Tricks of the Trade

Tom’s Tricks

January – A light touch of petroleum jelly on the door latch and strike plate once a year lets the door close smoothly. A dry latch will hit against the strike plate possibly bumping it out of alignment and preventing the door from closing properly. This applies mostly to exterior doors but any door could use it.

March – Garage door openers come with a pre-set code from the factory. If the code is not changed during installation anyone can open your garage door with any new garage door opener. Some openers have an automatic code change each time the door is used but if yours is not this type I recommend the code be checked right away. To change the code remove the cover from the garage door opener motor and locate a little bar with tiny switches with numbers above them, usually 14 to 16 numbers. You can use a paper clip to move the switches up or down at each number. Now open your hand held remote controller for the door and move those switches to match the ones you just moved on the main unit. Replace the cover and that’s it. You can call me for additional information if needed.

April – If your refrigerator has the motor underneath as most do, check for dust build up on the wire cooling grill behind the toe kick vent. The vent snaps off and you can see underneath with a flashlight if dust or pet hair has stuck under there. Remove the obstruction with a crevice tool on any vacuum cleaner. A clogged cooling grill will cause the refrigerator to run longer and cost more on your electric bill. It also can cause the compressor to burn out prematurely.

May – With all the rain we have been getting this year be sure to keep the gutters and downspouts clean of leaves and branches. Water pouring close to the foundation of your home can cause basement leaks and erosion.

June – When you leave the house be sure your ceiling fans are not left on the “Low” fan speed. If there is a power outage the fan may not be able to restart from the low position. They are designed to start on “Hi” and be adjusted lower. We actually had one of our ceiling fans do just that and the smell of electrical wire overheating woke the dog who woke us. We called our local fire department who discovered what the problem was.

July – As you are looking out your windows this Autumn pay attention to the window sill. Any tiny crack or space that you can see is a perfect place for water to enter and begin to rot the sill and surrounding wood. Sometimes a simple bead of caulk and touch up paint will prevent further damage.

Patricia’s Tricks

January – While the weather is cold outside, now is the time to go through the house and clear the clutter that has built up in your home. An organized, less cluttered home is so much more enjoyable. Organize closets, drawers, and cabinets. Recycle, or give away items you no longer use. You can even give items away to others who need it on a website called, Remember “one mans junk is another man’s treasure.”
February – To remove an old light bulb that has broken off in the socket simply turn off the power to the fixture or unplug the lamp. Take the new light bulb and screw it into the socket counterclockwise using firm but gentle pressure. The old bulb base will come right out of the socket. Remember it has broken glass around the edges so handle with care. Now install your new bulb.