Archive for August, 2010

Appliance Maintenance: Water Heaters

August 30, 2010

Depending on a homeowner’s water quality, a hot water heater can be expected to last eight to 12 years, says Frank Czeronka, a licensed master plumber and Mr. Rooter franchise owner. Completing the following routine maintenance schedule, however, can greatly extend the unit’s lifespan.
Here’s a list of maintenance tips to keep your water heater running efficiently and reliably:
•Always adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees to avoid the risk of scalding.
•Always maintain 2 feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.
•Annually, flush the heater to remove the sediment and debris in the bottom of the tank. Hook up a garden hose to the drain valve and run until the water is clear. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.
•Annually, test the temperature-pressure relief valve by quickly discharging it two or three times. Following the testing, keep an eye out for small leaks from the valve.
•Every three to five years, examine the sacrificial anode rod by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. If more than six inches of the core steel wire is exposed, replace the rod for abut $20.
•Insulate older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, being careful to avoid contact with the flue. Newer units already are optimized for peak energy efficiency.
•When leaving town, adjust the thermostat on gas heaters to “Vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.
Douglas Trattner has covered household appliances and home improvement for, DIYNetworks, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. During the 10-year stewardship of his 1925 Colonial, he’s upgraded almost every household appliance. After lengthy deliberation, he recently replaced an aging top-load washing machine with an energy-efficient front-load unit.

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August 16, 2010

Did you know the most overlooked home renovation with the highest return on investment is landscaping?
A study by Clemson University found that a well-done landscape renovation can often provide up to a 100% return on investment. The report stated that “Homeowners wanting to increase the value of their property will do well to consider the cost-effective return potential of quality landscaping.”
According to the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association, landscaping can boost resale value of a home up to 14% and increase the speed a property sells by up to six weeks.
A well landscaped yard is usually what catches the eye of a potential buyer. Potential buyers do not like a messy yard. People may assume if you don’t take meticulous care of your yard, you probably don’t take care of the inside of your house either. Landscaping can make or break the sale of your home. Don’t overlook the power of a good landscape renovation.