof and walls protected from water. Clogged gutters often leak to mold and the infestation of rodents and/or pests.  
  • Have your septic tank professionally inspected and cleaned- How often you have your septic tank cleaned may depend on the size of your household. Ultimately, you want to make sure you have it inspected once a year in the spring to make sure it’s functioning properly.
  • Flush the water heaterDoing so will help prevent the buildup of minerals and other harmful corrosion. It will also keep your water heater running as smooth as possible.

When Summer Rolls Around

  • Make sure your dryer’s vents are clean- When a dryer overheats, it can cause a fire. Lint is the culprit, which is why cleaning the lint filters is key. Unfortunately, those lint traps that we clean after each use isn’t able to capture all of the lint that’s produced. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure that the inside of the dryer is cleaned and free from excess lint.

Do Your Part to Avoid Property Damage

The value of your home comes in many different forms, from its financial value to the sentiment you and your family place on it as a means of shelter, security, and warmth. When the subject of potentially losing or damaging your home is brought up, it will ultimately raise feelings of fear and maybe even anger. Doing your part to keep your home protected is the best mechanism for challenging that fear. There are natural events that will occur such as a storm that may bring property damage but by focusing on preventable measures, you’ll find that your home will remain as secure as possible. As with any matter, taking precaution is always key!    

Contact Lariat Builders Group

At Lariat Builders, we do our best to inform you about all of the safety precautions that will keep your home as secure as possible. This includes tips that affect your home’s physical structure as well as your own health and safety. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding seasonal updates, repairs, and how to best restore an area of your home if property damage does occur. Please connect with us today if you have any questions!

Keeping Your Home Safe During the Busiest Time of the Year

kitchen safety

It’s a sad fact but cooking-related fires are the #1 cause of house fires in the U.S. today. With so many El Pasoans spending more time in the kitchen this holiday season, we thought it would be wise to place attention on preventable measures. It doesn’t take much for a fire to erupt, which is why it’s especially significant that you share these tips with your family. This way, everyone can have a great time whipping up those classic holiday recipes!

Avoid Cooking When You’re Tired

When you’re surviving off four hours of sleep it can feel like the rest of the world is spinning and you’re simply trying to keep your balance. It may seem inevitable that you fit in more hours of sleep but if you plan on spending a good portion of time in the kitchen, make sure you’re not too tired to do so. Even if you’re used to getting minimal sleep, the added stress could make you more inclined to make a mistake, which may include leaving the oven or stove unattended or forgetting to turn it off. If your oven does catch on fire, here’s what you should do:

  1. Close the oven door.
  2. Turn off the oven.
  3. Call 911.
  4. If the fire doesn’t go out, leave your home immediately.
  5. If the fire does go out, open your windows.
  6. Once the fire has subsided, you may open the oven door and carefully remove the hot pan using oven mitts.
  7. Leave the oven door open and allow for all of the smoke to clear.

The reason for leaving the oven door closed? It seems counterintuitive but opening the oven door will cause the fire to spread. A fire, however, can’t survive without oxygen.

Pay Close Attention to Ingredients That May Result in Flames

Cooking without oil is unavoidable in many cases, but since it’s one of the leading causes of cooking-related fires, it’s important to be mindful of what you fry and how you’re frying it. Also be sure to wipe down any spills of cooking oil, as leftover grease can easily make a flame worse. If you happen to ignite a flame, throw baking soda on it, not water! Water will intensify grease fires. Here are a couple of ways in which grease can cause a fire:

  • Unattended frying pans
  • Grease splatters on a hot oven
  • An unattended pot overheats

In the event that a fire does erupt, use a lid to cover the flame. If you don’t have one nearby, throw baking soda on it.

One Final Tip: Keep Decorations Away

Decorations can really bring a kitchen to life, but when you incorporate those that are candle or flame-based, you want to make sure they’re nowhere near the oven or stove. Roughly 20% of cooking fires that take place in November and December are a result of holiday decorations. In addition to keeping your holiday decorations away from your appliances, make sure to avoid leaving hand towels and other non-holiday kitchen materials around your oven and stove.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment!

Amidst the holiday shopping, company parties, the family from out of town arriving, be sure to take some time to truly be in the moment! The holidays can be quite magical when you look around. Enjoy the company of your loved ones, thank them for all they do, and yes, cook those family recipes for everyone to enjoy.

From all of us here at Lariat Builders, we’d like to wish you a Happy Holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year! Thank you for your continued support in 2018, we look forward to serving you in 2019.

The Best Way to Deal With Residential Water Damage and Why Timing Matters

water damage restoration service

From pipes bursting to cracks in your sewer line or the dreadful overflow of a toilet, these scenarios are never anticipated. But the reality is water damage is one of the most common causes of damage in homes. Generally, they tend to be a result of plumbing or appliance failures but can also result from natural disasters like a severe rainstorm. Since not all water damage is covered in your home’s insurance plan, taking action on your own is a must!

In this post, we’re going to focus on one of the most common problems in homes that results in water damage and why timing can make a difference in the severity of water damage.

A Common Problem: Water Heater Failures

There are a couple of signs to look out for when it comes to water heater failures. For one, you may notice that it takes longer than usual for your water to heat up or there’s a complete lack of hot water. Over time, the sediment (mineral deposits in the tank that create a barrier between the burner and water) in your water tank will build up causing the heater to work harder and eventually fail. This creates the potential for a water leak.

Another sign to look out for is cloudy water. If you happen to notice that your tap water looks cloudy or murky, it could be a sign of a water heater failure. Since the mineral deposits in your water will eventually build up and create a blockage, it will affect the flow of water and with enough time, damage your pipes. Pipes with corrosion tend to result in a leak.

Why Timing is Important

Every minute matters when it comes to a leak or overflow of water. Unfortunately, we’re not being dramatic! The important thing to realize is that when toxic water sits on a surface, such as your carpet or hardwood floor, it will eventually begin to evaporate. This is known as secondary water damage. Secondary water damage happens when the moisture from the leak, flood, or however the water got there, begins to evaporate into the air. With time, that moisture will make its way into your carpet, hardwood floors, cabinets, or any other area it can reach. Then comes the worst. The moisture will sit and turn into mold. By this time, the water damage has gone from bad to worse. That’s why calling in a professional as soon you notice a leak or overflow is detrimental.

Contact Lariat Builders Group, Inc. in El Paso

If you find yourself with a broken water heater, pipe burst, leaking sewer line, or dealing with the aftermath of a clogged toilet or sink, give us a call! At Lariat Builders, we understand the importance of providing swift service when it comes to water damage to your home. Our goal is to help you eliminate the risk of costly damage. The sooner we arrive, the sooner we can help ensure that your personal belongings and the rest of your residence is safe. Please connect with us today to learn more.