Tips on Home Care

This page includes tips and education about your house. Scroll down to find a subject heading covering the information you seek. If you have questions or want additional information email WALKER and he will send what other information he has gathered about these subjects by email or US Mail if necessary.

ANOTHER GREAT HOME INFORMATION SOURCE IS ‘MR. FIX IT’ - Tom Feiza. You can find him on-line at Mr. Fix It.


  • Molds and How to Avoid Them --- Check out these important articles: (also listed under 'Useful Information') Insurance Companies Are Canceling Homeowner Policies, and Insurance Policies Covering Black Mold Damages! Are You Covered?, Panel Finds Mold In Building Is No Threat To Most People, But..., and Prevent Mold Before Its Too Late

  • Mold needs dampness to grow. Any continued dampness will sooner than later cause mold. If you have dampness or an area that is wet and you are concerned about mold then it needs to be dried out. If this means removing drywall to open the wall then that is what must be done. If this means taking up the carpet, do it. Rental companies have fans & heaters to help dry out the carpet and floor. The carpet pad will have to go. It will hold more germs causing future mold. This might be a job for a licensed contractor and this also might be covered under your homeowners’ policy. Remember water or dampness in walls might be several stud bays wide and if you want to know how much is actually wet behind walls you can hire a Home Inspector who is equipped with moisture detection devices come to your home to check for wetness. To avoid a situation that could cause mold don’t let ANY wetness problems go unchecked.

  • Overlaying old rough patio surfaces. Additional information coming soon.


  • Cleaning calcium rings in pools and spas. There are 2 methods that are important to know the difference. If your pool water line tile has a shiny finish then you want to ask to have the calcium cleaned with powdered ash as this material will not dull the tile. If your tile or stone isn't shiny then salt or powdered glass should be used.

    • Powdered ash for shiny tiles
    • Powdered glass or salt for non-shiny tile or stone

  • Is your Pool Leaking? Try the bucket test for pool leaks.

    1. Bring the pool water to normal level. Fill a five gallon bucket with pool water to about an inch from the top.

    2. Shut off the pump so the water is calm and mark the water level inside and outside the bucket.

    3. Resume normal pool pump operation, but with the pool refill off.

    4. After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the pool water [outside the bucket] goes down more than the water level inside the bucket, there is probably a leak. If the levels stay the same, only evaporation has occurred.

    5. In case of rain repeat the test.

    6. During warm to hot summer days, expect a water loss from evaporation. DON'T FORGET TO TO THE POOL REFILL BACK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Laying Brickwork for Patios - additional information coming soon.

  • Removing Graffiti - additional information coming soon.


  • Latex or Acrylic paint is water based paint. It cleans up with water.

  • Painting water base paint over oil paint can be done successfully if you prep the oil painted surface prior to painting the latex paint over the oil paint. This is normally done several ways. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that the oil surface is CLEAN. This can be accomplished in several ways. Mainly a surface has to be clean and not real smooth. If you don’t prep oil surfaces before painting and even repainting with oil the new paint won’t stick to the surface as well as it needs to so it will not peel or chip easily.

  • Wash the surface thoroughly with Tri-sodium Phosphate. It is normally referred to as TSP. This dry granular soap cuts through grease very well.

  • Sand the surface to scratch it up so the new paint will hold.

  • Better than sanding is to use a ‘liquid sand paper’ which will etch the surface to make it slightly rough.

  • If you are painting walls that were oil painted then washing WELL should work.

  • If you are painting woodwork or furniture that was oil painted then WASHING first then let dry and then sanding or using liquid sand paper is the best bet.

  • Don’t use heavy grit sandpaper. A 200 grit paper should do fine. Yes this papers’ grit will fill up fast but it won’t leave heavy scratches that you can’t paint out.


  • GFCI --- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

    • See Useful Information

  • Sleeping near electrical breaker panels

    • Sleeping or spending long hours near electrical panels allows a person to receive too much electrical resistance. This can have ill effects on anyone. It is advised for long periods to move 10 feet away from the panel to make sure you aren’t getting the electrical resistance.

    • See Useful Information


  • Below slab plumbing leaks

  • Get hot water delivered faster to all parts of your home

  • High water Bills? The water meter test. Here’s a 30 minute test to find out.

    1. This test requires no water usage in or outside the home for 30 minutes.

    2. At the start of the 30 minutes write down the meter reading on your water meter.

    3. Return to check the meter reading after 30 minutes have passed.

    4. If the numbers have not changed, you do not have a leak in your pressurized water system. If the numbers have changed, continue with the following steps.

    5. Shut off the valves under all toilets in the house, and repeat steps 1-4.

    6. If the numbers have not changed, you may have a running toilet that can be silent and should be serviced.

    7. If the numbers have changed, this indicates water leakage even though water was not being used during the test.

    8. In this case you should call a leak detection service.



  • Ask for an GAS appliance safety checklist in English or Spanish to be mailed to you.

  • October 2005 LAW: ALL Heating and Air Conditioning retrofits and new installations must be tested for duct leakage.

    • This site takes you right to the page one is looking for regarding heat duct testing and its rules.

    • All the forms and a short contract are present for the home owner to become familiar with.

    • We fall into one of nine Climate Zones requiring sealed ducting and testing and ALL Inland cities are affected by this new law. Only those areas very, very close to the California Coastline are not part of this new energy law.

    • The web site can be reached at

  • Check your furnace filters for lint & dust build up and clean or replace them every 3 months.

  • Fall Gas Appliance check up! Your local Gas Company or licensed heating contractor will inspect your furnace and other gas appliances for leaks and possible malfunction. These appliances need maintenance AT LEAST every two years and every year if the appliance is nearing the end of its life.

  • Savings by rebate and at the electrical meter---see Useful Information.

  • Appliance venting:

    The old CLOTH GRAY COLORED DUCT TAPE and now it comes in designer colors is no longer preferred for venting and in some jurisdictions it is no longer allowed. Instead use UL LISTED ALUMINUMN FOIL TAPE***. It is normally referred to as U-181-A or U-181-B. Use it when taping ANY metal venting sections together. This includes:


    This tape will outlast the old GRAY cloth style duct tape for years to come and cloth duct tape is no longer residential code for some metal ducting.

    Cloth duct tape can be used on bath exhaust fan venting. There is little or no heat to make the tape fail over time though foil tape is far superior.

    It is important to vent appliances / devices correctly. Not doing so can lead to a fire.

  • Dryers:

    • Dryers come with diagrams of how to and how NOT to vent a dryer. It is important to follow these instructions for efficiency of the dryer and to not create a hazard that can lead to fire. Any dryer appliance company would be glad to send you these instructions or write Walker.

    • Now many jurisdictions ONLY allow RIGID PIPE*** for dryer exhaust. Never will you see otherwise in newer homes.

    • NEVER use screws to hold sections together. Lint collects on screws and not only impedes the drying process but the lint can lead to fire.

    • NEVER use FLEXIBLE ALUMINUM OR PLASTIC dryer venting pipe with the wire in it. Both collect lint on the ridges and can lead to fire.

  • Cook Top Venting:

    • Always periodically clean the grease vent screens. These are there to keep the grease from getting into the vent piping where it cannot be cleaned out. Excess grease can catch on fire.

    • NEVER use flexible aluminum pipe for cook top venting. This is a BIG FIRE hazard. Fat collects on the ridges and that can lead to fire.

    • Rigid pipe should always be used here. This piping has joints that can be adjusted for turns.

  • Venting Bath Fans:

    • Flexible aluminum exhaust pipe can be used for these fans. Again use foil tape to secure the pieces together.

  • Heat and Air Conditioning Ducts:

    • Foil tape always stays on the ducting far, far longer than old cloth type duct tape, giving you more leak proof ducting to keep your home warm or cool and not spend the $$$ for lost conditioned air.


      To easily remove the tape backing TEAR the piece off from the roll instead of cutting it and it will be 100% easier to remove the backing tape.
      You can find this Bright Silver colored tape @ Lowes or Home Depot in the heating and venting section.
      Rigid vent pipe is galvanized and comes in 3”, 4”, 5”, 6”, 8” and 10” sizes. Only the elbows are adjustable.
      Don’t be stingy when applying the tape. Go around each joint twice. Make sure the tape is stuck well and tight to the pipe.

  • What to know when buying a new A/C system and how to get possible rebates---See ELECTRIC COST SAVINGS BY REBATE/ under Useful Information.


  • Additional information coming soon.

  • PREVENTING SAND, DIRT, & SMALL BUGS FROM ENTERING INTO THE HOUSE AND CEASE LETTING THE CONDITIONED AIR OUT If you are experiencing sand, dirt or bugs getting under or though the bottom of your doors or are concerned about conditioned air loss here is one possible solution.

    1. Installing VELCRO under your doors. At Home Depot stores are a section that carries VELCRO. You are looking for “STICKY BACK” VELCRO the self-adhesive hook & loop fastener. It comes in a 5 foot x 3/4 inch roll in BLACK only…no decorating is possible here. You will use only the hook portion of this package. The hook portion is the fuzzy portion. Though it comes sort of wrinkled this won’t matter. Just take your time while putting it on.

    2. READ COMPLETELY THROUGH THE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS BEFORE STARTING! Clean the door threshold and up the jamb with 409 or something like that and then with a wet cloth clean off the 409 residue and dry very well the area to be addressed. The ‘threshold’ is the piece of metal or wood that the door closes onto, on the floor. The surface needs to be DRY really clean of DUST. Lay out the piece of Velcro on the floor and see that it will normally be too long unless your full door opening is wider than 5 feet. In my case I decided I really wanted to stop the sand from coming in so I also let the Velcro go up the jambs of the door 6”). This is an area that usually has gaps from the weather stripping not filling in that area well. You may choose not to do up the jamb 4”- 6” and only put the Velcro on the door threshold. If you don’t know whether or not you have gaps at the door corners turn on the inside lights at night and go outside, bend down to see these gaps. The type of doors used today will have gaps. Now you say UP THE JAMBS is going to look horrible. Well so did I, until I realized the doors are hardly ever open and the desired results outweigh the peek-a-boo glance at seeing the Velcro. Now that you are ready to apply the Velcro it helps to have two (2) people. The second person can help keep the Velcro stretched some and help keep it straight. You’ll notice it is sort of wrinkled but those will come out by keeping it stretched taut. If you stretch the Velcro too tight it might pull away in some areas to again go back to its more normal elasticity state. Note: Things that are rubbery or elastic have a memory and will return to their original shape sometimes so hold it ‘TAUT’, NOT TIGHT.

    3. Now you are going to place this Velcro strip on the THRESHOLD where it will not be seen WHEN THE DOOR IS CLOSED. SO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE THAT IS BEFORE STARTING! If you have to move it because you started in the wrong place you might; Pull off paint, the Velcro won’t stay on as long as intended, cause some cussing.

    4. NOTE: If you see scratches or scrapes on the threshold this means the door is sagging and it is quite tight there. Go ahead and put it on in that area anyway and if you have to lift the door to close it or the door will not shut you might have to cut off that area with a utility knife or razor blade. You might mark each end of that area with a piece of tape on the floor so you know where it was scraping after you’ve applied the Velcro tape.

    5. Start by pulling off 6- 12” of the adhesive backing on the Velcro and get the Velcro tape started up on the jamb 4-6” and where it will be lined up correctly with the threshold and go under the door when the door is closed.


      Start on the threshold itself doing the same alignment. Remember by having another person help keep the Velcro taut and straight it won’t be as likely to get stuck where you DON’T want to stick. If you do come down the jamb make sure the Velcro is pushed into the corner of the jamb and threshold well. You can use a flat scraper or common fork. When you get to laying down the threshold portion you will notice that you will have to pull the tape out from under the Velcro as you smooth it on with your hands. ONLY PULL 6-12” OF ADHESIVE TAPE OFF OR LESS WHILE YOU ARE APPLYING THE TAPE AND YOU WILL HAVE LESS TROUBLE.

    6. Hint: If you think you might screw this up call me or do a door that is not such a problem and one that might not get a lot of use. After finishing close the door slowly to make sure the door still glides over the Velcro. I have done only 2 doors. I did my side garage door into a concreted garage and the French doors into my carpeted bedroom from the patio. When I did this I wasn’t sure how successful this trick might be. Let me tell you it works great. This should help folks!

  • Walking on Tile Roofs

    You can walk on tile roof if it isn’t too steep, they can be slippery and they are mostly smooth so you can loose your footing. You must make a decision if the tiles are too old and fragile. If you feel it will hold your weight you must walk on the lapped portion. This is the area where one tile covers the other and this is the strongest place to step. If you start to break tiles get off the roof carefully, don’t rush.

  • Storing items in the garage

    Never store flammable liquids near an open flame appliance. Don’t store heavy things in the ceiling rafters or trusses. Don’t hang heavy things from trusses. There is a lot of room up there but trusses weren’t designed to carry more weight than the roof itself.

  • To keep dry rot and other decaying pests from ruining your home keep it dry.

  • Below slab plumbing leaks High water Bills? The water meter test. Here's a 30 minute test to find out.

    1. This test requires no water usage in or outside the home for 30 minutes.

    2. At the start of the 30 minutes write down the meter reading on your water meter.

    3. Return to check the meter reading after 30 minutes have passed.

    4. If the numbers have not changed, you do not have a leak in your pressurized water system. If the numbers have changed, continue with the following steps.

    5. Shut off the valves under all toilets in the house, and repeat steps 1-4.

    6. If the numbers have not changed, you may have a running toilet that can be silent and should be serviced.

    7. If the numbers have changed, this indicates water leakage even though water was not being used during the test.

    8. In this case you should call a leak detection service.

  • Get hot water delivered faster to all parts of your home Search the web - Metlund D'mand


  • Additional information coming soon.

  • GFCI---Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt receptacle

    This receptacle first came on the market in the late 70’s. Its purpose is to interrupt power to the appliance that is plugged into it when there is a short of some nature. These receptacles should be checked periodically and NEVER relied upon as a back up to NOT getting electrocuted. They do have a life span like any other electrical device and can go bad. This receptacle is normally found where electrical devices are or can be used and a risk of electrical shock through wetness is possible. Don’t be fooled that you have to be standing in water to be grounded enough to conduct electricity. Even damp/wet areas can be enough to cause you to be shocked by electricity.

  • Quiet Bath Fans

    Bath fans that make less noise. Noise is measure by sones. The fewer or less the sones the quieter the fan. A fairly silent fan will have less than 1.5 sones.

  • Don’t put things in front of windows where children might not be able to get to the window to escape a fire.

  • Additional information coming soon.

  • Replace your rubber washing machine hoses with steel braided hoses. Rubber starts to break down over time after being hot and cold and then they can develop bulges and then burse. And they always burse at the most inappropriate time…when you are gone on vacation flooding the entire house. Steel braided hoses keep rubber hoses from bulging then bursting.

  • Attics get a lot of things stored in them so make sure you keep a clear passage way near the attic access for firemen and home inspectors.