All homeowners deal with the ongoing “to do” list. Some things get done and others don’t and most of us work from some form of priority list. In reality, there’s just no way to keep up with everything all the time. So when deciding what to focus on, think like a professional contractor. In their profession, they see it all, including those things that contribute to big problems when they could otherwise be avoided. Here are a few things professional contractors avoid in their own home.
1. Flush the Wrong Things
More specifically, professional plumbers know that anything other than human waste and toilet paper has the potential to cause big problems in the plumbing system. Toss hygiene products, face wipes, baby wipes, ear swabs and other bathroom products into the garbage can instead.
2. Use Drain Cleaners
When it comes time to call a plumber, you won’t see them toting in a jug of Drano. That’s because they know drain cleaners are only mildly effective. Moreover, they are toxic to water systems. Instead of turning to chemicals, rely on a drain snake for most applications.
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3. Take the Phrase “Garbage Disposal” Literally
Garbage disposals offer a convenient way to rinse dishes without having to constantly clean out scraps from the sink catch. But professionals know there are many foods that are problematic, including egg shells, coffee grounds, and grease. Onion skins and meat also promote issues. Allow your garbage disposal to do its job most efficiently by limiting the ‘garbage’ that goes down the drain.
4. Put off Maintenance
By the time a professional enters your home, they are able to build a mental maintenance record from what they see. They see first hand what skipping out on regularly-scheduled home care can have. Plan to dedicate a day or two each season changing filters, emptying gutters, checking up on appliances, and evaluating caulked, painted and stained surfaces.
5. Take Electrical Shortcuts
The pros know the most dangerous choices homeowners make so they avoid them in their own homes. They never pin or tape a circuit breaker in the ‘on’ position. They are careful not to overload outlets. And they don’t rely on extension cords as a long-term power source.
6. Skimp on Tools
When you’re a pro, you might be able to safely MacGyver a replacement tool when the situation calls for it. In general, though, contractors invest in the proper tools for the job. Not only does it make the task easier, but safer too. If you need a tool you don’t plan to use very often, borrow from a friend or rent it.
7. Overlook HVAC
Your furnace is a central component for the comfort of your home. It’s one of the most expensive systems to replace, but is relatively inexpensive to maintain. The primary step you can take to ensure a long and healthy life for your furnace is to change the filter every one to three months. Professional contractors can list the reasons why, but basically a dirty filter causes your furnace to work harder, increases electricity bills, and circulates dirty air for your family to breathe.
8. Abuse Appliances
The washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, air conditioning unit, and other appliances work hard in any home. Although they don’t require a lot of maintenance, professional contractors make sure to clean refrigerator coils, disconnect and clean out the dryer hose, and regularly inspect and tune up the furnace. In addition, they know to not overload the washing machine and to leave vents uncovered for airflow inside and outside the fridge.
9. Ignore Nature’s Essential Element
Water is the key to all life on our planet, yet it can be a detriment to any home. Professional contractors pay attention when water drips—from anywhere. They never ignore a dripping faucet, pipe under the sink, or hoses leading from the washing machine, dishwasher, or refrigerator.
Outside and around the home water can cause big issues too. During any storm, watch for water runoff. Make sure it is diverted away from the foundation of the home. Also regularly clean out gutters and drains—both attached to the house and throughout the property.
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