Tag Archives: maintenance

Unhook that garden hose!

It’s getting cold here in Chambersburg and the region in and around Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  As nighttime temps drop below freezing, it’s important to remember to unhook your garden hose from the outside faucet to prevent a burst pipe and potential water damage to your home.

frozen outside faucet
frozen outside faucet

Modern outside faucets on today’s homes should feature a frost-proof valve.  Unlike a standard valve, a frost-proof valve will have a long shaft connected to the knob that closes the valve a few inches back into a wall or floor cavity within the heated space of the home.  This allows the water to drain away on the cold side when the valve is closed, keeping water left in the pipe back in the heated space.  If a garden hose is still connected, the water can’t drain away and you risk the pipe freezing on the cold side of the valve and possibly bursting.  This could lead to water damage in your home.Frost-proof-faucet

Also be sure that any quick-connect attachments that you have on the outside faucet allow the water to drain away.  If the quick-connect has a valve on it, be sure that it is open or just remove the quick-connect.

So unhook those garden hoses!  It’s also a good idea to bring the hose and hose reel inside to prevent any water left within the hose rig from freezing and possibly breaking your hose rig.  Remove any quick-connect attachments with valves that prevent the water from draining out and drain out your hose.  This will help your garden hose last longer and serve you through more growing seasons.

Home care tip: dishwashers

Is your home just a few years old and the dishwasher that you purchased with your new home is just not cleaning dishes like it used to?  If you feel like your dishwasher should have a few years of useful life left, there are several things that you can try before going out and buying a new one.  Refer to your owner’s manual.  It could be that a slightly different configuration in placing the dishes will give better results.

A general cleaning of the inside of the dishwasher may be in order.  Clean out the food trap.  Look for blockages within the jets.  Sometimes simply removing the blockages with tweezers will give your dishwasher new life.   Look for deposits in areas that may be partially blocked from the spray and clean those areas as best as you can.  Wipe down the door, particularly the edges, and the clean the door gasket.  Sometimes this is easiest to do just after running a load, as the dishwasher will still be warm and moist.

Mineral deposits left by the water can also restrict the flow.  There are several products on the market that are easy to use and effective for dissolving those deposits and passing them through.  With many of these products, you simply place them in the dishwasher according to the instructions and run the dishwasher.

Many dishwashers are simple enough that a mildly-handy person can disassemble the parts, give it a good cleaning, and reassemble with fantastic results.  If you don’t feel comfortable with disassembling the parts, call a service technician and they can do this for you.  Always consult your owner’s manual for proper procedures and recommended products for your particular model.

Weekend home care tip: dryer care.

Dryer not drying? Before you call the repairman, check your ventilation. Lint can collect at various places on the path from your lint screen in your dryer to the dryer vent on the outside of your home. It often collects right at the dryer vent, and simply cleaning the vent will allow your dryer to work properly again and work more efficiently. Lint is also a fire hazard, so keeping your dryer vent line clean will decrease your risk for fire starting there.