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Many homeowners have good intentions but lack the knowledge to do things the proper way. Take a look at the Top 10 things Arizona homeowners do wrong and correct it!

1) Homeowners don’t always use licensed, bonded, and insured contractors to get the job done. Looking for what they think is the best buy; they throw caution to the wind. This is NOT the time to be cutting corners for cost. You wouldn’t go to a doctor or dentist who wasn’t licensed just to save a few bucks. Why would you not protect a huge investment like a home? By law, if a home improvement project is going to cost more than $750 (including parts and labor); a contractor is required to be licensed. Hiring someone who is licensed, bonded, and insured can protect you from potential disasters.

2) Homeowners don’t replace their air filters! I know you’ve heard this over and over, but it’s true. Most air filters should be replaced once a month. Clogged, overused filters leave the air dirtier and make your air conditioner work harder, even wearing out the overall lifespan. My advice is to invest in pleated paper filters mounted in a cardboard frame (NOT spun fiberglass) and change them out every time you pay your mortgage.

3) Homeowners flush items down the commode that they shouldn’t. Really, nothing should be flushed down the toilet that it wasn’t specifically designed for. Even Q-tips and cotton balls have been known to clog a few drains. Kleenex should always go in the trash can, NOT down the toilet. This, and many other items are not easily biodegradable and can clog drain pipes. These problems can be especially troubling for those with a septic system.

4) Homeowners use too much soap! Despite what your grandmother used to tell you, you’re not THAT dirty. Using excessive amounts of soap in your clothes washer dulls your threads and shortens the life of your clothing. Some experts claim that if you have a water softening system on your home, you only need to use one tablespoon of detergent per wash load. This same idea should be applied to your dish washer. You don’t necessarily need to fill the soap dispenser all the way!

When it comes to using the right type of soap, experts agree that powder is better than liquid. One reason is because it’s easier to tell when you’re using too much. If the powder doesn’t completely dissolve, you used too much. Excess liquid detergent only creates a film residue that you probably won’t see.

5) Homeowners don’t keep their carpets properly cleaned. Did you know you should be vacuuming several times a week? This will keep dust, dirt and oils from settling into your carpet. An indoor air quality issue that may surprise you is that your vacuum cleaner is probably the single most polluting piece of equipment in your home! It’s ironic that the more you vacuum, the dirtier your indoor air probably is, especially when you know many carpet manufacturers recommend daily vacuuming! The best solution for this source of indoor air pollution is to invest in a well-sealed HEPA filter vacuum.

6) Homeowners waste money getting their air ducts cleaned – improperly! Duct cleaning is only one component of a proper system cleaning. It is extremely important that the return air ducts and/or plenum are

thoroughly cleaned and checked for air leaks. I have never inspected an air conditioning system that didn’t have some leaking. After sealing and cleaning the return air components, the evaporative coils in your air handler

must be thoroughly cleaned. Some disassembly of your air conditioning unit is usually required and should only be completed by an air conditioning specialist.

This thorough cleaning and sealing of your return air, evaporative coils, air handler cabinet, and supply registers should take two technicians at least half a day on an average size home with one air conditioning system. Hence, the cost is generally twice what you see advertised by the discount duct cleaning “specialists”. However, when done correctly, this service only needs to be done every 5-7 years.

 7) Homeowners don’t do everything they can to make their homes energy efficient. Go through your home, checking every penetration on every exterior wall, door, sweep and weather stripping, windows, glides, rollers, and electrical J-boxes. Doing these simple maintenance jobs can actually help you save money each month on your energy bills. Make sure you are on the proper energy consumption plan with your utility company.

8) Homeowners use the wrong tools for projects. Using the wrong tool, or using the right tool improperly, can sometimes cause major injuries! And, just because the tool is right for this job doesn’t mean it will be the right size or type for the next. Sometimes, especially for experts, buying the right tool for the job is not cost-effective. For some projects, rental equipment is a better investment. Do a cost comparison between a particular piece of equipment against how much it would cost to rent it for 6 months.

9) Homeowners keep too much junk in their closet and garages. Get rid of anything you don’t need! Donate gently used items to charities to be used by others rather than stored in your closet. Also consider installing features such as shoe racks, drawer systems, tie and belt racks, and jewelry trays to maximize space. Above all, do not rely on floor space or you will end up with another cluttered mess in no time!

10) Homeowners don’t keep safety first. Is your home ready for a disaster? Fire extinguishers should be in every home. There are four classes of extinguishers, one for different types of fires. The fire department has an easy way to remember these distinctions:

Class A – Ashes (wood, paper, cloth… anything leaving ash when burnt)

Class B – Barrels (gasoline, grease, oil, paint)

Class C – Current (electrical fires with wires, fuse boxes)

Class D – Don’t get Involved (metal fires– leave it to the professionals)

If disaster strikes, accurate documentation is needed to guarantee replacement of your belongings. The five steps listed below are just part of a researched and tested system for documenting and protecting the value of your home and possessions in case of loss:

  1. Photographs and Videos
  2. Identification of Photos for Cross-referencing
  3. Inventory Sheets and Cards
  4. Receipts and other Documentation
  5. Safe Storage of Records in a fire-proof location

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